Living on the edge
This forum was held on Monday 11 August 2014 at 12:30pm
Prof Ross Bradstock, University of Wollongong
Associate Prof Ruth Beilin, University of Melbourne
Mike Wouters, lead end user, Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, South Australia
Research projects covered: Social construct of fuels in the interface 1 and Social construct of fuels in the interface 2
What's it about?
Many rural/urban landscapes, while a fire risk, are beautiful. In many cases this beauty is the reason why people choose to live in these areas, despite the risk. Two research projects investigated this in different ways.
The first study examined if the features which make rural/urban interface areas attractive to live in, are also the features that pose the greatest bushfire hazard. The potential conflict between amenity and risk was examined through interviewing residents in rural/urban interface communities and through empirical modelling to estimate the risk of house loss, coupled with a statistical model to examine historic house loss. Interviewees were able to identify hazards, but lifestyle priorities indicated that reducing the risk was not the highest priority. In these situations, improving preparedness relies less in educating people about how to reduce the risk, and more in assisting them to take action.
The second study was a pilot research project, applying the process of ‘place mapping’, a new approach for fire and land management agencies, to also gain an understanding of how communities in rural/urban interface areas perceive fire risk in the context of their natural landscape. The study found that the place mapping process can provide community members with a mechanism through which to communicate their perspectives on bushfire risk.
Learn more about the research in this short video
Replay the entire forum
- Community safety practitioners
- Community members
- Community groups
- Local government
- Government administrators
Key resources you should know about
- Fire Note on how we all view our surroundings differently - Fire Note 121: We all view our surroundings differently
- Fire Note on understanding householder perceptions of risk and value - Fire Note 129 - Life on the Edge: Living with risk.
- Putting 'it' Together: Mapping the narratives of bushfire and place in two Australian landscapes final report
- Social Construct of Fuels in the Interface Project One final report
- Guidelines for place mapping