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The participatory construction of a seismic scenario for Weinan city: A pilot action research to address the improvement of earthquake disaster risk reduction in China参与式渭南地震情景构建: 中国地震风险对策的行动研究示范

Lookup NU author(s): Dr David Milledge


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© 2020, Editorial Office of Seismology and Geology. All right reserved.Earthquake disaster reduction approach in China is essentially top-down, which is highly effective in mobilizing large-scale disaster reduction activities. However, the overall resilience of a society to earthquake also heavily depends on actions from various bottom-up components/actors(e.g., family, community), pointing to the strong need for a governance model that integrates the existing top-down approach with broad bottom-up engagement of grass-roots and the public. To accumulate research evidences for developing that governance, the overall objective of the work of creating a seismic scenario for Weinan City, Shaanxi Province, China(the Weinan scenario work, in short), was thus planned to address in particular the following two major gaps in earthquake disaster risk reduction in China: (i)between top-down and bottom-up earthquake disaster risk reduction(DRR)approaches, with a particular emphasis on the weak bottom-up aspect, and(ii)between science and earthquake DRR policies and practices, especially the insufficiency in the research and associated applications relevant to various bottom-up components/actors. Using the paradigm of trans-disciplinary, participatory action research, the Weinan scenario work delivered this objective through direct interactions and close collaborations between two different groups of people: multi-disciplinary UK-USA-China collaboration research team and various local DRR practitioners and other stakeholders. The overall progresses include: 1)Using pan-participatory methodology, the two groups worked closely together to co-identify earthquake risk, co-explore pathways to risk reduction and resilience building, and so on, which ensured the reliability of the scenario results and the local context-appropriateness and then applicability of the scenario work's DRR recommendations; meanwhile, with action research process, the two groups realized synchronous interactions and seamless connections between the three large aspects in risk science of risk assessment, risk communication, and risk reduction practice improvement, which have often been conducted separately, thereby resulted in a kind of direct, immediate, and in-situ/on-site "science research into policies and practices"; 2)By serving both governments and bottom-up actors, and by looking at earthquake DRR issues from multi-scale point of view, the two groups co-addressed how to improve both top-down and bottom-up earthquake DRR policies and practices. Especially, zooming in on community-based disaster risk reduction(CBDRR), school-based DRR, family-based DRR, and broad disaster reduction education-the broadest and most sustainable linkages between top-down approach and bottom-up pathway to earthquake DRR, a large scale of specialized surveys and other relevant investigations were conducted, a series of current baselines and future improvement directions were identified; 3)Focusing on bettering disaster reduction education and improving long-term risk communication, the two groups co-created two versions of storytelling-led and latest science-grounded scenario narratives that are different in both contents and presentation styles/formats: one for government officials, the other for the general public. By constructing the plot of the story to properly highlight the key earthquake risk problems facing Weinan, we hope non-technical readers can easily understand research findings and better follow DRR recommendations provided, further facilitating "science into policies and practices"; by unfolding and illustrating the disaster-amplification or superimposing effects produced by a distinct local vulnerable social element-poor rural family with left-behind children, we hope readers can understand earthquake risk as deeply and comprehensively as possible from multi-perspectives; by incorporating elements of sensibility, emotion, humanity, and artistic appeal into rational but often "dry" sciences, we hope to help intensify resonance, build consensus, inspire emotion, improve DRR attitudes, foster DRR values, and then motivate DRR action and participation; and most importantly to inspire long-lasting learning, reflection, and action improvement among local population-the most direct, fundamental, and broad actors for reducing local earthquake disaster risk. The participatory action research-guided Weinan scenario work has the utility of "throwing out a brick to attract a jade" for China's earthquake DRR field, it also provides the international similar studies with valuable experience and implications from China context.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Su G-W, Rodgers J, Tian Q, Qi W-H, England P, Sim T, Young J, Wang D-M, Li Z-Q, Feng X-J, Sun L, Chen K, So E, Parsons B, Zhao J-L, Shi J-L, Yuan Z-X, Yue C, Zhou Q, Wei B-Y, Milledge D, Densmore A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Dizhen Dizhi

Year: 2020

Volume: 42

Issue: 6

Pages: 1446-1473

Online publication date: 01/12/2020

Acceptance date: 02/04/2018

ISSN (print): 0253-4967

Publisher: State Seismology Administration


DOI: 10.3969/j.issn.0253-4967.2020.06.012


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