Open Spaces and Risk Perception in Post-Earthquake Kathmandu city Abstract Perceptions of seismic risks, among other factors, are influenced by urban environments. This relationship is investigated in this paper, in relation to open spaces. A comparative study of two communities in Kathmandu, Nepal with the context of 2015 earthquake was conducted using data gathered from household surveys and expert interviews. Escape behaviour in relation to open spaces was examined by analysing the correlation with a risk perception index (RPI) which is a novel approach in seismic risk perception studies. Additionally, point density analysis of surveyed houses and visualization of escape routes and destination followed by the respondents offer insights into the spatial relationship with perceived risk. Furthermore, expert interviews were used to validate the findings and highlight the important relationship between perceived risks and open spaces. The findings suggest that open spaces are a key component of disaster response as they are safe locations and offer spaces for community that enables mutual coping among its members. As such it directly or indirectly affect people's perception of seismic risk. It was found that medium sized communal spaces are preferred within a distance of 200m as immediate safe destinations. The choices for such spaces are dependent on the built environment of the site given by its layout, landmarks, building density and building height. The choices of open spaces as shelter locations are influenced by duration of stay such as availability of drinking water, public lavatory and electricity are crucial for short term stay where as ownership and economic capabilities are vital for long term stay.
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