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Brisbane: The River with a City Problem

Presentation Dr. Margaret Cook

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Delft University | Faculty of Architecture | Julianalaan 134, 2628 BL Delft - BG.oost.490

Brisbane: A River with a City Problem

Dr. Margaret Cook

Like many cities, Brisbane (Australia) was built on a river to take advantage of its navigational and water supply potential. But the sub-tropical Brisbane River remains prone to flooding despite dredging and widening and building training walls and dams. History shows that many residents believed these measures would prevent floods and development flourished on the floodplain. As the cost of each floods escalates, when will the city embrace its climate realities and adapt accordingly? In Australia’s fastest growing city, this need to go beyond engineering strategies for flood mitigation and climate adaptation is critical.

Book Cover Margaret Cook


As an historian, Margaret Cook is fascinated by water and its interaction with humans, animals, and the environment over time. She writes about climate-related disasters, with a particular focus on rivers and floods, and is the author of “A River with a City Problem: A History of Brisbane Floods”. Margaret has a PhD in history and is a Research Fellow at the Australian Rivers Institute, Griffith University, and La Trobe University.

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Every month at our PortCityFutures team meeting, one of our members or a guest hosts a short presentation about their current or past research. If you want to attend the presentations or present at one of our meetings yourself, please contact us: