The Affordability of Flood Risk Property-Level Adaptation Measures

Paul Hudson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The affordability of property-level adaptation measures against flooding is crucial due to the movement toward integrated flood risk management, which requires the individuals threatened by flooding to actively manage flooding. It is surprising to find that affordability is not often discussed, given the important roles that affordability and social justice play regarding flood risk management. This article provides a starting point for investigating the potential rate of unaffordability of flood risk property-level adaptation measures across Europe using two definitions of affordability, which are combined with two different affordability thresholds from within flood risk research. It uses concepts of investment and payment affordability, with affordability thresholds based on residual income and expenditure definitions of unaffordability. These concepts, in turn, are linked with social justice through fairness concerns, in that, all should have equal capability to act, of which affordability is one avenue. In doing so, it was found that, for a large proportion of Europe, property owners generally cannot afford to make one-time payment of the cost of protective measures. These can be made affordable with installment payment mechanisms or similar mechanisms that spread costs over time. Therefore, the movement toward greater obligations for flood-prone residents to actively adapt to flooding should be accompanied by socially accessible financing mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1151-1167
Number of pages17
JournalRisk Analysis
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Authors. Risk Analysis published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of Society for Risk Analysis


  • Affordability
  • flood risk
  • risk reduction
  • social justice

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