Appreciative Inquiry results: The Aulne in the heart of the valley and of the people

Among the actions carried out on the BRIC project's Aulne Valley pilot site in France, Cerema is experimenting with a social innovation tool to involve the local population.

Among the actions carried out on the BRIC project’s Aulne Valley pilot site in France, Cerema is experimenting with a social innovation tool to involve the local population.

Appreciative inquiry (AI) is an approach of organisational change developed in the 1980s in the United States. Generally,  change is initiated after identifying a problem which polarises the search for a solution. Focusing on the problem can lead to tension.

AI is based on the idea that change is facilitated when it is guided by a positive vision (assets, successes of an organisation). This stimulating approach would encourage the involvement of people in the long term.

In this project, our goal is to understand the positive vision people have of the Aulne Valley, in order to integrate these results into the way of thinking about flood risk management and awareness. In concrete terms, thanks to open questions, people are invited to talk freely about what they like around them and what could be improved.

They are then asked about their thoughts on climate change, flooding and whether they feel prepared to experience a flood event.

AI was carried out in Châteaulin (France) in December 2021. 39 passers-by, randomly questioned in the street, agreed to answer. Almost as many men (19) as women (20) were interviewed. The discussions took between two and 15 minutes.

This survey reveals that the Aulne is clearly the favourite feature of the area for most respondents. In terms of desired improvements, they mention first and foremost the need to facilitate traffic (car, public transport, soft transport). Secondly, they would like the Aulne to be enhanced (development of activities, respect of the environment).

Poorly placed constructions, human actions not adapted to the environment, insufficient political action, prevalence of vested interests are the main elements that stand out about climate change and flooding. Few of them think they are exposed to floods, but more than half express concern. They feel neither prepared nor aware of floods.

These results reinforce our motivation to organise a festival in the Aulne valley during the autumn of 2022: the idea is to bring the inhabitants together around the Aulne and its many facets: leisure, environment, flooding.

If you live in the Aulne valley and would like to follow or participate in the project, please write to us at bric@cerema.fr. All goodwill is welcome. See you soon!

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