Understanding Public Acceptance of a Multifunctional Water Plaza : a Case Study

Climate change enhances pluvial flood risk in many cities all over the world, especially in densely populated urban areas with high impervious surfaces that need to adapt to heavy precipitation. For this purpose, multifunctional stormwater infrastructures such as water plazas appear promising as there is a high competition for open space in most urban areas. Yet, to date only very few water plazas have been realized with at least one implementation hampered by a lack of public acceptance. In this study, semi-structured interviews are used to investigate how plans to build a water plaza in the city of Cologne are perceived by local residents. Factors crucial to public acceptance are identified. Experience with flooding, knowledge of the planned construction and awareness of benefits turned out to be important for acceptance, whereas social and personal norms were less relevant. The identified factors led to finding recommendations to promote public acceptance of innovative climate adaptation measures like water plazas.


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