Supporting Adaptive Delta Management: Systematic Exploration of Community Livelihood Adaptation as Uncertainty

Umme Kulsum

Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)

93 Downloads (Pure)


Long-term planning in urbanizing deltas has to deal with deep uncertainties in socio-economic development and climate change. Adaptive Delta Management (ADM) has been developed as an approach that acknowledges these and similar uncertainties. The Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100 has, in principle, adopted the ADM approach, and it recognizes general uncertainties in (external) physical and socio-economic conditions. It does, however, not acknowledge uncertainties in the way local communities may adapt to uncertain conditions and policy measures. Historical analysis confirms that local adaptation may be different from policymaker’s expectations, and that ignoring this may seriously harm the effectiveness of such a planning approach. This research offers two novel approaches for systematic exploration of the uncertainties in community livelihood adaptation under a variety of uncertain future conditions. The first approach looks into the mental model that guides local actors’ decision making, while the second approach uses a model describing the impact of (external) triggers on actors’ motivation and abilities for a variety of adaptation actions. While both these approaches might be improved, case study applications in the polders of southwest Bangladesh illustrate their utility as instruments to create awareness of possible developments and to act as vehicles for participatory learning by both policymakers and local communities.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Delft University of Technology
  • Thissen, W.A.H., Supervisor
  • Shah Alam Khan, M., Supervisor, External person
  • Timmermans, J.S., Advisor
Award date13 Oct 2021
Print ISBNs978-94-6366-264-2
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Uncertainty
  • Community
  • Livelihood
  • Adaptation
  • Adaptive Delta Management (ADM)
  • Polders
  • Bangladesh

Cite this