Perceptions at the interface: Qualitative GIS for understanding bushfire hazard and amenity (17043)
This paper reports on a project exploring residents’ amenity preferences and property-based vegetation management activities in the context of bushfire management. Drawing on fieldwork undertaken with landholders at the WUI in the Blue Mountains on Sydney’s outskirts and Wamboin on the NSW/ACT boarder, our approach discussed landholders’ values relating to vegetation, landscape and fire, but grounded these conversations through the use of a tablet-based mapping exercise. By including a digital property map in the interview, we hoped to reveal the interplay between amenity considerations and preparing for bushfire, whilst simultaneously generating mappable data for later analysis and visualisation.
Our interviews yielded rich accounts of a variety of vegetation management approaches. Subsequent GIS analysis further revealed the complexities evident in decisions made by residents at 20 and 100 metre distance intervals from their homes – spatial decisions tempered by unique combinations of a range of physical, cultural, economic and historical factors. A qualitative GIS approach offered an analytical frame for understanding the idiosyncrasies of property management, allowing us to gain insight into where compatibilities and frictions between aesthetic concerns and vegetation management for hazard reduction play out.