Student researcher

Ben Ollington Research Leader

Considering global scientific and environmental knowledge, current planning and management approaches do not best facilitate resilient fire adapted landscapes and communities. With the anticipated increases in population and anthropogenic climate change, it appears that there is a critical need to identify and develop adaptive response in an attempt to reduce individual and community vulnerability to wildfires. In Victoria, Australia and indeed many other fire prone landscapes around the world, the economic and social impacts from bushfires are increasing particularly as these areas expand at the wildland urban interface (WUI). There is a need to investigate the integration of landscape design into broader urban planning measures in order to holistically address bushfire risk reduction. In a world faced with the increasing threat of climate change a landscape approach may also have the ability to provide multiple benefits to communities.

This research aims to develop an understanding of, and new approaches to, landscape design and planning in disaster risk reduction relating to bushfire. It will contribute to and integrate landscape specific measures into disaster risk reduction and urban planning, particularly in the case of bushfire in Victoria. To achieve this, the work will begin with an analysis of current policy and regulatory measures and determine their capacity for nature-based responses to risk reduction. Then, utilising emerging knowledge such as the idea of fire adapted communities the research will speculate on potential measures that could be incorporated into planning policy in order to build social and ecological resilience. This will be realised through a design response in a spatial location with the hope of applying the framework to different locations over time. Ultimately trade-offs will occur, and these will be explored to determine the practicability of findings and the ability for the findings to be developed into a model/scenario/recommendations to be utilised across different localities.