Planners must place less emphasis on “quick fix” engineering solutions to flooding in the Thames Gateway or face disaster, according to a report by the RIBA.
The report urges “an approach that is more adaptive, flexible and sensitive to our changing environment”.
It suggests measures such as the creation of lagoons in Essex, and the acceptance of occasional freak floods.
The report notes that climate change poses an increasing threat of flooding from rising sea levels, wetter winters and more frequent and powerful storms.
The RIBA’s report says the problem does not have “a quick, technical fix” as a reliance on tidal defences and drainage systems would be “catastrophic” if they failed.
It also emphasises the importance of a strong clear planning system, noting that there now appears to be little integration or co-ordination between masterplans and local development frameworks.
The report, which was written by the RIBA’s Building Futures think tank, is called Living with Water: Visions of a Flooded Future.