Hurricane risk perceptions among Florida's single family homeowners

Walter Gillis Peacock, Samuel David Brody, Wes Highfield
2005 Landscape and Urban Planning  
Hurricanes and associated storm damage remain a constant threat to the health, safety, and welfare of residents in Florida. Hurricane risk perception has been found to be an important predictor of storm preparation, evacuation, and hazard adjustment undertaken by households, such as shutter usage. Planners and policy makers often employ expert risk analysis to justify hazard mitigation policies, yet expert and lay risk assessments do not always agree. Because the public is increasingly involved
more » ... in planning and policy decision-making, consistency between "expert" risk assessments and lay perceptions of risk are important for policy legitimization and compliance. This article examines factors contributing to hurricane risk perceptions of single-family homeowners in Florida. Utilizing data from a statewide survey, we first map and spatially analyze risk perceptions throughout Florida. Second, we examine the influence of location on shaping homeowner perceptions along with other factors, such as knowledge of hurricanes, previous hurricane experience, and socio-economic and demographic characteristics. The findings suggest there is a good deal of consistency between residing in locations identified by experts as being high hurricane wind risk areas and homeowner risk perceptions. Finally, we discuss the implications of these findings for land use and hazards planning. (W.G. Peacock). hazard risk in a manner consistent with sustainable development (Mileti, 1999). Land use planning policies and tools can be an important element in sustainable community development; however, the public must support these plans and policies for them to be effectively implemented. Public perception of risk is an important predictor of how citizens will prepare for and respond to hazard threats. Furthermore, because the public is increasingly involved in planning and policy decision-making, perceptions of risk can influence the content of hazard mitigation programs and
doi:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2004.11.004 fatcat:nfk3qgebhjexbltdqrxei64yc4