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Exploring the role of risk perception in influencing flood losses over time

What implications do societies’ risk perceptions have for flood losses? This study uses a stylized, socio-hydrological model to simulate the mutual feedbacks between human societies and flood events. It integrates hydrological modelling with cultural theory and proposes four ideal types of society that reflect existing dominant risk perception and management: risk neglecting, risk monitoring, risk downplaying and risk controlling societies. We explore the consequent trajectories of flood risk generated by the interactions between floods and people for these ideal types of society over time. The results suggest that flood losses are substantially reduced when awareness-raising attitudes are promoted through inclusive, participatory approaches in the community. In contrast, societies that rely on top-down hierarchies and structural measures to protect settlements on floodplains may still suffer significant losses during extreme events. This study illustrates how predictions formed through social science theories can be applied and tested in hydrological modelling.
Author: Ridolfi, E; Albrecht, F; Di Baldassarre, G
Language: English
Pubished By: Hydrological Sciences Journal
Pubished date: 2019

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