VOL: 11 NO: 1  5-19  2014-1


Risk governance: Application to urban planning*



Ortwin RENN*, Andreas KLINKE**

* Stuttgart Research Center of Interdisciplinary Risk and Innovation Studies at Stuttgart University (ZIRIUS), Stuttgart, GERMANY
** Department of Political Science and Environmental Policy Institute at Memorial University of Newfoundland, CANADA


Received: June 2013     Final Acceptance: December 2013






Urban planning faces multiple risks: they range from natural disasters, fires, floods, building code violations to social risks such as vandalism, crime, social disorientation, and others. These risks often interact with each other and cannot be dealt with in isolation. As a means to identify, assess and manage multiple risks, concepts of “risk governance” have been developed that promise to provide integrative and comprehensive tools to deal with urban risks. The notion of risk governance pertains to the many ways in which multiple actors, individuals and institutions, public and private, deal with risks. It includes formal institutions and regimes and informal arrangements. The paper will first develop an adaptive and integrative model of risk governance and applies this model to the risks of urban planning. After a short summary of the roots of risk governance, key concepts, such as “simple, uncertain, complex and ambiguous risks will be discussed. The main emphasis will be on each of the five phases of risk governance: pre-assessment, interdisciplinary assessment, risk evaluation; risk management and risk communication.


Keywords: Risk governance, urban planning, city planning, risk management, risk assessment, risk perception, risk evaluation, complexity, uncertainty, ambiguity.

* This manuscript draws heavily on our article: A Framework of Adaptive Risk Governance for Urban Planning, published in: Sustainability 2013, 5, 2036-2059; doi:10.3390/su5052036


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