977   Insight talk

Integrating new technology and local practice in designing a communication tool

Author: M.E. Rottink
Technical University of Delft, Netherlands

Climate change is one of the biggest issues of the 21st century and impacts different parts of the world to a different extent. Developing countries are especially vulnerable and need help to increase their adaptive capacity to better cope, adapt or recover from different natural hazards.

São Tomé is a small island in front of Gabon, with an increasing risk of coastal flooding. It is important for the local coastal community to know how high the water is going to be in case of an imminent flooding, so that all parties can take appropriate action. In order to achieve this, first a model is required to calculate how high the water will get. In addition, the different parties involved must be able to receive all relevant information in time and to interpret it properly.

The research has focused both on the technical and the communication aspect of coastal flooding. A new hydraulic model was developed that can be used to calculate the expected flood extent and height linked to forecasts for the coming days. In addition, the social system for the island of São Tomé has been mapped out using a newly developed method. This resulted in an overview of the different parties involved in coastal flood events, their information needs and expertise, and the communication means they have available. This overview was subsequently used to design a visual communication tool, based on the hydraulic model, in which relevant data is immediately available to the different parties.

By integrating technical innovation and communication design, a tool was made that can be incorporated into the daily practice of São Tomé and increases its adaptive capacity to coastal flood events. 

Co-author: Caroline Wehrmann
Technical University of Delft, Netherlands

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