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Models of best practice in flood risk communication and management

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-328
Number of pages16
JournalEnvironmental hazards-Human and policy dimensions
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014


King's Authors


Risk communication plays an increasingly central role in flood risk management, but there is a variety of conflicting advice about what does - and should - get transmitted, why, how, and to whom. The aim of this paper is to elucidate the underlying normative and conceptual models on which those competing assessments of 'good' risk communication depend. To that end, the paper identifies four broad models, or approaches, to risk communication: a risk message model of information transfer; a risk instrument model of behavioural change; a risk dialogue model of participatory deliberation; and a risk government model of self-regulation and normalization. These models differ in their theoretical and disciplinary origins and associated philosophical and political commitments, and consequently they define the basic purpose, practice, and future prospects of flood risk communication in quite different ways. Unless these different models of 'good' risk communication are acknowledged and understood, efforts to identify best practice for flood risk management are likely to produce inconsistent, if not contradictory, recommendations.

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