Involving the community in flood management

The recent floods in Victoria’s Gippsland region and in NSW have shown the challenges we face in managing and recovering from flood events in Australia and beyond.

Monash Art, Design and Architecture PhD candidate Erich Wolff is investigating ways we can better involve local communities in the process of understanding and managing floods as part of his research within the Informal Cities Lab.

Erich explains: “Some practices such as citizen science and participatory mapping can provide invaluable data to support disaster management. Beyond collecting data, these approaches can also improve local knowledge and strengthen community bonds that play an important role in disaster prevention and response.

“But the tools to support a ‘people-centred’ approach to floods are still underdeveloped.

“Our recent research shows that projects, such as Revitalising Informal Settlements and their Environments (RISE), show the untapped potential in involving communities in the process of understanding local hazards, as well as preparing for and responding to floods.

“Considering that local residents often have the best local knowledge and are often the first responders after a disaster, we need to develop citizen science and other methods to support a more ‘people-centred’ approach to floods.”

This is part of a body of work within MADA’s Informal Cities Lab to inform disaster management globally.

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