Preliminary Program

Register Now

The LCF2015 Program will explore building resilient communities through four themes, click here for descriptions.

Day One

Monday, September 28


7:30 – 8:30 Registration and Buffet Breakfast


8:30 – 10:00 Opening Plenary

The opening plenary, a panel discussion between the Mayor, Ministers, and high-level executives, will focus on a vision of flood resilience in Canada. The panellists will explore questions of: Understanding the impacts of flooding on Canadian municipalities? How to plan for increased flooding across the country? What does it mean to mainstream flood resilience across sectors? and How to advance a vision are for building flood resilient communities?

10:00 – 10:25 COFFEE BREAK

10:25 – 12:00

Are we on the right track? Assessing risk to build resilience

Knowing where we are and where we want to go is an important part of advancing our resilience. This session will explore current trends in assessing risk and will provide an open learning forum for discussing the advantages and disadvantages of the vareity of risk assessment tools available.

How can data improve resilience? A case study on sea level rise in BC

Our ability to predict, manage and cope with flooding is challenged by both the uncertainty surrounding climate change/variability and traditional methods of data analysis and reporting. Using the Lower Mainland of British Columbia as a case study, this session will examine the importance and limitations of data, and how it can be used and communicated to build a shared understanding of risk and opportunities to improve resilience. Examples of collaborative data collection, analysis and interpretation to improve long-term coastal flood management will be introduced.

Who does what? Roles and responsibilities in resilience planning

Resilience planning should occur at a variety of levels including: household, institutional, and governmental. Representatives from industry, local government, and the not-for-profit sector will discuss the nature of resilience planning and the respective roles and responsibilities of public and private stakeholders in building flood resilient communities.

Master class (A) - Building organizational resiliency

Master classes will be open format sessions led by an expert in the areas of leadership and social innovation, entrepreneurship, and interdisciplinary collaboration. The focus and activities of each of the master classes will be determined by the specialties of the facilitators and will be announced as they become available.

12:00 – 1:30 LUNCH

1:30 – 3:00

Come together - Engaging and empowering community builders

In times of crisis, strangers become friends, neighbours help neighbours, and the world seems to get a little smaller. This session will explore how we can empower the people in our communities to enhance resiliency, from political leaders to the people down the street.

Is flood protection a moving target?

There is uncertainty in all aspects of life. We seek to reduce this uncertainty to a mangeable level by acquiring as much information as possible. However, in most cases we have learned how to make decisions with the best information available as the cost of avoiding these decisions may be too high. This session will provide strategies and lessons learned from municipalities and climate scientists on how to move forward in the face of uncertainty.

The Power of Partnerships

Partnerships are powerful mechanisms to enhance community resilience. They can bring together experts from across a variety of disciplines, build on their strengths, and create opportunities greater than the sum of its parts. This session will examine the role of partnerships in building flood resilience.

Creating connections: Building trust to enhance communications

People generally trust information that comes from a reliable source or is consistent with the facts as known. This session will explore the importance and challenges of trust in communication systems and how these systems can benefit relationships between and within separate organizations.

3:00 – 3:25 COFFEE BREAK

3:25 – 5:00

Societal perception and tolerance of risk

Most local governments provide some level of flood protection to their citizens, but how much is enough? This session will explore the level of flood risk tolerated by communities, and how decisions are made regarding how much flood risk is acceptable. Factors involved in deciding what amount of protection to provide will be discussed including: legal considerations, financial and insurance implications, citizen engagement, and uncertainty.

Scenario planning - Collaboration and empowerment

In order to effectively address flood risks, communities have to find ways to reconcile different perceptions of risk and attitudes towards uncertainty and have to clarify the best way forward despite a high degree of complexity. This session will use a scenario planning exercise to test proposed actions against a range of possible future in the hopes of finding “no regrets” options.

The economics of resilience

Implementing flood protection measures can be costly, particularly where it is being retrofitted into existing development. Uncertainty surrounding the economics of resiliency, for example the cost-benefit or the return on investment in resiliency measures, can make securing funding a challenge. Panellists will discuss the economics of flood protection – costs, opportunities, and challenges.

