This House Believes The Thames Gateway Area is Sunk.

Retreat or defend?


Tom Crossett- National Flood Forum with
Prof. David Fisk- Imperial College

Flooddeb2 Flooddeb3

Greg Haigh- ARUP with Robert Barker- BACA architects

Flooddeb4 Flooddeb5

Autumn, 29 October 2008.

2007’s Pitt Review considered flooding as great a threat to peoples lives as an influenza outbreak or an act of terrorism (Times 17/12/07). One of its many recomendations was wherever possible,new development should not take place in flood risk areas and that there should be a strong presumption against building on the floodplain. It is now more or less accepted thinking that flood risk areas will be more vulnerable in future and in some cases may be taken back entirely by the sea, so why, despite this evidense, are we still building there and putting future communities in potential harms way?

Building Futures, in conjunction with the Institution of Civil Engineers hosted an evening discussing the long term future of floodplain development: Is there a design solution? How resiliant can buildings and crucial infrastructure be, is it worth the annual risk? Can we adapt our approach to building on the plain and seize the opportunity of a waterborn future or should we accept the inevitable and plan for large scale retreat away from these areas?

The debate launched a new Building Futures Project with the ICE that will look at Managing Retreat and Coastal Realignment. This work is a development and extension of 2007’s highly successful Living with Water which has since gone on to influence and inform wider RIBA policy and guidance for those building in areas of flood risk.


Tom Crossett
Greg Haigh
Prof. David Fisk
Robert Barker

READ A REVIEW 29 October 2008

Building Futures Debates Series 2008 are kindly supported by Macdonald and Company , BDP and the Evening Standard’s Homes and Property Magazine

For more information on the series contact


Macdonald & Company
ES Homes and Property