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Participatory mapping and visualization of local knowledge: An example from Eberbach, Germany

A rise in the number of flood-affected people and areas has increased the interest in new methods and concepts that account for this change. Citizens are integrated into disaster risk reduction processes through participatory approaches and can provide valuable up-to-date local knowledge. During a field study in Eberbach (Baden–Wuerttemberg, Germany) sketch maps and questionnaires were used to capture local knowledge about flooding. Based on a previous study on urban flooding in Santiago de Chile, the tools were adapted and applied to river flooding in the city of Eberbach, which is regularly flooded by the Neckar River, a major river in southwest Germany. The empirical database of the study comprises 40 participants in the study area and 40 in a control area. Half of the participants in each group are residents and half are pedestrians. Purposive sampling was used, and the questionnaires aimed to gather demographic information and explore what factors, such as property, influence the risk perception of the study participants. The results show that residents identify a larger spatial area as at risk than pedestrians, and owning property leads to higher risk awareness. The flood type influenced the choice of the base maps for the sketch maps. For river flooding, one map with an overview of the area was sufficient, while for urban flooding a second map with more details of the area also enables the marking of small streets. The information gathered can complement authoritative data such as from flood models. This participatory approach also increases the communication and trust between local governments, researchers, and citizens.
Author: Klonner, Carolin; Uson, Thomas J; Aeschbach, Nicole; Hofle, Bernard
Language: English
Pubished By: Springer
Pubished date: October 2020

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