The European flood risk management plan is a new instrument introduced by the Floods Directive. It introduces a spatial turn and a scenario approach in flood risk management, ultimately leading to differentiated flood protection levels on a catchment basis. This challenges the traditional sources of legitimacy for flood risk management, which are predominantly founded on strong institutions and engineering solutions. Future flood risk management needs to incorporate stakeholders and citizens in the decision-making process because the choices for the flood risk management plan will be more normative and political. In terms of concepts of legitimacy, this means an increasing importance of throughput legitimacy, complementing input and output legitimacy. This change shares similarities with a paradigm shift in spatial planning around the 1970s. Therefore, this contribution argues that flood risk management, according to the European Floods Directive, can profit from experiences and approaches in spatial planning.
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