We are excited to announce the Global Amphibious Policy Symposium (GAPS), taking place in Warsaw on October 17 & 18, immediately following the International Conference on Amphibious Architecture, Design, and Engineering.

The symposium will immediately follow ICAADE 2019. The goal of the Global Amphibious Policy Symposium is to continue the dialogue that began at GAPS 2017 about the pressing issues related to government policy, building code, and insurance industry-related barriers that affect our work.


Floods impact more people globally than any other type of natural hazard, having affected 2.3 billion people in the past two decades (UNDRR, 2015). The nature of disastrous floods has also changed in recent years, especially with urbanization significantly increasing flood run-offs, They cause significant economic, social and personal loss, much of which could be avoided or drastically reduced.

Despite the globally growing concern for flooding, a number of potentially useful flood risk reduction approaches are not implemented due to significant policy barriers preventing their use. For example, amphibious construction, which allows otherwise-ordinary structures to float temporarily when flooding occurs, is currently not a mainstream flood risk reduction approach due to significant regulatory, building code and insurance industry-related barriers. Although a growing body of research and several built projects have highlighted the potential of amphibious architecture to significantly reduce flood damage to buildings, there remains a lack of government policy and insurance industry guidelines that can facilitate its effectiveness as a flood damage reduction technology. 

Just as flood risk is in flux, flood management and insurance is ever-changing to adapt to circumstances. However, the pace and direction of change varies significantly between countries. Flood risk and damage are approached differently worldwide, with a variety or insurance and compensation systems to deal with losses. In Germany and Canada, private flood insurance policies are available for businesses and households except for those in high-risk areas such as floodplains (Bubeck, 2017; Insurance Bureau of Canada, 2017). The USA’s National Flood Insurance Program imposes building and zoning requirements on participating communities then sets premiums accordingly. Whereas in the UK, there are private insurance companies that provide coverage against floods for virtually all residential and commercial properties (Bubeck, 2017).

The international symposium will therefore facilitate discussion among insurance industry experts, academics specializing in flood damage reduction research, and leading experts in amphibious architecture, enabling them to work collectively to develop innovative strategies and solutions for tackling the major impediments to the implementation of amphibious construction globally. Considering the growing concern for flood damage, there is a unique opportunity to collaborate, innovate and lead in global practices around flood damage reduction.


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