Natural Hazards

, Volume 75, Issue 2, pp 1531–1554 | Cite as

Insights on social learning and collaborative action plan development for disaster risk reduction: practicing Yonmenkaigi System Method (YSM) in flood-prone Mumbai

  • Subhajyoti Samaddar
  • Junho Choi
  • Bijay Anand Misra
  • Hirokazu Tatano
Original Paper


Recent decades have seen an increasing recognition and consensus among researchers and planners in disaster management in the need to foster social learning through public participation, to promote deliberative interaction among stakeholders in order to work together build a relationship to attain a collective action. However, the current participatory methods in disaster management are limited to awareness building, when actual plan preparation is the prime concept yet to be looked at. Additionally, in most of the cases, the local government authorities initiate their disaster management program to community by inviting them to voice their opinions and concerns. The major impediments of such participatory programs are the community’s over-dependence on donors and governments (stakeholders) thus will consequently fail to give the community the sense of ownership of the problem. The challenge therefore is, putting the community in the driver’s seat instead of only inviting them for consultation on an existing plan about a predetermined issue. In this paper, a participatory workshop method called Yonmenkaigi System Method (YSM) has been employed as a method to integrate the community’s concerns and perspectives in the disaster management processes and to develop a collaborative action plan. The method was tested in a flood-prone slum community in Mumbai, India. In the first phase of the workshop, a SWOT analysis was executed to provide an opportunity for the participants to acknowledge each other’s prior concerns, perspectives, and views. In the succeeding phases, the method then provided a platform to carry out this awareness in order to create visions through the identification of critical elements of the plan called Yonmenkaigi Chart. Finally, the  sharing and debating of each other’s visions and perspectives to prepare an executable plan for improved disaster preparedness. This entire process helps the participant develop an action plan based on their prior abilities, strengths and capacities instead of depending heavily on supports from external sources.


Social learning Participatory approach Flood risks Mumbai India 



The authors would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions to improve the quality of the paper.


