Today global climate change counts among the most serious present-day and future problems of mankind. It will challenge all areas of (urban) life and needs many interdisciplinary and comprehensive efforts to keep the most unlikely anticipated consequences at an endurable scale. For instance, the frequency and intensity of storm surges, as well as the sea level rise and more intense rain events are expected to put coastal zones and delta regions under increasing stress. The fact that cities along the shoreline are in general areas of economic and population growth will further increase their vulnerability for such events in the future. To cope the expected consequences it demands new adaptation strategies in flood risk management. Today’s practice of flood management in coastal zones as well as delta regions and flood-prone riversides normally concentrates on dikes and flood barriers, but it does not include an effective risk management for the hinterland. As a consequence, the population behind the flood defence structures would be unprepared if the dikes failed and the hinterland was flooded. The contribution is the cooperation of two independent and interdisciplinary long-term research projects. The first one is the RIMAX research programme (flood risk management) of the Institute for River and Coastal Engineering / TU Hamburg-Harburg, directed by Prof. Dr. Erik Pasche (Head of Institute), which is part of the EU Flood Directive (EC 2007/60) and a BMBF initiative to tackle the impacts of climate change in coastal regions. A research team of urbanists and urban sociologists drive the other research. It is mentored and supported by Prof. Dr. phil. habil Dieter Hassenpflug (professor for sociology and social history of towns, Bauhaus University Weimar). The theoretical concept of “The Tolerant Landscape” is focusing on new planning and design principles for flood-prone urban areas that include approaches to compensate the negative impacts of climate change as well as to strengthen risk awareness and perception. First results of this project were already presented and discussed on the 5th World Bank Urban Research Symposium 2009 “Cities and Climate Change: Responding to an Urgent Agenda” in Marseille. A new flood risk management strategy for urban areas will be presented, which integrates the hinterland as a key area to reduce the social and physical vulnerability of lowlying districts to extreme natural events. It is based on the model of “cascading flood compartments” by the RIMAX Project. To achieve a resilient urban landscape an adaptation of the building environment towards a controlled temporary floodable structure is essential regarding the increasing limits of today’s adaptation practice in urban areas. The approach discusses the layout of flood defence measures as well as the transformation of the urban form and building codes towards an appropriate urban and architectural design. A significant focus lies on strengthening the risk perception and awareness of flood plain occupants to change their behaviour in the case of exposure to a hazardous incident. This contribution relates to the conference topics (2b) but it is also closely associated with other topics such as (1b) and (4b).