Creating more resilient municipal systems and infrastructure

Climate change is making us think differently about the design, effectiveness, and lifespan of municipal infrastructure. Increased precipitation, extreme weather, and heat will affect systems and infrastructure across the country, requiring action at every level. This session will shine a light on how we can build and maintain municipal infrastructure in a changing climate.

6:00 – 9:00 GALA DINNER

A chance for forum delegates and invited guests to network over cocktails and dinner.

Day Two

Tuesday, September 29


7:30 – 8:30 Registration and Buffet Breakfast


8:30 – 9:00 Morning Plenary

9:10 – 10:40

Perspectives on the business case for flood mitigation

The justification for flood protection work has traditionally been an engineering exercise assessing flood risk, damage estimates, and in some cases the economic costs of a flood. More recently, studies have attempted to include the non-tangible or social impacts of flooding, including physical and mental health effects. This session will examine approaches to assessing the benefits to society of flood mitigation efforts.

Community-level flood resilience (Part A: Panel discussion)

As we build flood resilience, it is important to recognize that tangible vulnerabilities are often underpinned by an intangible system of attitudes, values, and cultural traditions that are rooted in the community. This session will explore how perceptions of flood risk and what resiliency means affect the ability of a community and its stakeholders to build flood resilience at the personal, community, and city-wide level.

Investing in personal resilience across communities

Preventing damage to homes, livelihoods, and people is a paramount function of resilience; the responsibility for this is not just a function of government alone. This session will explore how households and individuals can become more resilient and will provide insight and lessons learned on flood preparedness.

Master class (B) - Building organizational resiliency

Master classes will be open format sessions led by an expert in the areas of leadership and social innovation, entrepreneurship, and interdisciplinary collaboration. The focus and activities of each of the master classes will be determined by the specialties of the facilitators and will be announced as they become available.

10:40 – 11:00 COFFEE BREAK

11:00 – 12:30

Community-level flood resilience (Part B: Roundtable dialogues)

Building off Community-Level Flood Resilience (Part A) this World Café style session will give participants a first hand opportunity to discuss issues relevant to building community-level flood resilience. Participants will move through three-rounds of table discussions. Tables will be organized by themes relevant to the subject and will have a table-host to lead the conversation.

Resilience planning for public infrastructure and critical services

Continued operation and delivery of critical infrastructure and services, even in the face of an emergency, is paramount to public safety. This session will explore how public infrastructure can be protected and how critical services can be maintained.

World cafe – The role of partnerships in mainstreaming flood resilience

Natural disasters can have serious impacts on social and economic systems. This session will explore the role of partnerships – creation, maintenance, and longevity – in managing vulnerability, minimizing the deterioration of ecosystems, and reducing physical damage as a result of a natural disasters.

12:30 – 1:30 LUNCH

1:30 – 3:00

Master class (C) - Building organizational resiliency

Master classes will be open format sessions led by an expert in the areas of leadership and social innovation, entrepreneurship, and interdisciplinary collaboration. The focus and activities of each of the master classes will be determined by the specialties of the facilitators and will be announced as they become available.

Resilience through placemaking and social innovation

A sense of place is crucial to creating livable cities and communities where people want to live. Thriving cities, regions, and towns include lively neighbourhoods and business districts, cultural and recreational attractions, protected natural areas, and deep pride in local character, products and food. This session will explore how we can enhance flood resilience through placemaking and social innovation.

Resilient by design

Resilience planning is increasingly moving away from disaster recovery and rebuilding to disaster prevention and avoidance. Changing urban design and land use patterns are key dimensions in moving towards resilient communities. This session will explore how cities and communities can be designed to withstand or prevent flood risk.

Working with nature to advance resilience

Protecting and restoring natural systems is a crucial aspect of flood resilience. These systems offer simple and effective ways to absorb and store water thereby reducing the risk of floods and storms. This session will explore how we can advance resilience by working with nature to mitigate the impacts of flooding.

