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Type: Theses
Title: Sea-level rise and flood risk perceptions of residents and businesses in Port Adelaide, South Australia
Author: Zheng, Dandong
Issue Date: 2017
School/Discipline: School of Social Sciences
Abstract: The human-environment nexus has yet to be fully understood in the context of natural hazards and climate change. This thesis provides a case study of the issues relating to flood risk perception and response to present and future sea level rise scenarios in Port Adelaide. The study employed a mixed-method approach, using quantitative and qualitative analyses, to include a survey of households in the area to gauge their perceptions of risk and the ways they have experienced, and adapted to, floods that occur frequently. In-depth interviews were also undertaken with local businesses to establish the context for understanding the problems and the ways in which they have adapted to flood situations and the likelihood of future changes. The resident survey indicated that the risk from storm tides was largely overlooked and the main concern related to local flooding. The property owners mainly wanted to improve drainage capacity to cope with storm water, rather than consider the long-term effects of sea-level rise. The majority of residents did not consider sea-level rise seriously. In general, flood impact was not high on their environmental concerns, as most residents tended to perceive the risks (such as those from king tides) as acceptable. Although storm tides had caused some inconvenience and minor flooding, complaints were mainly about inundation induced by extreme rainfall events. To overcome the impact of floods, government planning was seen to be inadequate to protect properties. The survey of businesses suggested that overall flood risk was not a major concern. The participants tended to describe their on-site water problems as “unusual weather conditions”, including wave damage to port facilities and tidal inundation to the shipyards and workshops. As a consequence, business activities were temporarily disrupted with concerns about the extra costs of cleaning and repair. Raising the ground level of their site was regarded as too costly by small and medium-scale business owners, as was constructing a breakwater extension. To some large businesses, a potential hazardous inundation of fuel terminals raised concerns about fire, pollution and the likely impacts on the State’s public fuel supply. Insights into business responses and the risk perceptions of residents for the study area indicate that the stakeholders were more likely to respond when they perceived higher risks from floods. Specifically, businesses with larger adaptive capacity demonstrated proactive adaptation to flood impacts. The statistical modelling results also emphasised a number of influences on risk perception and response related to socio-demographic, spatial and psychological factors. The significant impact on business capital value suggests it is a credible indicator for predicting adaptive response under sea-level rise scenarios. The study recommends that the State government consider optimising the Sea-level Rise Planning Benchmarks in line with up-to-date predictions. The findings from this research can be used to inform decision-making processes (in particular those relating to land-use planning, coastal infrastructure developments and insurance policies), by providing a means to better determine such things as risk assessment, risk perceptions and the causal factors behind consequential risk adaptation.
Advisor: Hugo, Graeme John
Brook, Barry W.
Townsend, Murray
Rudd, Dianne M.
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Social Sciences, 2017.
Keywords: sea-level rise
residents and businesses
perceptions of risk
Port Adelaide
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
DOI: 10.4225/55/5b10d7aa92ea2
Appears in Collections:Research Theses

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