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Thomas Hartmann

Why are recent attempts to give space to the rivers so unsuccessful? Floodplain management is a complex social process with many stakeholders, who pursue different rationalities before, during, and after floods. The resulting patterns of activities of the stakeholders have led to a technological lock-in. This article uses Cultural Theory to analyze the stakeholders' different framing of floodplain management. The concept of Large Areas for Temporary Emergency Retention (LATER) is then introduced as a way to create space for the rivers. Its implementation can be facilitated if the different rationalities, framing the patterns of activity in the floodplains are taken into account. Therefore, based on interviews with landowners, water managers, land use planners, and policymakers the rationalities are uncovered and different proposals for land policies are presented. The result is a land policy based on an obligatory insurance against natural hazards.