Chris Zevenbergen PhD, MSc

Professor of Flood Resilience of Urban Systems


Chris Zevenbergen is a Professor at the Water Engineering Department of IHE Delft and at the Department of Hydraulic Engineering, Faculty of Civil Engineering of the TU Delft, The Netherlands. He is a visiting professor at the Southeast University (SEU), China. He is also Project Director of DeltaCap, a Capacity Development Program funded by the Dutch Government to support the implementation of the Delta Plan in Bangladesh, and of AFMA, a seven year SWF program to develop and implement Anticipatory Flood Risk Management in Alexandria, Egypt. As of 2016, he is advisor of Bax & Company (Barcelona, Spain), a leading European innovation consultancy. From 1999 to 2012 he was Director Research and Development and member of the Management Team of the Dura Vermeer Group NV, one of the largest contractors in The Netherlands. He was a Member of the Board of the Public Private Innovation Platform Clean Tech Delta, The Netherlands in 2013 and 2014.

Prof. Zevenbergen worked as a researcher on various environmental issues related to the building industry, such as environmental impact assessments, product development, emission modeling, testing procedures, building codes and guidelines in the 1980s, followed by 25 years international research and consultancy in environmental engineering and water management. In the past 20 years he has accumulated extensive national and international research experience with integrated approaches to manage floods in urban environments.

His research interest is specifically on:

  • innovative concepts to mitigate urban flood impacts
  • on flood proofing building designs and technologies
  • on decision support tool development in urban planning with practical application in urban flood management.

He has a strong affinity with the ecological, socio-economic, institutional aspects of urban planning and water management. He has worked extensively on application of theories of resilience to flood risk management systems, including the theory of socio-ecological resilience.

Chris Zevenbergen has published/edited five books (of which one text book on Urban Flood Management, Taylor & Francis) and more than 100 scientific publications in the field of environmental engineering and urban flood management. He was co-founder and chairman of the European Network COST C22 on Urban Flood Management. He has founded and chairs the Flood Resilience chair group (FRG) of IHE Delft. He participates in various national and international advisory boards of governmental and scientific institutions (e.g. Global Center of Excellence of Climate Adaptation, Delta Alliance, Evaluation Dutch Delta Program, Evaluation Room for the River Program, IPCC EM Infra, Rotterdam Climate Proof, Environmental Science Group Wageningen, iBuild,  DLR Future Mega Cities, EPSRC, the Dutch Knowledge for Climate Program).              

Chris Zevenbergen is also involved in a new interdisciplinary research area at IHE Delft, Urban Water Accounting. Read more here.


Publications peer reviewed journals 2017

Anvarifar, Fatemeh and Voorendt, Mark Z and Zevenbergen, Chris and Thissen, Wil (2017) An application of the Functional Resonance Analysis Method (FRAM) to risk analysis of multifunctional flood defences in the Netherlands, Reliability Engineering & System Safety}, Volume 158, pp.130-141, Elsevier.

Zevenbergen, Chris and van Herk, Sebastiaan and Rijke, Jeroen (2017) Future-Proofing Flood Risk Management: Setting the Stage for an Integrative, Adaptive, and Synergistic Approach, Public Works Management & Policy, volume 22, pp.49-54, SAGE Publications Sage CA: Los Angeles, CA.

Zevenbergen, C and Bhattacharya, B and Wahaab, RA and Elbarki, WAI and Busker, T and Rodriguez, CNA Salinas (2017) In the aftermath of the October 2015 Alexandria Flood Challenges of an Arab city to deal with extreme rainfall storms, Natural hazards, volume 86, pp. 901-917, Springer Netherlands.

Radhakrishnan, Mohanasundar and Pathirana, Assela and Ashley, Richard and Zevenbergen, Chris (2017) Structuring Climate Adaptation through Multiple Perspectives: Framework and case study on flood risk management, Water, Volume 9, pp. 129, Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute.

Pathirana, Assela and Radhakrishnan, Mohanasundar and Ashley, Richard and Quan, Nguyen Hong and Zevenbergen, Chris (2017) Managing urban water systems with significant adaptation deficits—unified framework for secondary cities: part II—the practice, Climatic Change, pp.1-18, Springer Netherlands.

