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Living on the water : a social innovation approach to flood adaptation planning in the river basin Eferding, Austria

Gebetsberger, Tobias LU (2015) In Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science MESM02 20151
LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)
Abstract
In the summer of 2013, devastating floods caused heavy damage along various streams in central Europe. In the river basin Eferding in Austria, the Danube River reached record water levels and flooded hundreds of homes in the low-lying areas over night. The response of the government to resettle people has been heavily criticized by a local citizen initiative, leading to protests in front of the regional parliament. The demand for alternative solutions and for answers to the many questions to the cause of the extraordinary impact of the flood have been growing.
The aim of this study is to analyze people’s attitudes towards social innovation thinking in the context of flood planning and to discuss the benefits of the concept of social... (More)
In the summer of 2013, devastating floods caused heavy damage along various streams in central Europe. In the river basin Eferding in Austria, the Danube River reached record water levels and flooded hundreds of homes in the low-lying areas over night. The response of the government to resettle people has been heavily criticized by a local citizen initiative, leading to protests in front of the regional parliament. The demand for alternative solutions and for answers to the many questions to the cause of the extraordinary impact of the flood have been growing.
The aim of this study is to analyze people’s attitudes towards social innovation thinking in the context of flood planning and to discuss the benefits of the concept of social innovation in this particular case. In such situations, according to the concept of social innovation, solutions that meet unmet needs of society and create new capabilities and better use of resources can occur. In search for resilient ways to adapt to the risk of floods, through a participatory action research approach, I engage with the local citizens and other stakeholders by simulating the idea creation process of social innovation. In a short video distributed via social media, I introduce a new way of living in the flood area. Subsequently, using a survey I assess people’s reaction towards the innovation presented in the video.
The results show a great potential for change: people are highly receptive to rethinking flood adaptation and their way of living in the flood zone. Compassion is strong far beyond the immediately affected citizens, which advocates for more active involvement of many more people in order to shape the innovation to meet all stakeholders’ needs. However, as the topic splits the opinion of locals and the government, politics tends to impede the process.
The use of the video and social media has proven highly efficient in breaking down barriers of communication: the complexity of the subject could be presented in an easily understandable way; social media provided a perfect platform for discussion and involving people. The study shows that people perceive innovation thinking rather positively. I therefore advocate for a more active use of the concept in similar complex contexts. (Less)
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author
Gebetsberger, Tobias LU
supervisor
organization
course
MESM02 20151
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
participatory action research, proactive flood-adaptation, social innovation, social media research, resilience, sustainability science
publication/series
Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science
report number
2015:021
language
English
id
5473875
date added to LUP
2015-06-18 11:57:30
date last changed
2015-06-18 11:57:30
@misc{5473875,
  abstract     = {In the summer of 2013, devastating floods caused heavy damage along various streams in central Europe. In the river basin Eferding in Austria, the Danube River reached record water levels and flooded hundreds of homes in the low-lying areas over night. The response of the government to resettle people has been heavily criticized by a local citizen initiative, leading to protests in front of the regional parliament. The demand for alternative solutions and for answers to the many questions to the cause of the extraordinary impact of the flood have been growing.
The aim of this study is to analyze people’s attitudes towards social innovation thinking in the context of flood planning and to discuss the benefits of the concept of social innovation in this particular case. In such situations, according to the concept of social innovation, solutions that meet unmet needs of society and create new capabilities and better use of resources can occur. In search for resilient ways to adapt to the risk of floods, through a participatory action research approach, I engage with the local citizens and other stakeholders by simulating the idea creation process of social innovation. In a short video distributed via social media, I introduce a new way of living in the flood area. Subsequently, using a survey I assess people’s reaction towards the innovation presented in the video.
The results show a great potential for change: people are highly receptive to rethinking flood adaptation and their way of living in the flood zone. Compassion is strong far beyond the immediately affected citizens, which advocates for more active involvement of many more people in order to shape the innovation to meet all stakeholders’ needs. However, as the topic splits the opinion of locals and the government, politics tends to impede the process.
The use of the video and social media has proven highly efficient in breaking down barriers of communication: the complexity of the subject could be presented in an easily understandable way; social media provided a perfect platform for discussion and involving people. The study shows that people perceive innovation thinking rather positively. I therefore advocate for a more active use of the concept in similar complex contexts.},
  author       = {Gebetsberger, Tobias},
  keyword      = {participatory action research,proactive flood-adaptation,social innovation,social media research,resilience,sustainability science},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science},
  title        = {Living on the water : a social innovation approach to flood adaptation planning in the river basin Eferding, Austria},
  year         = {2015},
}