Climate Adaptation & Flooding

01. 2011 Queensland Floods

In January 2011, South-East Queensland was inundated in what is still Australia's most expensive natural disaster.

02. Emergency Architects Australia QLD Flood Relief

JDA coordinated pro-bono assessments of inundated homes, drawing on a force of 100 professional volunteers.


EAA assessments were geared towards providing a sense of direction for occupants in wading through not rebuilding but also the planning process associated with reconstruction.

03. Flood Resilient Design

Learning from our work in the floods, our practice started incorporating flood resilient design principles into our built work.

Let the water flow.

JDA has presently designed 4 houses which incorporate flood resilient design. Materials, planning and details focus on the idea of permeability - working with water, rather than against it. Importantly, these strategies include a consideration to affordability, which is why we have been able to include them on multiple designs.

04. Winston Churchill Fellowship

Through a prestigious national fellowship, James Davidson (Director) was able to connect with other leaders in climate adaptation internationally. This has allowed us to bring best practice expertise to Australia.


James was awarded one of the country’s most prestigious fellowships by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust for 2012. Accommodating Water: Adaptive Architectures, Reactionary Planning and Design Resilience in The USA, Netherlands and UK looks at best-practice flood resilient design principles for mass produced affordable housing in a range of different contexts that over the last decade have developed new design and construction methods in response to a devastating flood event.

05. Advocacy: The need for better planning

In our work we realised that we were only operating at one end of the planning spectrum.


In fact, Sam Bowstead's thesis showed that in less than three years, some of the flooddatums controlling how properties are developed had changed by more than 1m. We needed to act as advocates for better planning policy, in addition to better buildings.

06. SEQ Waterfutures Charrette

Over a five day workshop, we brought together 171 professionals from 20 disciplines in local and state government, academia and industry to collaboratively develop a vision for better water management in South-East Queensland

Waterfutures was extremely successful in building collaboration towards better water management in South-East Queensland. One of the key outcomes was the fluvial transect, which set out five key planning areas in the region, each with their own strategy on how to respond to water.

07. The Waterfutures Book

Building on 5 years work in Climate Adapation, and our learnings from the Waterfutures Charrette, we published a book outlining our vision for South-East Queensland.

The 2011 floods affected approximately 200,000 people across South East Queensland (SEQ); past flooding data and future climate change predictions suggest these severe weather events will only become more intense and frequent.

The Water Futures book is the culmination of over 5 years of work by many people – all experts in their own right – from many disciplines, professions and walks of life. Hundreds of hours of collaborative efforts have gone into the making of this book. Everyone involved worked from the same premise:

If SEQ is to flourish in the midst of severe weather events and an increasing population, the region as a whole needs an integrated approach to water management and flood mitigation. An approach built on adaptability to protect us during periods of drought and flooding rains. A strategy that brings communities, Local, State and Federal Governments together to create a vision to our water future.

What we present in this book are the beginnings of this vision. Through the medium of design, we propose a range of water management and urban design solutions and strategies that not only protect us in times of need and build community resilience, but will also reduce our ecological impact and improve our quality of life in the face of more frequent and extreme weather events. Water is the key to this; retaining water during drought and allowing it to either flow or slowing it down during floods.

Learn. Design. Adapt.

08. Flood Consultancies

Since Waterfutures, we have spearheaded climate adaptation planning through several consultancies across Australia.

09. Flood Resilient Homes Program

Australia's largest Climate Adaptation project in property-based flood resilience.


From working in the floods of 2011, we have come a long way to pilotting Australia's leading property-based flood resilience program. With Brisbane City Council and CitySmart, the Flood Resilient Homes Program is designed to help residents prepare for, and recover from, overland flow flooding events.The Flood Resilient Homes Program consists of a free in-home service, a free tailored property report and an incentive scheme for eligible properties.