Place Attachment and Tornado Risk Perception in Central Oklahoma

Authors: Victoria Johnson*, , Randy Peppler, University of Oklahoma, Kim Klockow, University of Oklahoma
Topics: Human-Environment Geography, Environmental Perception, Hazards and Vulnerability
Keywords: Place Attachment, Risk Perception, Natural Hazards
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Napoleon A3, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Residents of the Oklahoma City metropolitan area are constantly threatened by natural disasters such as tornadoes. Their risk perception directly or indirectly affects their behavioral choices. Introducing the concept of sense of place, this paper details the interactions with risk perception of tornado hazards. Residents surrounding the Oklahoma City area were surveyed about their sense of place and risk perception. Python and ArcGIS mapping tools were used to create visual “hot spots” of the interactions between various dimensions, and hypothetical tests were conducted. Research found that dimensions of risk perception, such as tornado frequency in occurrence and closeness have direct impacts on the dimensions of sense of place, which may lessen their levels of preparedness and response. Physical features such as flat landscapes, waterways, and tall buildings also play an important role in this dynamic. Residents often underestimate disaster risks due to having a false sense of security and preconceived notions from personal experiences. This paper studies the complex interactions between attachment to place and risk perception, and seeks to understand how people perceive tornado threat in the places where they live. By studying place-based interactions, research can provide a scientific basis to providing better communication and protection efforts to surrounding local communities.

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