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Insurance, fire and the peri-urban: perceptions of changing communities in Melbourne’s rural-urban interface


Young, T and Lucas, CH and Booth, K, Insurance, fire and the peri-urban: perceptions of changing communities in Melbourne's rural-urban interface, Australian Geographer, 53, (1) pp. 41-60. ISSN 0004-9182 (2022) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2022 Geographical Society of New South Wales Inc.

DOI: doi:10.1080/00049182.2022.2052238


Across the world, cities are growing, blurring lines between urban and rural. In Australia, peri-urban areas are undergoing demographic shifts and extensive development. In the literature, these shifts are characterised by differences in the risk perceptions and hazard experiences between established and incoming residents. In this paper, we illustrate how some of these differences are perceived by focusing on house and contents insurance in the bushfire-prone City of Whittlesea on the fringes of Greater Melbourne. This location captures the complex relationship between growing population and high bushfire risk, and is the site of the country’s deadliest bushfire event, Black Saturday, in 2009. Through in-depth interviews, we observe that residents perceive insurance as playing a role in peri-urban change. Specifically, underinsurance is understood to be a challenge faced by many impacted by the Black Saturday fires, and contributes to feelings of uncertainty regarding the capacities of changing communities to work together to prepare for and recover from future fires. Our focus on insurance is informed by the need to better understand the social qualities of this dimension of disaster preparedness and recovery, and how perceptions of insurance amid peri-urban change may help produce social patterns and trends.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:bushfire, insurance, place, peri-urban, rural-urban interface, Melbourne
Research Division:Built Environment and Design
Research Group:Urban and regional planning
Research Field:Urban and regional planning not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Adaptation to climate change
Objective Field:Social impacts of climate change and variability
UTAS Author:Lucas, CH (Dr Chloe Lucas)
UTAS Author:Booth, K (Associate Professor Kate Booth)
ID Code:149403
Year Published:2022
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (DP170100096)
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:Geography and Spatial Science
Deposited On:2022-03-29
Last Modified:2022-12-12

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