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 review how local authorities engage 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
Framework for designing natural hazard and climate risk community engagement
Moving natural hazard and climate risk engagement forward

A report on a brief practitioner survey exploring the ongoing support needs for natural hazard and climate change risk practitioners and potential options for permanent support for practitioners.

Poster presentation overview

We 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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