Pathak, Shray and Ojha, CSP and Zevenbergen, Chris and Garg, RD (2017) Assessing Stormwater Harvesting Potential in Dehradun City Using Geospatial Technology, Development of Water Resources in India, pp. 47-60, Springer.

Radhakrishnan, Mohanasundar and Nguyen, Hong Quan and Gersonius, Berry and Pathirana, Assela and Vinh, Ky Quang and Ashley, Richard M and Zevenbergen, Chris (2017) Coping capacities for improving adaptation pathways for flood protection in Can Tho, Vietnam, Climatic Change, pp.1-13, Springer Netherlands.

Jiang, Yong and Zevenbergen, Chris and Fu, Dafang (2017) Understanding the challenges for the governance of China’s “sponge cities” initiative to sustainably manage urban stormwater and flooding, Natural Hazards, pp. 1—9, Springer Netherlands.

Jiang, Y and Zevenbergen, C and Fu, D (2017) Can “Sponge Cities” Mitigate China’s Increased Occurrences of Urban Flooding, Aquademia: Water, Environment and Technology, volume 1, pp.03.

Yau, Wing Ken and Radhakrishnan, Mohanasundar and Liong, Shie-Yui and Zevenbergen, Chris and Pathirana, Assela (2017) Effectiveness of ABC Waters Design Features for Runoff Quantity Control in Urban Singapore, Water, Volume 9,pp.577}, Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute.

Goh, Xue Ping and Radhakrishnan, Mohanasundar and Zevenbergen, Chris and Pathirana, Assela (2017) Effectiveness of runoff control legislation and Active, Beautiful, Clean (ABC) Waters design features in Singapore, Water, Volume 9, pp. 627, Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute.

Pathak, Shray and Ojha, Chandra Shekhar Prasad and Zevenbergen, Chris and Garg, Rahul Dev (2017) Ranking of Storm Water Harvesting Sites Using Heuristic and Non-Heuristic Weighing Approaches, Water, volume 9, pp.710, Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute.

Flora Anvarifar, Defne Osmanoglou, Matthijs Kok, Chris Zevenbergen, Wil Thissen, Behrouz Raftari (2017) Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of Reinforcement Strategies for Multifunctional Flood Defences in the Netherlands. Int. J. Critical Infrastructures, Vol. 13, No. 4,

Yong Jiang, Chris Zevenbergen and Yongchi Ma (2017) Urban pluvial flooding and stormwater management: A contemporary review of China's challenges and "sponge cities" strategy. Environmental Science & Policy 80:132-143, DOI 10.1016/j.envsci.2017.11.016

Pieter Bloemen, Tim Reeder, Chris Zevenbergen, Jeroen Rijke and Ashley B. Kingsborough

(2017) Lessons learned from applying adaptation pathways in flood risk management and challenges for the further development of this approach. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, DOI 10.1007/s11027-017-9773-9

Other information

PhD fellows

  • F. Ahmed: Application of resilience to flood risk management in Dhaka
  • K. Anema: Mitigating urban flood risk with public policy and community resilience
  • F. Anvarifar: Real options in design of Multi-functional Flood Defense Systems (with prof W. Thissen, TuDelft)
  • T.Bacchin: Water sensitive urban environments: urban landscape system design in fast-changing conditions, the Brazilian case (with prof D. Sijmons, TuDelft)
  • S.van Herk: Delivering integrated flood risk management: governance arrangements for collaboratiom, adaptation and learning (with prof R. Ashley)
  • N. Manojlovic: Theory and Technology to Improve Stakeholder Participation on the Road to Flood Resilient Cities (with prof P Frohle, TUHH)
  • K. Olthuis: App-grading wet slums
  • J. Rijke: Delevering change: Towards fit-for-purpose governance adaptation (with prof R. Brown, Monash University)
  • M. da Silva Duarte Duque: water sensitive urban spatial planning in tropical costal and estuarine cities (with prof D. Roelvink)
  • W. Veerbeek: Effects of Current and Future Urban Growth on Surface Runoff in Large Metropolitan Areas


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