Drainage Politics: Reducing Climate Change Vulnerability in Surabaya, Indonesia

This learning case sets out in a city prone to natural disasters, and explores how policy and political commitments can reduce the consequences.

After the introduction, readers are invited to reflect on a dilemma of enforcing a mitigation plan that landed public support, but that compromises the political position from which the plan is enforceable. Would they proceed with a democratic reform or secure their position as mayor and accommodate powerful political stakeholders? The case then tells the story how the protagonist leverages public support through a specially developed digital app to enforce a Flooding Task Force with public funds. Compared to the previous regulations where market logic hindered adequate drainage systems, this significantly reduced impact of floods.

Learners are then asked to reflect on the effects of the local political landscape in relation to natural disaster management in a time when climate change magnifies the challenges.

Learning objectives

After the session, participants will understand:

  • how the risk of flooding is affected by polity and policies
  • that successful mitigation of extreme weather events depends on the local political ecosystem.
  • how digital media can be leveraged to influence political commitment to mitigate the consequences of climate-related hazards