Affordable Access

Social feasibility of solution directions for sea level rise

  • van Avendonk, Anne (author)
Publication Date
Jul 03, 2023
TU Delft Repository
External links


The flood protection system in the Dutch Delta has to be adapted to accommodate the rising sea levels. When creating potential solutions, it is important to assess their social feasibility. An interesting aspect is the potential difference in opinion between different generations as there is an uneven distribution of the responsibility and impacts of sea level rise amongst generations. This led to the following research question: “What is the social feasibility of the solution directions for sea level rise amongst different generations in the municipality of Rotterdam?”. The solution directions are: protect, seaward, move along, and a combination of these.<br/><br/>This was researched by an explorative, qualitative research design. First, social feasibility was conceptualised through adapting the framework of Feitelson and Salomon. Secondly, the social feasibility amongst citizens of two age categories (16-30 and 60+) was assessed by interviewing them. After analysing the interviews, the conceptual framework was adapted to better fit the results. Finally, the academic and social implications of the findings were assessed. <br/><br/>The findings indicate that all discussed solutions are socially feasible. Of the three solution directions, most interviewees preferred the protect strategy, followed by seaward and move along. However, almost all interviewees preferred the combination of the solution directions. Even though each solution is thus socially feasible, there is an important precondition for a solution to sea level rise; namely, that there is a clear plan for how the new situation is going to look including the technical, financial, environmental and otherwise important aspects.<br/><br/>Regarding generational differences, the 60+ group on average dislikes the move along direction, whereas this is relatively popular in the 16-30 year group. Furthermore, interviewees in the 16-30 group graded all solutions relatively close together, whilst the 60+ group allocated varying grades. No difference in arguments was found and it is thus likely that citizens held different weights to different aspects. <br/><br/>The final conceptual framework shows that social feasibility is directly influenced by the perception of climate change and sea level rise, the perceived effectiveness of measures, and the perceived distribution of benefits and costs (nature, financial aspects, availability of land, maintainability, construction time, hinder to industry, novelty of solution, need for migration, (inter)national cooperation, ethical aspects, and positive possibilities). These are indirectly influenced by previous knowledge and demographic factors of citizens; the suggested mitigation measure and how this is communicated; and interest groups that spread information about potential solutions. / Complex Systems Engineering and Management (CoSEM)

Report this publication


Seen <100 times