Finding appropriate participation in urban planning for reduction of disaster risks
Abstract: This research paper aims to explore the potential to improve the role and effectiveness of urban planning in decreasing disaster risk. It suggests that risks associated with disasters will be reduced if certain urban planning and disaster management theories and practices are integrated, focussing particularly upon citizens’ participation in the processes of planning. To do this, disaster management is studied from a “disaster cycle” approach – Prevention, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery (PPRR). Each of these stages is analysed in terms of citizens’ involvement, examined through the lens of the ladder of citizen participation. A key concern is the proper use and development of citizens’ knowledge regarding urban planning in so far as it intersects with disaster management and modification of disaster risks. This paper explores bushfire planning practices in Victoria, Australia alongside three international disaster management and urban planning practices. These additional cases include the following international disaster management activities: the Switzerland Avalanche prevention and preparedness program; UK flood management, particularly the floods of summer 2007; and, the USA’s hurricane management approaches, particularly Hurricane Katrina, 2005. These case studies demonstrate that particular participation approaches for specific circumstances need to be selected to yield improved disaster risk reduction outcomes delivered via planning systems. The paper concludes with directions for further analysis needed to ensure that appropriate participation types are applied for planning and disaster.