Coping with extreme climate events: Institutional flocking

C.S.A. van Koppen, A.P.J. Mol, J.P.M. van Tatenhove

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The article explores the governance structures that would be needed to cope with extreme and unpredictable climate change. The impacts on the Netherlands of a Gulf Stream collapse in the Northern Atlantic are taken as a case. This hypothetical situation of serious risks and high uncertainties requires governance arrangements with high potentials for rapid and radical change. Using the metaphor of the flocking of birds, we characterize these arrangements as ‘institutional flocking’. Main features of institutional flocking are: (1) flexible opportunities for actors to swiftly respond to change through creative forms of collaboration and participation; (2) rapid and pervasive processes of learning and institutionalization of new knowledge among actors; (3) strong and institutionalized care for coherence and solidarity, to bind the various parts of the ‘flock’. We illustrate and articulate these features for two sectors in Dutch society, urban infrastructure and rural planning
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)749-758
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • hurricane-katrina
  • disaster
  • uncertainty
  • complexity
  • futures
  • policy

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