Citizen Science and Nature-based Solutions for improved Disaster Preparedness

Begin/End: 2019-04-01 - 2022-03-31   Status: ongoing
Fördersumme (IA): 137.120 Euro Unit: Management Information Technology - IfW: Institut für Wirtschaftsinformatik
Subject-matter: Information
The aim of the proposed project is to develop an ICT tool and an organizational concept for collecting existing
knowledge in the population on lowfrequency,
high impact disasters, and to make this knowledge and
experience usable for risk and crisis communication, urban planning, and discussions with relevant decisionmakers,
such as politicians. A focus of the project is to analyze what such disasters actually meant for the
everyday lives of the citizens: what was the concrete damage caused by the disaster, how did this impact
people’s safety, their wellbeing,
and their economic activities, what type of help was needed (and missing)
when the disaster struck, how could people have better prepared themselves, how did the affected population
cope with the disaster, what were successful (or unsuccessful) coping strategies. In order to achieve the project
goals, a software will be designed and implemented that can be used to enrich existing quantitative information
on disasters with qualitative experiences in the form of live cases narrated by survivors, and historic (multi)
media documentations such as texts, photographs and films on disasters. In order to make this information
usable, relevant meta data needs to be provided for each contribution, and the information needs to be
archived in an easy to use data base, that allows for an intuitive (visual) presentation of its inputs. In order to
assure that a critical amount of input is generated (and used) in all participating regions, an organizational
concept involving educational institutions like schools, and universities, as well as volunteer organizations, will
be developed and tested. The expected advantage of the proposed approach is that it will become clearer to
all stake holders what a disaster actually means for the everyday lives of the population. Instead of just relying
on disaster statistics, the impact of a potential disaster becomes audible and visible. Multimedia materials from
the system can be used to create exhibitions on the local relevance of disasters, which can be used to communicate existing risks to (younger) citizens, as well as politicians and other decision makers, such as
urban planners. An additional benefit will be that the information available can be used to support the
revitalization process of degraded or abandoned areas, so that lessons from past disasters can be learned and
planning mistakes of the past can be mitigated or avoided. Best practices based upon experiences with and
from nature can be identified and taken into consideration during the planning process.