3:00 – 3:25 COFFEE BREAK



This interactive evening session is open to the public and free by registration. The session will connect Calgarians with conference speakers in a workshop style event.

Day Three

Wednesday, September 30


7:30 – 8:30 Buffet Breakfast


9:00 – 12:30 LOCAL STUDY TOURS

Bow River Rafting Tour

Explore Calgary’s Bow River by raft and see how the river has changed since the 2013 flood. During this tour you will learn about flood barriers, what Calgary has done to strengthen the river banks and see first-hand how communities were impacted by flooding. You’ll visit riverside parks to learn how they’ve recovered since 2013, and get an understanding of the role of riparian areas in flooding. Weather and activity appropriate clothing is required for this outing.

Community Resiliency Walking Tour

Walk through communities along the Bow River to hear how they responded, recovered and are becoming more resilient to flooding. This tour will include visits to inner city mixed use and residential neighbourhoods, as well as, downtown businesses. Evacuation challenges, business continuity, vulnerable populations, site-scale resilience measures, and groundwater and storm water flooding will be highlighted.

High River Study Tour

In 2013 the Town of High River found itself at the epicentre of the most destructive floods in Canada’s history. Travel to High River and explore the impacts from 2013, and how High River is preparing for future floods. On this tour you will learn about and discuss the decision to remove entire neighbourhoods, plans for a new diking system, the redevelopment of the downtown and long-term effects on small businesses.

The Infrastructure Flood Test

Stay tuned for more info!

Sunday, September 27


Workshop: Tools for building flood resilience in local communities

The National Adaptation Working Group – which is made up of ICLEI, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Engineers Canada, the Canadian Institute of Planners, and the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction – is holding a workshop in conjunction with the Livable Cities Forum. The workshop will bring Town of Oakville (Ontario) staff to present the situation in Oakville and outline how the Town has been working to build flood resiliency. Using the Town as a case study in building flood resilience and participants will be guided through the use of three resources available to better mitigate against floods at the local level.

The workshop will provide an opportunity for local professionals, including municipal engineers, water management professionals, planners, emergency managers and sustainability professionals, to discuss major flooding challenges and how they can increase application of tools in their work.

Time: 1:00-5:30pm

Cost: Free for LCF delegates

Click here to view the preliminary agenda and workshop flyer. You can sign up to attend the workshop on the Livable Cities Forum Registration Page. If you have already registered for the Forum, but would like to attend the Workshop, please send an email to


Join us Sunday evening for the LCF Dine-Around!

The Sunday dine around event provides an opportunity for delegates to dine at local restaurants that were impacted by the flood in 2013 and hear from owner/managers about their experience.

Stay tuned for more information!

Program Themes

Understanding– What does it mean for a community to build resilience to floods? This theme will explore what resilience means for communities by examining methods for assessing the economic and social impacts of flooding, approaches for analysing the value of flood protection works, the role of data and collaborative analysis for improving mitigation, and how communities decide what amount of flood risk they are willing to tolerate.

Planning – How does a community build resilience? Planning resilience involves anticipating risks, protecting people and property, and developing recovery mechanisms. This theme will examine how flood resilience can be incorporated into existing and planned development, providing examples of best practices and lessons learned through the experiences of Calgary and other municipalities.

Mainstreaming – Why does resilience need to be part of the everyday? Emerging work on building resilient communities emphasizes the need to ‘mainstream’ resilience into processes such as planning, policy, community engagement, and within organizations. Interactive sessions will provide an opportunity to discuss topics that include communications and meaningful engagement on flood risk and mitigation, and partnerships to reduce flood impacts to the social and economic structure of a community.

Advancing – How can we ensure we continue to building flood resilience into the future? This theme will highlight ways to monitor progress towards resiliency, natural resiliency measures, climate change considerations in decision-making, and how people and organizations can be empowered to enhance a community’s resiliency.