Inspiring community action for stormwater management

Stormwater management requires not only technical solutions like the design and installation of stormwater infrastructure, but also the commitment and action of people—residents, landowners, property managers, business owners and local policy makers. Past research has identified several barriers to engagement in clean water programs and stormwater management in particular, including limited human-water connections both physically and psychologically, the lack of cultural relevance in conventional water programs/projects, and not surprisingly, resources such as time and money. Community-centered water programming requires an understanding of community capacities and constraints to engagement, as well as key determinants for action including what inspires community members and what social networks or community organizations are most influential. We aim to: 

  1. Assess the capacity of municipalities across Minnesota to engage their communities in stormwater management.
  2. Examine what motivates residents, including racially and ethnically diverse residents in Minnesota metropolitan areas, to engage in community issues such as stormwater management.
  3. Explore the roles community-based organizations and local government officials play in inspiring community action for stormwater management.

We will achieve these objectives through four activities:

  • Online survey of local government staff
  • Mail survey of Minnesota residents
  • Onsite survey with racially and ethnically diverse community members
  • Focus groups with community-based organizations and local government staff

Project findings will inform stormwater management and planning across Minnesota. Expected outcomes of this project includes a comprehensive, social-science based framework of drivers and constraints to community action related to stormwater management.

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