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Abstract

Extreme environmental events contribute to catastrophic damages in urbanized areas across the world. For politicians, architects, sociologists and geoscientists protecting people and cities has become a paramount task. In June 2016 the Lower Bavarian town of Simbach am Inn experienced long-lasting rainfall followed by an extreme flood, with similar events taking place in Baden-Württemberg and comparable to the 2013 floods in Passau and Deggendorf. Seven casualties and hundreds of millions of Euros in damages were reported in the Simbach area.
Technische Hochschule Nürnberg GSO
Fakultät Architektur
Theorie der Architektur und Entwerfen
Prof. Dr. Richard Woditsch
Dr. Mark Kammerbauer
Goethe-Institut interview on flood protection
Living against or
with nature
Authors:
Nicola Borgmann
Mark Kammerbauer
Rainer Viertlböck
Theorie
der
Architektur
und
Entwerfen
Title:
Goethe-Institut interview
on flood protection
Living against or with nature
Author:
Nicola Borgmann
Mark Kammerbauer
Rainer Viertlböck
Citation:
Borgmann, N., Kammerbauer, M., Viertlböck,
R. (2016): Living against or with nature.
Goethe-Institut e.V. https://www.goethe.de/
en/kul/arc/20810004.html
Layout:
Julia Hager
Technische Hochschule Nürnberg
Georg Simon Ohm
Fakultät Architektur
Bahnhofstrasse 90
90402 Nürnberg
Lehrbereich Theorie der Architektur und
Entwerfen
Prof. Dr. Richard Woditsch
Dr. Mark Kammerbauer
Raum BB.309
Address:
Postfach
90121 Nürnberg
Internet:
http://tae.ohmarch.de/
3
1. Interview
Extreme environmental events
contribute to catastrophic da-
mages in urbanized areas across
the world. For politicians, ar-
chitects, sociologists and geo-
scientists protecting people and
cities has become a paramount
task.
In June 2016 the Lower Bava-
rian town of Simbach am Inn
experienced long-lasting rainfall
followed by an extreme ood,
with similar events taking place
in Baden-Württemberg and
comparable to the 2013 oods in
Passau and Deggendorf. Seven
casualties and hundreds of mil-
lions of Euros in damages were
reported in the Simbach area.
Mr Kammerbauer, how do these
disasters take place?
Disasters occur when locations
settled by people are confronted
with oods and excessive rainfall.
We attempt to prepare ourselves
from such occasions by building
protective structures such as
levees. However, such forms of
protection can be inadequate, or
the related structures can fail, as
it was the case in Deggendorf in
2013. In June 2016 in Simbach a
drainage structure was clogged by
debris due to the ooding. is
contributed to the ood disaster
further downstream. e sheer
amount and velocity of the ood,
exacerbated by the stream‘s em-
bankments, led to destruction in
the adjacent area and heavy da-
mages to up to 500 houses.
Aside from the physical and
economic consequences, your
research focuses on the social im-
pact of environmental disasters.
What do the terms „vulnerability“
and „resilience“ mean?
Dealing with the social impact
on residents is just as important
as the rehabilitation of the built
environment and post-disaster
recovery. Both are highly inter-
connected. Oen, seniors or in-
dividuals with limited capacities
are hit hard by disaster. Poverty
or lacking social networks also
play important roles. e interna-
tional research community uses
the term „vulnerability“ for such
demographic aspects. In Germa-
ny, this circumstance has only
received limited attention thus far.
1 Originally published online https://www.goethe.de/en/kul/arc/20810004.html <31.03.2017>
4
Vulnerable people are hit harder
by disasters than others.
is is why the reduction of
social vulnerability should be
the goal of all involved dis-
ciplines. Aer disaster, early
recovery measures can and
should help people to return to
their everyday lives, if possible.
is also relates to architecture,
urban planning and urban de-
sign: which structures need to
be repaired and rebuilt, which
parts of a city are aected? For
the long-term recovery and fu-
ture oodproong of buildings
and cities, measures related to
construction and infrastructure
should focus on the reduction
of vulnerability in order to
strengthen resilience. Flood risk
management needs to address
whether the degree of coverage
of surfaces in urban environ-
ments can be reduced. Or, wether
retention areas to enable runo
and drainage of oodwaters can
be enlarged. ese issues relate
to the ability to resist and absorb
shocks and can contribute to the
preservation of existing structures
while oering room for adaptati-
on and improvement. Enhancing
resilience should, therefore, be a
shared planning goal.
Is complete disaster prevention
possible?
It will be dicult to prevent disas-
ters from occurring at all, unless
we withdraw completely from all
areas subject to risk. Nevertheless,
we can reduce the impact of ood
disasters. In order to do so, we
need to revisit land use plans and
building codes, alter them and
adapt the related means of con-
struction as required.
Which strategies exist to make
buildings ood proof?
Floodproong can be distingu-
ished according to the concepts
of dry proong or wet proof-
ing. e rst approach aims at
„shutting out“ environmental
impacts on buildings by ma-
king them, quite literally, „ood
proof. Wet proong is an ap-
proach that accepts the fact that
buildings can ood and sup-
ports preparation based on par-
ticular materials and construc-
tion methods that allow for easy
cleaning and acceptable repairs.
Against this background, the
question on oodproong ap-
5
proaches almost becomes a philo-
sophical one: do we intend to live
„against“ nature, or „with“ it?
We also shouldn‘t forget historic
construction methods. In the
past, people had less advanced
technological means to deal with
environmental circumstances.
Despite this fact, places such as
Passau have been inhabited for
centuries. Floods occurred here
repeatedly throughout history,
and ground oor areas of buil-
dings located along the river
banks were traditionally used as
storage spaces. Historic farm-
houses within the region feature
raised ground oors made of
masonry brick and with stone
tile oors. Bedrooms are located
along the upper oors consisting
of timber construction.
How can the government help aer
disaster?
e government helped unin-
sured homeowners to recover
and rebuild houses impacted by
the 2013 oods in Bavaria. Only
30 percent of homeowners have
ood insurance here. is is why
recovery and reconstruction aer
disaster becomes a societal and
political challenge and obligation.
Ocial documents, most notably
the „Hochwasserbel“ (ood pri-
mer), are available to the public
and feature information on disas-
ter prevention and preparedness
and how to reduce the impact of
disaster. Such measures need to
relate to the local and urban con-
text and the surrounding land-
scape. Resilience can be created
and fostered if actors from the po-
litical sphere, from architecture,
urban planning, environmental
management, civil protection and
hydraulic engineering achieve
consensus on land use planning
and urban design. ey also need
to be aware of the existing capaci-
ty of citizens to prepare for, cope
with, respond to and recover from
disasters.
Used with friendly permission by
the Goethe Institut and Regina
Prinz.
Photos
image 1: Simbach am Inn, Juli 2016 | Foto: Rainer Viertlböck
image 2: Simbach am Inn, Juli 2016 | Foto: Mark Kammerbauer
Technische Hochschule Nürnberg GSO
Fakultät Architektur
Theorie der Architektur und Entwerfen
Prof. Dr. Richard Woditsch
Dr. Mark Kammerbauer
Theorie
der
Architektur
und
Entwerfen
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