Local knowledge in empowerment processes


The valorisation of the existence and the relevance of "local knowledge" on hazards/disasters affecting a specific area, i.e. the recognition of the existence of "popular information" in a given territory, has to be taken into consideration. This issue has been identified as an empowering factor outside Europe, in particular in the contexts where local authorities and civil defence systems are weak. In Europe, this factor is considered in the cases related to the Citizens' Observatories (WeSenSeit and Citi-Sense projects) but on a very partial way: citizens can be environmental sensors (and therefore acquire a knowledge), but are not considered yet as depositories of local knowledge: Conversely, as already stated, a paternalistic approach can be adopted (as it happens in the Citizen Observatory in Delft-NL), even consider the "local knowledge" as an obstacle for the management of disasters/risks (the already mentioned case of the Czech Republic regional floods. In these cases, of course, the recognition of local knowledge does not be considered as a facilitating factor for people empowerment.

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