Territorial Governance and Spatial Planning in Europe: The Relevance for Flood Risk Management in the Chinese Pearl River Delta

Vincent Nadin*, Meng Meng

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientificpeer-review

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China and Europe have the common problem of mitigating flood risk, a problem partly created from poor management of the urban transition now compounded by the effects of climate change on sea level and extreme weather events. Adaptation to these effects requires extensive cooperation between administrative jurisdictions and policy sectors to strengthen shared land resource management. Governments generally look to urban planning to resolve potential damaging competition between sectoral policies, but it is often not well-equipped for this task. In Europe, there has long been recognition of the need to improve territorial governance, in part through a spatial planning approach that coordinates the place-based impacts of sectoral policies and helps in the cross-fertilisation of policy making across policy silos. How can this experience inform the urban transition in the Pearl River Delta? Experience in Europe points to new institutions that are needed to reduce the costs arising from non-coordination. Spatial planning must engage a wide range of stakeholders to build trust and ownership of a shared strategy. Plans need to be adaptive in the face of great uncertainty. These prerequisites for more effective territorial governance present a huge challenge for both Chinese and European policy makers.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdaptive Urban Transformation
Subtitle of host publicationUrban Landscape Dynamics, Regional Design and Territorial Governance in the Pearl River Delta, China
EditorsSteffen Nijhuis, Yimin Sun, Eckart Lange
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-89828-1
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-89827-4, 978-3-030-89830-4
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Publication series

NameUrban Book Series
VolumePart F737
ISSN (Print)2365-757X
ISSN (Electronic)2365-7588


  • Adaptation
  • Cross-fertilisation
  • Spatial planning
  • Territorial governance

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