UBC Theses and Dissertations
The role of information in the development of floodplain policies : the Southlands case study Huhtala, Kari Edward
Increasing development of floodplain lands has led to the need for government officials to be more discerning about the quality and distribution of flood hazard information during the formulation of floodplain management policies. This thesis examines the relationship between flood hazard awareness and the adoption of floodplain policies, and includes a case study in the Southlands area of the City of Vancouver, British Columbia. The research points to methods for improving the quality and distribution of hazard information and education in the public decision-making process. A literature review of natural hazard research presents the available evidence on the relationship between hazard awareness and response, and general information principles that should be followed in developing a successful hazard advisory program. The thesis presents the necessary information to understand the full range of flood adjustment measures available to deal with flood hazard, as well as the formal institutional and legislative framework and government programs that affect flood management decisions in the Province of British Columbia and City of Vancouver. Background information on the study area is provided, including its location, flood hazard, history of flood management and the planning program used to develop floodplain management policies. The empirical research involved interviews of government officials and a survey of floodplain residents in the Southlands area to establish flood-related perceptions. The findings from the interviews and surveys are integrated to demonstrate the perceptions of the government's and community's awareness of flood risk and responses as a result of information that has been provided as part of the Southlands Local Area Planning Program. Recommendations are made for improvements in information approaches that could be used in future flood management programs.