Impacts of social contracts for citizens in the austrian flood risk management system

Weber, K., Damyanovic, D., & Thaler, T. (2024). Impacts of social contracts for citizens in the austrian flood risk management system. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction 102 e104266. 10.1016/j.ijdrr.2024.104266.

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The current flood risk management (FRM) system is under pressure. A changing climate, socio-demographic changes and economic crises lend prominence to the issue of how we can manage flood risk under these fragile circumstances and increase our resilience. Citizens play an important role in this which raises the question of how it might be possible to encourage them to take action. Social contracts define the relationship between the state and citizens and their reciprocal responsibilities. This paper will address the questions underlying the implications of changing social contracts in FRM for the state and its citizens. The authors have used a qualitative research methodology, conducting a policy document analysis and 45 semi-structured interviews with experts and citizens in the two case study regions of Steyr-Kirchdorf and Triestingtal in Austria. Results show that Austrian authorities have been responsible for the realization of technical measures. Nevertheless, the last decades have shown a paradigm shift towards a preventive risk management strategy fostering the use of property-level flood risk adaptation (PLFRA) strategies. The legacy of past decades, of the state being responsible for risk management, prevails and the existence of public measures has hampered any motivation to act among citizens. Even with the experiences of past events, residents have delegated the responsibility to act to state authorities, a practice which does not support the approach of sharing the burden and the individualisation of risk. This paper demonstrates that changing the social contracts in FRM includes a wide range of legislative, economic and societal implications.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Resilience, Vulnerability, Coping capacity, Ownership, Flood risk management, Social contracts
Research Programs: Population and Just Societies (POPJUS)
Population and Just Societies (POPJUS) > Equity and Justice (EQU)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2024 08:31
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2024 08:31

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