Shared responsibility and social vulnerability in the 2011 Brisbane flood

Pamela Box*, Deanne Bird, Katharine Haynes, David King

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


In January 2011, Brisbane, Australia, experienced its first significant flooding in almost four decades. This paper presents the results of a questionnaire conducted in four affected inner western suburbs 7 months after the flood. These locations were specifically chosen as the residents within these communities come from a range of demographic, social, and economic backgrounds. The research utilised a mixed methods approach involving a quantitative questionnaire and qualitative interviews. This paper examines residents’ experience of the flood, their thoughts on risk reduction and insurance, what factors helped or hindered response and adaptation to flood risk, and how to articulate shared responsibility for reducing flood risk. Assessing gender, age, income, and previous flood experience, it finds that those with previous flood experience were more likely to have flood insurance but less likely to have taken precautions to prepare for the flood. While almost three-quarters of respondents said they were aware of the flood risk when they moved to the area, they were nonetheless surprised by and largely unprepared for the 2011 flood. The implications of these findings for future flood risk reduction are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1549-1568
Number of pages20
JournalNatural Hazards
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


  • adaptation
  • risk reduction
  • flood hazard
  • disaster


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