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Waterproofing Data

Waterproofing Data: Engaging Stakeholders in Sustainable Flood Risk Governance for Urban Resilience

Project Summary

Waterproofing Data investigates the governance of water-related risks, with a focus on social and cultural aspects of data practices. Typically, data flows up from local levels to scientific "centres of expertise", and then flood-related alerts and interventions flow back down through local governments and into communities. Rethinking how flood-related data is produced, and how it flows, can help build sustainable, flood resilient communities. To this end, this project develops three innovative methods around data practices, across different sites and scales:

1. Making visible existing flows of flood-related data through tracing data;

2. Generating new types of data at the local level by engaging citizens through the creation of multimodal interfaces, which sense, collect and communicate flood data.

3. Integrating citizen-generated data with other data using geo-computational techniques.

These methodological interventions will transform how flood-related data is produced and flows, creating new governance arrangements between citizens, governments and flood experts and, ultimately, increased community resilience related to floods in vulnerable communities of Sao Paulo and Acre, Brazil.

The project will be conducted by a highly skilled international team of researchers with multiple disciplinary backgrounds from Brazil, Germany and the UK, in close partnership with researchers, stakeholders and the public of a multi-site case study on flood risk management in Brazil. Furthermore, the methods and results of this case study will be the basis for a transcultural dialogue with government organisations and local administration involved in flood risk management in Germany and the United Kingdom.

General information

Waterproofing Data brings together an interdisciplinary group of researchers and institutions from the three collaborating countries, United Kingdom, Brazil and Germany, through the funding of around €1m, provided by an international association of research councils: Economic and Social Sciences Research Council (ESRC), São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) and German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), in collaboration with NORFACE, the Belmont Forum and the International Science Council within the Transformations to Sustainability (T2S) research programme. The Project officially started in October 2018 and will last for 36 months.

Project Partners

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Co-operating Organisations

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Funding Agencies

The project Waterproofing Data is financially supported by the Belmont Forum and NORFACE Joint Research Programme on Transformations to Sustainability, which is co-funded by DLR/BMBF, ESRC, FAPESP, and the European Commission through Horizon 2020. The UK funding for this project is funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund.

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Programme Coordination

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Research Team


Carolin Klonner

Heidelberg University

Dr Conrado Rudorff


Dr Joanne Garde Hansen

University of Warwick

Prof Jon Coaffee

University of Warwick

Dr Liana Anderson


Dr Rachel Trajber


Vangelis Pitidis

University of Warwick

Dr Victor Marchezini