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Participatory action research: tools for disaster resilience education

Michelle Annette Meyer (Department of Sociology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA)
Marccus Hendricks (Department of Urban Studies and Planning Program, University of Maryland at College Park, College Park, Maryland, USA)
Galen D. Newman (Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA)
Jaimie Hicks Masterson (Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA)
John T. Cooper (Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA)
Garett Sansom (Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA)
Nasir Gharaibeh (Department of Civil Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA)
Jennifer Horney (Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA)
Philip Berke (Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA)
Shannon van Zandt (Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA)
Tiffany Cousins (Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA)

International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment

ISSN: 1759-5908

Article publication date: 2 October 2018

Issue publication date: 27 November 2018

624

Abstract

Purpose

Participatory action research can improve scientific knowledge and community capacity to address disaster resilience and environmental justice. Evidence from the literature suggests that resident participation enhances assessment of environmental risks, raises awareness and empowers residents to fight for equitable distribution of hazard and climate risk adaptations. Yet, risk assessment and urban planning processes still frequently operate within expertise-driven groups without significant community engagement. Such fragmentation results in part from a lack of appreciation for community expertise in built environment adaptations and educational tools to support resident involvement in the often technical built environment planning processes.

Design/methodology/approach

A participatory research and place-based education project was developed that enhanced co-learning between residents and researchers while collecting and analyzing local data on flood resilience in the built environment. Five research activities constitute the curriculum of resilience education on stormwater infrastructure: establishment of partnership agreement/memorandum of understanding, participatory GIS to identify flooding issues, water quality testing and health survey, stormwater infrastructure assessment and urban/landscape design. Partners included high school and college students, residents and environmental justice organizations.

Findings

Outcomes include a stakeholder-approved infrastructure assessment smartphone application, neighborhood maps of drainage issues, a report of water containments and neighborhood-scaled green infrastructure provisions and growth plans. Findings indicate that participatory research positively contributed to resilience knowledge of participants.

Originality/value

This paper outlines an interdisciplinary pedagogical strategy for resilience planning that engages residents to assess and monitor the performance of stormwater infrastructure and create resilience plans. The paper also discusses challenges and opportunities for similar participatory projects.

Keywords

Citation

Meyer, M.A., Hendricks, M., Newman, G.D., Masterson, J.H., Cooper, J.T., Sansom, G., Gharaibeh, N., Horney, J., Berke, P., van Zandt, S. and Cousins, T. (2020), "Participatory action research: tools for disaster resilience education", International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment, Vol. 9 No. 4/5, pp. 402-419. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJDRBE-02-2017-0015

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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