  1. Arnstein SR (1969) A ladder of citizen participation. J Am Inst Plan 35(4):216–224CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baan PJ, Klijn F (2004) Flood risk perception and implications for flood risk management in the Netherlands. Int J River Basin Manage 2(2):113–122CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bajek R, Matsuda Y, Okada N (2008) Japan’s Jishu bosai soshiki community activities: analysis of its role in participatory community disaster management. Nat Hazards 44(2):281–292CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bandura A (1977) Social learning theory. Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJGoogle Scholar
  5. Bhagat RB, Guha M, Chattopadhyay A (2006) Mumbai after 26/7 deluge: issues and concerns in urban planning. Popul Environ 27:337–349CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bohra AK, Basu S, Rajagopal EN, Iyengar GR, Das-Gupta M, Ashrit R, Athiyaman B (2006) Heavy rainfall episode over Mumbai on 26 July 2005: assessment of NWP guidance. Curr Sci 90:1188–1194Google Scholar
  7. Buckland J, Rahman M (1999) Community-based Disaster Management During the 1997 Red River Flood in Canada. Disasters. doi: 10.1111/1467-7717.00112 Google Scholar
  8. Census of India (2001) Office of the registrar general (ed) Government of IndiaGoogle Scholar
  9. Chatterjee M (2011) Flood loss redistribution in a third world megacity: the case of Mumbai. In: Brauch HG, Oswald SÚ, Mesjasz C, Grin J, Kameri Mbote P, Chourou B, Dunay P, Birkmann J (eds) Coping with global environmental change, disasters and security: threats, challenges, vulnerabilities and risks, series: Hexagon Series on Human and Environmental Security and Peace, vol 5Google Scholar
  10. Chen LC, Liu YC, Chan KC (2006) Integrated community based disaster management program in Taiwan: a case study of Shang an village. Nat Hazards 37:209–223CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chess C, Purcell K (1999) Public participation and the environment: do we know what works? Environ Sci Technol 33:2685–2692CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cronin SJ, Petterson MG, Taylor P, Biliki R (2004) Maximising multi stakeholder participation in government and community volcanic hazard management programs: a case study from Savo. Nat Hazards, Solomon Islands. doi: 10.1023/B:NHAZ.0000035021.09838.27 Google Scholar
  13. Cundill G, Rodela R (2012) A review of assertions about the processes and outcomes of social learning in natural resource management. J Environ Manage 113:7–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Government of Maharashtra (2006) Report of the Fact Finding Committee (FFC) on Mumbai Floods. Government of MaharashtraGoogle Scholar
  15. Gupta K (2007) Urban flood resiliency planning and management and lessons for the future: a case study of Mumbai. Urban Water J 4:183–194CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Habermas J (1984) The theory of communicative action, vol I: reasons and rationalization of society. Beacon Press, BostonGoogle Scholar
  17. Ikeda S, Sato T, Fukuzono T (2008) Towards an integrated management framework for emerging disaster risks in Japan. Nat Hazards 44:267–280CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Jamwal N (2007) Concern over Brihanmumbai storm water drains project, Down to Earth.
  19. King C, Jiggins J (2002) A systemic model and theory for facilitating social learning. Wheelbarrows full of frogs. Social learning in rural resource management. Koninklijke Van Gorcum, AasenGoogle Scholar
  20. Miles SB (2011) Participatory model assessment of earthquake-induced landslide hazard models. Nat Hazards 56:749–766CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Misra B, Shukla R (2012) Disaster risks management: Challenges and conflicts in twenty first century governance, mega city Mumbai. In: Sensarma SR, Sarkar A (eds) Disaster risk management: Conflict and cooperation. Concept Publishing Company Pvt. Ltd, New DelhiGoogle Scholar
  22. Muro M, Jeffrey P (2008) A critical review of the theory and application of social learning in participatory natural resource management processes. J Environ Plan Manage 51(3):325–344CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Na J, Okada N, Fang L (2009) A collaborative action development approach to improving community disaster reduction by the Yonmenkaigi workshop method. J Nat Disaster Sci 30:57–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Na J, Okada N, Fang L (2010) Collaborative action development for community disaster reduction by utilizing the Yonmenkaigi System Method. In: Proceedings of the IEEE international conference on system, man and cybernatics, San Antonio, Texas, pp 1929–1934Google Scholar
  25. National Disaster Management Authority (NIDM) Government of India (2014) National Disaster Management Guidelines—Community Based Disaster Management.
  26. Okada N, Matsuda Y (2005) Risk communication strategy for disaster preparedness viewed as multilateral knowledge development, 2005 IEEE international conference on systems, man, and cybernetics, Hawaii, pp 640–647Google Scholar
  27. Okada N, Na JI, Fang L, Teratani A (2013) The Yonmenkaigi System Method: an implementation oriented group decision support approach. Group Decis Negot 22(1):53–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Pahl-Wostl C (2006) The importance of social learning in restoring the multifunctionality of riversand floodplains. Ecol Soc 11(1):10Google Scholar
