Evaluating the Effectiveness of Community Engagement Strategies for Shifting Attitudinal Behaviour Towards Green Stormwater Infrastructure
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Climate change will cause increased frequency extreme weather events with more frequent stormwater runoff and flooding. Therefore it is increasingly critical to understand how to address the increased runoff as well as mitigate and protect against the effects of climate change. Green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) refers to features that can help absorb, collect and redirect increased stormwater runoff. However, GSI and stormwater management (SWM) are alien or overlooked concepts to much of the public. This study aimed to understand how education in the form of a design charrette and brochures impacts residents’ views, beliefs, values and actions towards GSI in a flood prone community in Cambridge, Ontario. Pre and post surveys, site visits, interviews, and observation at the charrette and facilitator notes were used to understand the effect of education on changing perceptions and actions among residents. Educational methods were largely not effective at changing residents’ attitudes and behaviors towards GSI, except on a few questions related to SWM action and the impact on water bodies. Being impacted by extreme weather, experiencing extreme weather and household income, were significant covariates that influenced residents’ responses. The lack of enthusiasm towards installing GSI was driven by cost concerns, perception of higher level of government responsibility, need for government leadership on GSI, and value of current property uses among residents. However, residents appreciated receiving education and desired more education on GSI. More research is needed to understand how to engage and motivate the public to install GSI. While education did not prompt most participants to install GSI, it created awareness for GSI and SWM, which was not previously considered by many residents. Upon education in GSI, participants were generally supportive of these endeavors. As climate change worsens, it will be increasingly critical to find ways to build the support and engagement needed to install GSI in communities. Researchers and land use practitioners must find ways to fund GSI, galvanize the public to implement it in their properties, show leadership by implementing GSI throughout the community, provide incentives, financial and non-financial, to spur residential implementation, and use risk mapping to prioritize and encourage GSI installation among residents. Practitioners should also encourage smaller non-GSI actions residents can take to improve SWM on their property as these are easier, cheaper and likelier to be done by residents. Practitioners should build on the momentum and support generated by public engagement events to implement GSI and SWM in their neighbourhoods and communities.
Cite this version of the work
Danielle Coore (2020). Evaluating the Effectiveness of Community Engagement Strategies for Shifting Attitudinal Behaviour Towards Green Stormwater Infrastructure. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/15423