Spatial planning to promote settlements’ resilience to bushfires
AffiliationArchitecture, Building and Planning
Document TypePhD thesis
Access StatusThis item is embargoed and will be available on 2023-03-16.
© 2020 Maria Constanza Gonzalez Mathiesen
Bushfire hazards can pose significant risks at bushfire-prone urban-rural interfaces and peri-urban areas, highlighting the need to manage bushfire risk in relation to settlements’ planning and governance. Settlements’ resilience to bushfires can be purposively facilitated by the development and application of bushfire risk management knowledge. Spatial planning has the potential to support learning about and acting upon changing conditions and new bushfire information to promote settlements’ resilience to bushfires. However, the translation of new bushfire knowledge into meaningful spatial planning practices has been limited and spatial planning systems often struggle to integrate bushfire risk management. Thus, this research aims to contribute to understandings of spatial planning ability to improve its practices by identifying, reframing, and putting into action new considerations about bushfire risk management to promote settlements’ resilience to bushfires. This research used an inductive qualitative research approach employing two case studies: the spatial planning systems of Chile and Victoria (Australia). Qualitative data was collected from documentation, archival records, and semi-structured interviews. The data was analysed using time-series analysis, qualitative content analysis, and cross-case synthesis techniques. The research was divided into four stages, two stages correspond to the individual case study analysis and the remaining two to cross-case synthesis and discussion. The research concludes that the Chilean and Victorian spatial planning systems are still constrained in their promotion of settlements’ resilience to bushfires due to internal and external complexities that frame and limit their ability for bushfire risk management. In Chile, there have been several mostly unsuccessful attempts to integrate bushfire considerations into the spatial planning system, thus the current system only outlines spatial planning mechanisms for bushfire risk management generically and inapplicably. In Victoria, the spatial planning system has partially and progressively improved its ways for dealing with bushfires, however, the current system still considers bushfire risk management partially and sometimes ambiguously. In practice, this implies that both spatial planning systems are sometimes allowing and even promoting settlements patterns that perpetuate bushfire risks. Based on a cross-case synthesis, the research concludes that spatial planning instruments that comprehensively address bushfires are necessary, suggesting an integrated approach that undertakes bushfire risk management at the strategic, tactical, and operational levels of planning mechanisms and processes. This approach establishes the instruments’ role in bushfire risk management and other factors that provide directions for improving their ability to promote settlements’ resilience to bushfire. Furthermore, the research also concludes that reflexive processes are not always conducive to the development and improvement of spatial planning systems for bushfire risk management, due to the variance of willingness, understanding, and capacity issues within the system and in the wider context. Accordingly, thesis propositions about the barriers and facilitators that influence spatial planning progressing from the identification, to the reframing and implementation of change about bushfire risk management were suggested.
Keywordsspatial planning; urban planning; bushfire; wildfire; resilience; disaster risk management; disaster risk reduction
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