  29. Pahl-Wostl C, Hare M (2004) Processes of social learning in integrated resources management. J Commun Appl Soc Psychol 14(3):193–206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Parthasarathy D (2009) Social and environmental insecurities in Mumbai: towards a sociological perspective on vulnerability. S Afr Rev Sociol 40(1):109–126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Patt AG, Schröter D (2008) Perceptions of climate risk in Mozambique: implications for the success of adaptation strategies. Global Environ Chang 18:458–467CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Pearce L (2003) Disaster management and community planning, and public participation: how to achieve sustainable hazard mitigation. Nat Hazards 28:211–228CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Pelling M (2007) Learning from others: the scope and challenges for participatory disaster risk assessment. Disasters 31(4):373–385CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Raaijmakers R, Krywkow J, Van der Veen A (2008) Flood risk perceptions and spatial multi-criteria analysis: an exploratory research for hazard mitigation. Nat Hazards 46(3):307–322CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Renn O, Webler T, Rakel H, Dienel P, Johnson B (1993) Public participation in decision making: a three-step procedure. Pol Sci 26:189–214CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Rowe G, Frewer LJ (2000) Public participation methods: a framework for evaluation. Sci Technol Hum Val 25(1):3–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Samaddar S, Chatterjee R, Misra BA, Tatano H (2011) Identifying vulnerability pattern in a flood prone micro hotspot of Mumbai, India, 2nd international conference on environmental science and development, IPCBEE, vol 4, IACSIT Press, Singapore, pp 104–109Google Scholar
  38. Samaddar S, Chatterjee R, Misra BA, Tatano H (2012) Understanding community’s evacuation intention development process in a flood prone micro hotspot, Mumbai. J Integr Disaster Risks Manage 2:1–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Shaw R, Srinivas H, Sharma A (2009) Urban risk reduction: an Asian perspective. Springer, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Sjöberg L (2000) Factors in risk perception. Risk Anal 20(1):1–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Someshwar S, Conrad E, Bhatt M (2009) From reactive to proactive management of urban climate risks in Asia: Institutional challenges, scientific opportunities, World Bank Fifth Urban Research Symposium, Marseille, June, 1–17Google Scholar
  42. Stecko S, Barbar N (2007) Exposing vulnerabilities: Monsoon floods in Mumbai, India. Case study prepared for revisiting urban planning: global report on human settlements.
  43. Surjan A, Shaw R (2009) Enhancing disaster resilience through local environment management: case of Mumbai, India. Disaster Prev Manage 18:418–433CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Surjan A, Redkar S, Shaw R (2009) Chapter 17 community based urban risk reduction: case of Mumbai. In: Shaw R, Srinivas H, Sharma A (eds) Urban risk reduction: an Asian perspective. Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp 339–354Google Scholar
  45. Tanaka S, Okada N, Levy JK, Matsuda Y (2004) A field study on participatory management for community preparedness under large earthquake risk. In: Proceeding of 4th annual IIASA-DPRI meeting on integrated disaster risks management: challenges of implementation, JulyGoogle Scholar
  46. Tatano H, Samaddar S (2010) Flood risks reduction in livelihood risks: thoughts and insights from Mumbai, Annuals of Disaster Prevention Research Institute, Kyoto University, No. 53 B, 105–114Google Scholar
  47. Tran P, Shaw R (2007) Towards an integrated approach of disaster and environment management: a case study of Thua Thien Hue province. Central Viet Nam Environ Hazards. doi: 10.1016/j.envhaz.2007.03.001 Google Scholar
  48. Van der Veen RGW (2000) Learning natural resource management. In: Guijt L et al (eds) Deepening the basis of rural management. Proceedings of a workshop. ISNAR, The Hague, Netherlands, 16–18 FebruaryGoogle Scholar
  49. Vari A, Linnerooth-Bayer J, Ferencz Z (2003) Stakeholder views on flood risk management in Hungary’s Upper Tisza Basin. Risk Anal 23(3):585–600CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Webler T, Kastenholz H, Renn O (1995) Public participation in impact assessment: a social learning perspective. Environ Impact Assess Rev 15(5):443–463CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Yamori K (2009) Action research on disaster reduction education: building a “community of practice” through a gaming approach. J Nat Disaster Sci 30:83–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Yamori K (2011) The roles and tasks of implementation science on disaster prevention and reduction knowledge and technology: from efficient application to collaborative generation. J Integr Disaster Risks Manage 1(1):48–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Subhajyoti Samaddar
    • 1
  • Junho Choi
    • 1
  • Bijay Anand Misra
    • 2
  • Hirokazu Tatano
    • 1
  1. 1.Disaster Prevention Research InstituteKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan
  2. 2.School of Planning and ArchitectureNew DelhiIndia

Personalised recommendations