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Risk social contracts: exploring responsibilities through the lens of citizens affected by flooding in Germany in 2021

Ommer, J., Blackburn, S. ORCID:, Kalas, M., Neumann, J. ORCID: and Cloke, H. L. ORCID: (2024) Risk social contracts: exploring responsibilities through the lens of citizens affected by flooding in Germany in 2021. Progress in Disaster Science, 21. 100315. ISSN 2590-0617

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.pdisas.2024.100315


Citizen priorities, needs, and rights have been moving to the centre of ‘good’ risk management and governance in theory, but what is their role in practice? The disastrous impacts of the flooding event across Western Europe in 2021 highlighted many gaps and challenges in flood risk governance (FRG) structures in Germany. To better understand these, this study explored responsibilities as perceived by citizens and compares these with legal-institutional social contracts. The perceptions of citizens were captured in an online survey in the affected regions. The results indicate that German FRG remains a predominantly top-down system with citizens being dependent on the functioning of the risk and emergency system. The results of the survey highlight the need for: 1) clarifying and co-defining roles and responsibilities in FRG and making them more transparent; 2) enhancing citizen active involvement in governance and deliberating interactions; 3) rebuilding trust; and 4) creating joint responsibilities between citizens and local authorities. Based on the findings of the study, it became apparent that research on citizen centred FRG is steps ahead of policy and practice. To enhance policy and practice, recommendations were developed to foster collaboration between citizens and local authorities to strengthen local FRG.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:115205


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