Volume 23 Issue 1, 2008

Weighing up the risks — the decision to purchase housing on a flood plain

Mhairi Vogt, Dr. Karen Willis, Dr. Joanna Vince

Peer-reviewed Article

Archived Article


This paper examines how residents living in a flood plain perceive risk. Sixty residents in Invermay/Inveresk in Launceston, Tasmania, were interviewed in a study conducted by Launceston City Council and the University of Tasmania to identify their level of worry, flood preparedness and risk communication strategies. In order to explore ideas of voluntary and involuntary risk, this paper analyses the views of those residents who were owners and/or renovators in the floodprone area. We argue that risk decision-making is a complex undertaking involving the consideration and weighing-up of a range of factors. In addition, we found that just as people may be viewed as ‘risk takers’, they are also ‘at risk’ and they see broader social factors such as development in the area as contributing to their risk.