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Challenges in implementing an Opportunistic Adaptation approach in Bangkok

Polpat Nilubon


The 2011 floods should have been a wake-up call for Bangkok, yet the question is what the situation is now, eight years later. Did this disaster cause a change in our attitude to climate change or not? Opportunistic adaptation (OA) is a tool used in urban planning, designed to help stakeholders share a common vision of what/when/where can happen in the future, given uncertain conditions like, e.g., climate change. The purpose of this research was as follows (i) to explore how flood management has been organized, (ii) to validate the OA tool, and (iii) to provide insight into the potential of the OA that can help stakeholders share a common vision. An interview and questionnaire were used for data analysis. Based on observations and interviews carried out, with the government-appointed officer and with the local people, the main conclusions were as follows: (i) the current flood management in Bangkok cannot sustain a shared vision between the government and the local community based on eight criteria: knowledge and awareness, governance, mode of operation, multiple benefits, flexible adaptation, efficiency, potential of methodology, and financial requirements, (ii) there is belief that OA can reduce the severity of the general flood problem, and (iii) OA increases the potential of the opportunity for adaptation and thus improves flood management. The results indicate that enhancing the OA approach will require more knowledge and specialized skills from the designers. Furthermore, increasing the channel of support for stakeholders will improve data collection methods as well as the implementation of measures.

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