Global Amphibious Policy Symposium (GAPS)

We are excited to announce the Global Amphibious Policy Symposium (GAPS), taking place in Warsaw, on October 17 & 18, 2019, 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. We will also begin the process of establishing an international structure to coordinate conferences and symposia.

The Issue

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. Much of the economic, social, and personal loss could be avoided or drastically reduced with proper intervention.

Despite the globally growing concern for flooding, some 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, insurance industry and permitting 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 practices are everchanging 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.


The international symposium will therefore facilitate discussion among stakeholders, such as leaders in amphibious architecture research and implementation, academics specializing in flood damage reduction research, and insurance industry experts, enabling them to work collectively to develop innovative strategies and solutions for tackling the major impediments to the implementation of amphibious construction globally. Building on the initiative towards international collaboration, the symposium will also conduct discussion on the future of ICAADE, discussing future locations for conferences, and officially establishing a structure for the administration of ICAADE and GAPS in future years. Considering the growing concern for flood damage, there is a unique opportunity for us as leaders, provided we are can move beyond the roadblocks on our route towards implementation.


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