Perception of landslides risk and responsibility: a case study in eastern Styria, Austria.

Publication from Life
Wetter- und Klimarisikomanagement

Damm A., Eberhard K., Sendzimir J., Patt A.

Natural Hazards 69, 165–183 , 10/2013


This paper presents a case study about the perception of landslide risk. Following a major set of landslides in the eastern part of Austria in June 2009, we surveyed local experts, residents who had suffered losses from the landslides, and others living in the affected communities. Overall, the risk perception was significantly higher among those who had been personally affected by a landslide, had knowledge of the geology in the study region, had been affected by another natural hazard, or spent a lot of time outdoors and in touch with nature. Non-experts viewed natural factors as the main causes for the occurrence of landslides, while experts viewed anthropogenic factors as more important. Likewise, non-experts placed a greater emphasis on hard measures (such as retaining walls) to reduce the risk, whereas the experts tended to focus on better information and land-use planning. In terms of responsibility for mitigative actions, a majority of inhabitants believed that public authorities should undertake most of the costs, whereby those who had personal experience with landslides were more likely to favor the government paying for it.

Keywords: Risk perception, Landslides, Natural hazards, Risk communication