HSRR07/HSGR08: Relationships between perceived flood risks, problem ownership and household and business adaptation choices

The project focused on climate related flood safety issues in a spatial planning context. It investigated the relationships between flood risk perception, problem ownership and household and business adaptation choices. Adaptation options could be, for example, impacts on the attractiveness of the region for businesses, housing and location choices, demand for flood insurance options, or adoption of various kinds of protective behaviour.

The main results on citizens' perceptions of water and flood related issues inside and outside the embanked area of the Rijnmond-Drechtsteden region revealed following:

  • The notion of living outside or inside the embarked area required some explanation, but after the explanation was given the participants immediately recognised its meaning
  • The realistically framed descriptions of water nuisance and flood risks inside and outside the embanked area created among the participants different levels of concern and worry, combined with awareness of the need to take action to prevent any unwanted consequences
  • Levels of concern and awareness of the need to take action varied with individual differences in chronic prevention motivation as well as the participant's location inside or outside the embarked area
  • Emphasising particular communication themes such as the risks of future climate change or the benefits of living near water tended to increase or decrease the levels of concern and awareness of the need to take action
  • Levels of concern and awareness of the need to take action were positively related to the demand for flood insurance and the intention to take measures that may mitigate risks and foster self-reliance
  • The participants also showed some demand for adaptive building solutions, but preferably at a higher elevation than 3 meters above NAP
  • Many of the participants seemed to have expected that government agencies would be able to ensure flood safety in the region; however, after they received the description of water nuisance and flood risks they were somewhat less confident about the effectiveness of the agencies to manage the risks

The aim of this research was to provide policymakers and professionals with knowledge on the conditions that can make risk perception work as a positive and not as a negative influencing factor of various types of climate change adaptation that are relevant for the Rotterdam area.

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