Natural infrastructure represents an important alternative to traditional forms of infrastructure such as sea walls and levees. However, infrastructure managers are often influenced by perceived risks, including societal expectations and legal exposure, when considering nature-based solutions. Increasing the acceptance of nature-based solutions requires a better understanding of how risk perception factors into infrastructure decision making.
We aim to identify opportunities to increase adoption of natural infrastructures by understanding how risk perception factors into larger concepts of public infrastructure, risk management, infrastructure design, and governance.
We plan to carry out three studies. The first will examine how social contracts between governments and citizens relating to environmental risks and benefits have evolved over time and will continue to evolve with a changing climate. This study will also examine how social contracts may change when nature-based solutions are implemented. The second study will analyze how the risk perceptions of designers and managers influence their understanding and acceptance of nature-based approaches. The final study will identify statutory and regulatory limitations related to legal risks for natural infrastructures and assess opportunities to overcome these barriers.
We will share our study findings with the broader community via white papers and journal articles.