Community resilience to flooding: key personal attributes of social responsibility

2014-04-24T15:18:47Z (GMT) by Aaron Mullins Robby Soetanto
Recent extreme weather events and their tremendous impacts on highly interconnected modern world have called on individuals to work together to enhance resilience of community where they live. Despite well-documented evidence of the potential physical impacts of flooding, the research has so far neglected to fully investigate the manner by which decision making at community level could influence the extent of damage and the resilience to flooding. A research is currently being conducted to investigate this gap in knowledge by exploring ways in which a better understanding of the perceptions of social responsibility could potentially increase community resilience. These perceptions may affect people’s behaviour towards the issues of climate change and extreme flooding events. This paper presents some initial findings of an investigation of social responsibility in three communities (Selly Park, Witton and Digbeth) in Birmingham, United Kingdom. A questionnaire survey of householders, managers of local businesses and policy makers yielded 343 completed responses, which were then subjected to Principal Component Analysis (PCA) to better understanding the underlying constructs of social responsibility. The finding suggests two personal attributes, namely ‘societal duty’ and ‘powerlessness’, which are believed to be significant antecedents of resilience-enhancing behaviours for preparation and mitigation of flooding at community level. This finding indicates that any attempt to enhance community resilience should encompass appropriate strategies, measures and activities that higher the level of ‘societal duty’ and lower the level of ‘powerlessness’. The finding will be of interest to community leaders and provide considerations for professionals embarking on the development of resilience measures. Future research includes validating the measures and developing a tool for facilitating joined-up thinking amongst members of community.