Let's talk about risk

Building greater capability for risk conversations between local authorities and communities

Engaging with communities about climate and natural hazard risks is a challenge for local authorities. However, it is critical to sound risk management decision making - to ensure decisions meet community needs and expectations and to make the most of limited resources.
In this research, we will review how local authorities are engaging with communities on natural hazard risk, highlight best practice, and provide a framework for having conversations about risk.

Local government agencies are at the frontline of work to prepare existing and future communities for an increased frequency and severity of natural hazard events, through their land-use planning as well as resilience and disaster preparedness. Increasingly local and regional councils are having conversations with communities to manage and reduce exposure to risk. These critical conversations ensure limited resources are allocated based on real needs and preferences of communities. However, the unique demands of these conversation, fears about public response, and limited guidance on engagement approaches are barriers to effective engagement.  Local government agencies need support to engage their communities so that they can confidently ascertain the community-wide view on risk that underpins their mandate to act. Communities also need access to the information on changing risk that affects their lives and livelihoods so they themselves can act.

Project goals
  • Facilitate a cross-agency and cross-discipline conversation on natural hazard and climate change risk engagement.
  • Improve understanding of the range of tools and existing practices.
  • Explore the effectiveness, challenges, and gaps in current approaches.
  • Create a framework (with case examples) to support the design and implementation of effective community engagement on risk.
  • Scope mechanisms, including the use of technology, that could enhance ongoing and sustainable community engagement on natural hazard and climate risk.
Project methodology
Online workshop series: Engaging communities in natural hazard conversations
Are you working in local government or a community organisation and run discussions with communities about natural hazards? If so, these workshops are for you!

As part of our Let’s Talk About Risk project, we are running a series of three online workshops to discuss some of the challenges inherent in working with communities to assess and/ or manage the risk they face from natural hazards.

These workshops are for anyone involved in helping councils and communities to make decisions about natural hazard risk. This might be through coastal or district planning, emergency management or anything in between.

We know there can be a range of people involved in these conversations whose core expertise doesn’t lie in community engagement. So, we welcome all participants involved in community engagement on natural hazard risk, even if you don’t see yourself as an engagement specialist.

PLEASE NOTE: Our online sessions are now full.

Please register your interest below if you want to be notified of future workshops and updated on the project.

Poster presentation overview of the project

We recently presented this poster at a Resilience Symposium hosted by the University of Canterbury to showcase community and urban resilience research.

Click on image to view full size poster.

Project team

This project has been funded by EQC as part of the Biennial Research Funding Programme.

If you are a part of these risk conversations and would like to be involved, please get in touch:

Charlotte Brown
+64 (0)21 142 5420

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