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The use of Volunteered Georaphic Information (VGI) in urban flood resilience planning and management


Mahsa Moghadas, Theo Kötter, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

Due to the unsustainable development, institutional fragmentation, inadequate education, insufficient enforcement of laws and regulations and lack of community engagement over the last decades handling climate-change impacts become more complicated in Tehran, Iran. Therefore, adapting to the impacts of climate change needs to be supported by an integrated mechanism, in which the knowledge, instruments and inherent capacities of both the responsible actors and the citizens in risk management of climate-related extreme events are fastened for transformational adaptations.
With this background, important synergies between international frameworks, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR) have acknowledged, on one hand, the need to enhance countries’ preparedness for climate events by the development of climate-resilient infrastructure. On the other hand, it asserted the necessity to increase availability and accessibility of sufficiently consistent and comparable disaster-related data for enabling meaningful measurement of progress, as well as information exchange and coordination.
To meet this challenge, effective climate-change adaptation strategies should be developed based on utilizing current spatial as well as non-spatial data in all domains. Traditionally governmental organizations are responsible for collecting, disseminating and sharing geospatial data, however, access to accurate, reliable and timely data has been a major barrier to effective Disaster Risk Management (DRM) in Tehran, Iran. A transformational change in data capacity for DRM through a collaborative approach between institutions as well as interactive public participation is now a real possibility. Indeed, there is ample evidence that crowdsourcing knowledge and Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) are proven tools that can help overcome the challenge in access to timely and accurate data for DRM and have supported countries to expand their capacity to meaningfully monitor, measure and manage disaster risk and losses. According to Goodchild (2007), VGI is an opportunity for the creation and dissemination of important disaster-related geographic data suited to nearly real-time information from a network of volunteer observers, who are actively contributed in the mapping of spatial data. VGI, furthermore, creates an opportunity for citizens to actively contribute to public issues such as natural disasters, which requires time-critical geographic information, with their local knowledge. With this end in view, this research project intends to contribute debate on the role and added value of VGI in participatory resilience planning against flooding events in Tehran, Iran.

Moghadasa, M.; Asadzadeh, A.; Vafeidis A.; Fekete, A.; Kötter, T. (2019): A multi-criteria approach for assessing urban flood resilience in Tehran, Iran, International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, Volume 35, April 2019,