The recent floods in the UK have captured the imagination of the media and general population. The relationship between flood events and the human population have undeniably been highlighted by the UK media in the last week, with BBC articles such as Why do people buy houses in places prone to flooding? clearly outlining the interactions between humans and the natural environment.
This article clearly outlines the ways in which humans relate to rivers before and during flood events. Much research has been conducted into the effects of flooding with the effects of flood events being felt and seen for many months afterwards. The BBC article, raise the point that whilst damp or a bit of subsidence may deter prospective home-buyers, living on a floodplain does not, the article then goes onto explore the reasons why.
Considering the physical processes at play during a flood has been considered in many contexts by Geographers. Tadaki et al.’s (2012) recent paper ‘Nature, culture, and the work of physical geography’ in Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers discusses the implications of a cultural turn in physical geography. This paper makes thought-provoking points and concludes by stating ‘(it is about) realising all physical geography is applied and that all physical geography is relevant. It is the questions of ‘applied to what?’ and ‘relevant to whom?’ which need to be considered more carefully’ (Tadaki et al., 2012: 560)
It was intriguing to read this paper alongside the daily news articles which were being released. Tadaki et al. raise important questions about the cultural considerations and implications of research which involve the physical environment. Recent flood events prove the significance of research but also lead to enquiries as to how research is interpreted by the public and what knowledge is relevant with one resident in Barford’s article feeling that the ‘inconvenience’ of a flood every few years was worth it to live in such an attractive and convenient location.
Tadaki, M., Salmon, J., Le Heron, R. and Brierley, G. (2012) Nature, culture, and the work of physical geography Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 37 (4) 547-562
Why do people buy houses in places prone to flooding? BBC News 29th November 2012