Authors: Gretchen Fagg*, University College London
Topics: Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Qualitative Research
Keywords: Participatory Geography, Disaster, Preparedness, Citizen Science, Community Resilience, Hazards
Session Type: Paper
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Bacchus, Sheraton, 8th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded
Disaster and emergency preparedness planning assumptions are traditionally hierarchical; that is, with a view that first responders, government officials or health professionals set the agenda for preparedness planning and discourse on behalf of the general public. Recent shifts in planning have explored the involvement of non-traditional partners such as NGOs and community groups in a more citizen-centred disaster planning arrangement (Cutter et al. 2008). However, despite this popularised shift towards encouraging individual and community responsibility for disaster preparedness, information remains top-down, and the challenge of how to engage communities with a disaster preparedness agenda persists.
Participatory action research and citizen science methods may facilitate engagement of communities in the preparedness at a foundational level by allowing participants the chance to have a say in the agenda itself. The geospatial web (Geoweb) has expanded how the public may participate with and contribute to civil society (Goodchild 2007, Elwood 2008). Digital technology paired with participatory research offers an opportunity for community members to themselves define, collect and analyse information to provide a uniquely localised, bottom-up context to what was otherwise primarily a top-down discourse.
This paper explores a specific case where geographers and interdisciplinary partners deployed participatory mapping methods and tools to facilitate community engagement. The process included identifying local preparedness goals, collaborative development and use of community hazard and resource mapping, and exploring how the data collected might both strengthen the group’s planning arrangements and empower its participation in the formal emergency preparedness landscape.