Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-7635

Article | Open Access

Flood-Resilient Communities: How We Can Encourage Adaptive Behaviour Through Smart Tools in Public–Private Interaction

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Abstract:  To achieve a more flood-resilient society, it is essential to involve citizens. Therefore, new instruments, such as tailor-made advice for homeowners, are being developed to inform homeowners about adaptive strategies in building to motivate them to implement these measures. This article evaluates if public–private interactions, such as tailored advice, change risk behaviour and therefore increase flood resilience among homeowners. The article conducted semi-structured interviews with homeowners who had received advice as well as involved experts in two case study regions in Europe: Flanders in Belgium and Vorarlberg in Austria. The results show how the tailored advice helps homeowners who are already aware of flood risks and provides them with answers on how to adapt a house. However, the tool seems to lack the ability to inform and “recruit” new groups of homeowners who are not as familiar with flood risks. As such, this article concludes that this initiative has a relatively low impact in raising flood risk awareness among homeowners but may be more successful in serving as a tool that suggests tailored property-level flood risk adaptation measures for those who are already aware. Alternatively, more automated tailored information systems might be more efficient for unaware homeowners.

Keywords:  Austria; Belgium; flood risk management; homeowners; property level flood risk adaptation (PLFRA); risk governance; tailored risk communication



© Peter R. Davids, Thomas Thaler. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.