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

Sipe, Neil and Vella, Karen (2014) Relocating a flood-affected community: good planning or good politics?. Journal of the American Planning Association, 80 4: 400-412. doi:10.1080/01944363.2014.976586

Author Sipe, Neil
Vella, Karen
Title Relocating a flood-affected community: good planning or good politics?
Journal name Journal of the American Planning Association   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0194-4363
Publication date 2014-10-02
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/01944363.2014.976586
Volume 80
Issue 4
Start page 400
End page 412
Total pages 13
Place of publication Philadelphia PA, United States
Publisher Routledge
Language eng
Formatted 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.
Keyword Disaster recovery
Grantham (Australia)
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management Publications
Official 2015 Collection
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 1 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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