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Enabling Communities - Designing for Bushfire Preparedness


Dr Yoko Akama

Project partners:
Bushfire Co-operative Research Centre (CRC)
Centre for Sustainable Organisations and Works, RMIT University
Australian Emergency Management Institute
Climate Wise Community Project, Ku-ring-gai Council
Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council and Volunteering Queensland

Enabling communities places the community at the heart of the design process, assisting them to develop their own strategies to collectively prepare for fire. It has generated and delivered a human-centred approach to raising risk awareness through facilitated dialogue. The project is a partnership among emergency agencies, community organisations, residents and RMIT researchers.

Enabling Communities emphasises that everyone is creative and have latent potential to generate alternative solutions. I see that the designer’s role is not to problem-solve on behalf of people, but to amplify their latent ability by catalysing and scaffolding change, and enabling the process to grow and evolve by inviting people’s participation in it.

Through this Bushfire CRC research, the findings and the design-led methodology have been incorporated in the Community and Emergency Management Course, a training program offered by the Australian Emergency Management Institute since 2011, ensuring that its impact and outcome is not only significant, but also on-going.

For outputs related to this research, please go to Yoko Akama’s publication page.