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Habilitation à diriger des recherches

Approche institutionnelle et contraintes locales
de la gestion du risque
Recherches sur le risque inondation en Languedoc-Roussillon

Abstract : The flood risk has long been seen only as a hydrological phenomenon. Flood risk management has therefore been directed almost exclusively toward curative methods. Dykes and dams attempted to contain the flood while crisis management and insurance compensated for loss. The acknowledgement of human responsibility in natural disasters has widened the epistemological field of natural hazards geography to encompass the concept of vulnerability. It has also shifted risk management towards non-structural methods such as vulnerability reduction and land use planning. Prevention, strictly speaking, is relatively recent. Over the past fifteen years, the increasing damage cost in France has caused a reaction of the authorities, who have expressed through various laws and incentive measures their wish to develop integrated risk management. Implementation of these principles at the local scale is problematical.
The Languedoc-Roussillon region in France has proved a choice case study for the analysis of risk production and mitigation measures. Recent and disastrous floods have highlighted the relative failure of the existing risk management system. The analysis of flood damages and casualties sheds light on the risk production system which has prevailed for three decades. It shows that existing protection measures were not able to prevent the urbanization of flood-prone areas. The decreasing acceptability of the risk have even masked the reduction in vulnerability gained through better building techniques.
This research on flood risks in Languedoc-Roussillon aims to bring new ways of assessing risk management measures. It turns out that the “hazard paradigm” still prevails and causes costly expenditures on structural protections. Furthermore, the top-down institutional approach to risk prevention generates conflict and measures ill-adapted to the Mediterranean context. Prevention would benefit from taking into account the specific characteristics of Mediterranean basins to improve such measures as upstream control, vulnerability reduction or flood warning.
In the face of the sometimes haphazard or ill-adapted development of prevention, there is a blatant lack of risk assessment in France. This lack is partly due to cultural and political restrictions, and partly to a severe lack of data. This study offers some leads by analyzing specially assembled databases regarding flood damages and casualties. It also goes back over post-disaster reconstruction, a rich field although little explored in France.
Document type :
Habilitation à diriger des recherches
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Contributor : Freddy Vinet <>
Submitted on : Sunday, June 15, 2008 - 10:48:33 AM
Last modification on : Monday, November 30, 2020 - 9:52:13 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Friday, September 28, 2012 - 4:05:21 PM


  • HAL Id : tel-00288137, version 1



Freddy Vinet. Approche institutionnelle et contraintes locales
de la gestion du risque
Recherches sur le risque inondation en Languedoc-Roussillon. Géographie. Université Paul Valéry - Montpellier III, 2007. ⟨tel-00288137⟩



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