Resilience in urban hydrology : A study of storm water management in the municipality of Stockholm

University essay from KTH/Hållbar utveckling, miljövetenskap och teknik

Abstract: The environmental issues of storm water in the urban environment is addressed in political policies on many different governance levels. The concept of “sustainable storm water” in Europe uses the natural water cycle as a template for urban drainage, and the EU has a water framework directive (WFD) with a systems approach, using drainage basins as the starting point of all actions. In Stockholm, a new storm water strategy was adopted in 2015 with a sustainability approach, using much of the terminology from the WFD and the Swedish Water & Wastewater Association. To find new aspects related to sustainable development of storm water management in Stockholm, this study used a resilience framework of seven principles to analyse the implementation of the Stockholm storm water strategy (SSWS). A mixed method approach was used for a qualitative study, using interviews and a review of policy documentation as the main data sources, complemented by a desk study of literature on the subject of storm water management, as well as participation in some relevant workshops. To broaden the study, examples from a developing area within the Stockholm municipality, Stora Sköndal, was used, as well as another municipality in the Baltic Sea region; Helsinki (Finland). The SSWS leans on the legislation of the environmental quality standards (EQS) but is lacking in authority coordination on a national and municipal level in Stockholm. Diversity in problem formulations and solutions for infrastructure is high, so is the diversity of involved stakeholders, which is an indication of resilience. This in combination with the structure and communicational links having questionable functionality, leads to a complex and inefficient structure in management of storm water, which undermines the resilience of the system. However, since the SSWS and other connected policies (such as local programmes of measures and sustainability requirements) are new, the system is undergoing change, which shows some level of adaptability and complex adaptive systems (CAS) thinking, another resilience indicator. The implementation of the WFD on a municipal level is also connected to CAS thinking, as well as a polycentric governance system -one of the seven resilience principles of the framework used. Some of the main issues found within this study for building resilience in the SES are related to follow-up and responsibility division.

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