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Assessing stakeholders' risk perception to promote Nature Based Solutions as flood protection strategies: The case of the Glinščica river (Slovenia)

Santoro, Stefania, Pluchinotta, Irene, Pagano, Alessandro, Pengal, Polona, Cokan, Blaž, Giordano, Raffaele
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.655 pp. 188-201
attitudes and opinions, flood control, fuzzy logic, infrastructure, physical phenomena, problem solving, risk management, risk perception, rivers, stakeholders, watersheds, Slovenia
Evidences from flood risk management demonstrated that a deep understanding of the main physical phenomena to be addressed is often not enough but should be also integrated with stakeholders' knowledge and risk perception. Particularly, the effectiveness of flood risk management strategies is highly dependent on stakeholders' perception and attitudes, which play a critical role on how individuals and institutions act to mitigate risks. Furthermore, practitioners and policy-makers realized that grey infrastructures may not be the most suitable solution to reduce flood risk, and that a shift from grey solutions to Nature Based Solutions is required. Within this framework, the present work describes a methodology to enhance the Nature Based Solutions implementation by facilitating the generation, acquisition and diffusion of different stakeholders' risk perceptions. It is based on the combination of Problem Structuring Methods for the elicitation of stakeholders' risk perceptions through individual Fuzzy Cognitive Maps, and Ambiguity Analysis for the investigation of differences in risk perceptions and problem framing. The outputs of the Ambiguity Analysis, used during a participatory workshop, facilitated a dialogue aligning the divergences and promoting the social acceptance of Nature Based Solutions. These results of the implementation of this multi-step methodology in the Glinščica river basin (Slovenia) are discussed.