Relocating a flood-affected community : good planning or good politics?

Sipe, Neil & Vella, Karen (2014) Relocating a flood-affected community : good planning or good politics? Journal of the American Planning Association, 80(4), pp. 400-412.

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Abstract

Problem, research strategy and findings: On January 10, 2011, the town of Grantham, Queensland (Australia), was inundated with a flash flood in which 12 of the town's 370 residents drowned. The overall damage bill in Queensland was AUD∃2.38 billion (USD∃2.4 billion) with 35 deaths, and more than three-quarters of the state was declared a flood disaster zone. In this study, we focus on the unusual and even rare decision to relocate Grantham in March 2011. The Lockyer Valley Regional Council (LVRC) acquired a 377-hectare (932-acre) site to enable a voluntary swap of equivalent-sized lots. In addition, planning regulations were set aside to streamline the relocation of a portion of the town. We review the natural hazard literature as it relates to community relocation, state and local government documents related to Grantham, and reports and newspaper articles related to the flood. We also analyze data from interviews with key stakeholders. We document the process of community relocation, assess the relocation process in Grantham against best practice, examine whether the process of community relocation can be upscaled and if the Grantham relocation is an example of good planning or good politics.

Takeaway for practice: Our study reveals two key messages for practice. Community relocation (albeit a small one) is possible, and the process can be done quickly; some Grantham residents moved into their new, relocated homes in December 2012, just 11 months after the flood. Moreover, the role of existing planning regulations can be a hindrance to quick action; political leadership, particularly at the local level, is key to implementing the relocation.

Impact and interest:

1 citations in Scopus
1 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 81899
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Grantham (Australia), relocation, floods, reconstruction, disaster recovery
DOI: 10.1080/01944363.2014.976586
ISSN: 1939-0130
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Civil Engineering & Built Environment
Current > Institutes > Institute for Future Environments
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Statement: The Version of Record of this manuscript has been published and is available in Journal of the American Planning Association, 09 February 2015, http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/01944363.2014.976586
Deposited On: 18 Feb 2015 23:34
Last Modified: 23 Feb 2016 19:30

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