House, Home and Place - A Visual Mapping Tool

Picture drawing a circle around ‘home’ on a map and it probably extends well beyond the property.

For most, home exists within the surrounding landscape, a place filled with emotional meaning, as well as social and physical/environmental connections, reflecting aspects of our sense of self, where we come from and what we value.

Bushfire CRC research indicates that fire and land managers can benefit from understanding community values, perspectives and insights in targeting and tailoring safety and engagement programs in fire and hazard-prone communities.

The idea is that by considering personal as well as community values and priorities, you can explore mutually beneficial and sustainable outcomes for managing risk, enhancing safety and supporting recovery.

The challenge is how to capture and optimise these insights effectively to enhance fire and land management education and engagement efforts.

Social cognitive mapping is a proven, but simple and effective visual or ‘mud’ mapping tool and research technique that enables users to unlock the values and meaning people attach to their surroundings.

Who could use it?

The visual mapping and research tool, known as social cognitive mapping, could be used by:
• Fire and land managers who develop and/or implement community engagement , education and risk management programs as well as recovery strategy and operations.
• Community engagement and development practitioners.
• Community education and safety practitioners.
• Bushfire education and community safety practitioners.
• Community volunteers.

Information and insights captured in the process can help explain questions such as how and why people behave in the face of bushfire risk, how and whether they physically prepare their properties, and how they want the “assets” that they value to be managed by agencies.

The process also forges stronger links between fire and land managers and their communities.

The tool featured in this resource is based on the research method used by the University of Melbourne researchers in their Social Construct of Fuels in the Interface project.

This resource makes the method accessible to everyone. It includes background on the research, details the methodology, how it can be applied and how to use it. Key elements include background videos, as well as a downloadable How to Guide and related templates.

Download the free toolkit at

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