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Value-based scenario planning: exploring multifaceted values in natural disaster planning and management

Andrea Rawluk, School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences, University of Melbourne
Rebecca M Ford, School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences, University of Melbourne
Kathryn J. H. Williams, School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences, University of Melbourne


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The multifaceted dynamics of values underpin many social-ecological challenges, but there are limited approaches for grappling with them. Participatory scenario planning can be a useful tool to explore and evaluate different approaches in natural disaster management. We developed value-based scenario planning as a general framework and process and applied it to the context of bushfire management in Victoria, Australia. From our application, three scenarios resulted: developing self-reliant people and communities; a safe society: separating people and fuel; and living with nature and bushfire. We found that values could guide the development of relatable scenarios and that value-based scenarios supported the understanding of complex relationships between abstract and concrete values and natural disaster management and planning. We found that scenarios led people to think outside of their area of comfort and fostered reflection, discussion, and consideration for how to bridge value differences. Future applications of value-based scenarios could support communication between decision-making agencies and the public in the face of uncertainty, complexity, and value conflict.

Key words

bushfire; participation; participatory scenario planning; value-based scenarios; values; value tensions

Copyright © 2018 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087