Assessment of Vulnerability to Natural Hazards

Assessment of Vulnerability to Natural Hazards

A European Perspective

1st Edition - June 12, 2014

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  • Editors: Joern Birkmann, Stefan Kienberger, David Alexander
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780124105287
  • eBook ISBN: 9780124105485

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Assessment of Vulnerability to Natural Hazards covers the vulnerability of human and environmental systems to climate change and eight natural hazards: earthquakes, floods, landslides, avalanches, forest fires, drought, coastal erosion, and heat waves. This book is an important contribution to the field, clarifying terms and investigating the nature of vulnerability to hazards in general and in various specific European contexts. In addition, this book helps improve understanding of vulnerability and gives thorough methodologies for investigating situations in which people and their environments are vulnerable to hazards. With case studies taken from across Europe, the underlying theoretical frame is transferrable to other geographical contexts, making the content relevant worldwide.

Key Features

  • Provides a framework of theory and methodology designed to help researchers and practitioners understand the phenomenon of vulnerability to natural hazards and disasters and to climate change
  • Contains case studies that illustrate how to apply the methodology in different ways to diverse hazards in varied settings (rural, urban, coastal, mountain, and more)
  • Describes how to validate the results of methodology application in different situations and how to respond to the needs of diverse groups of stakeholders represented by the public and private sectors, civil society, researchers, and academics


Geoscientists, environmental scientists, natural hazard specialists, and social scientists. A secondary audience will include economists, public administrators, and representatives of private companies affected by hazards or with a stake in disaster risk reduction

Table of Contents

    • Vulnerability: a key determinant of risk and its importance for risk management and sustainability
    • Chapter 1. Theoretical and Conceptual Framework for the Assessment of Vulnerability to Natural Hazards and Climate Change in Europe
      • 1.1. Introduction
      • 1.2. Risk, Vulnerability, and Adaptation to Natural Hazards
      • 1.3. Multidimensional and Holistic Perspective: The MOVE Framework
      • 1.4. The Application: Criteria and Indicators
      • 1.5. Challenges and Outlook
    • Chapter 2. Holistic Evaluation of Seismic Risk in Barcelona
      • 2.1. Introduction
      • 2.2. Description of the City
      • 2.3. Local Seismic Hazard
      • 2.4. Methodology of Seismic Risk Assessment
      • 2.5. Holistic Risk Evaluation
      • 2.6. Evaluation of the Risk Management Performance
      • 2.7. Conclusions
    • Chapter 3. Spatial and Holistic Assessment of Social, Economic, and Environmental Vulnerability to Floods—Lessons from the Salzach River Basin, Austria
      • 3.1. Introduction and Background
      • 3.2. Assessing Vulnerability—from Concepts to Measurable and Meaningful Spatial Units
      • 3.3. Indicators for Multiple Vulnerability Dimensions
      • 3.4. Results
      • 3.5. Discussion
      • 3.6. Conclusions and Recommendations
    • Chapter 4. Vulnerability to Earthquakes and Floods of the Healthcare System in Florence, Italy
      • 4.1. Introduction and Background
      • 4.2. Material and Methods
      • 4.3. Results
      • 4.4. Conclusion
    • Chapter 5. Vulnerability Assessment to Heat Waves, Floods, and Earthquakes Using the MOVE Framework: Test Case Cologne, Germany
      • 5.1. Introduction
      • 5.2. Natural Hazards within the Study Area
      • 5.3. Vulnerability Assessment within Cologne: Methods
      • 5.4. Results
      • 5.5. Discussion and Conclusion
    • Chapter 6. Vulnerability to Drought and Heatwave in London: Revealing Institutionally Configured Risk
      • 6.1. Case Study Description
      • 6.2. Hazards
      • 6.3. Vulnerability Assessment Methods
      • 6.4. Indicators
      • 6.5. Results and Validation
      • 6.6. Discussion
      • 6.7. Conclusions and Recommendations
    • Chapter 7. Comprehensive Vulnerability Assessment of Forest Fires and Coastal Erosion: Evidences from Case-Study Analysis in Portugal
      • 7.1. Validation of the Vulnerability Framework: Methodological Questions
      • 7.2. Hazards Characterization
      • 7.3. Vulnerability Assessment Methods
      • 7.4. Indicators Description
      • 7.5. Results
      • 7.6. Discussion
      • 7.7. Conclusions and Recommendations
    • Chapter 8. Vulnerability to Heat Waves, Floods, and Landslides in Mountainous Terrain: Test Cases in South Tyrol
      • 8.1. Introduction
      • 8.2. Landslides
      • 8.3. Floods
      • 8.4. Heat Waves
      • 8.5. Conclusions and Recommendations
    • Chapter 9. Conclusion: Assessing Vulnerability in Europe and the World
      • 9.1. Redefining Concepts and Making Connections
      • 9.2. Bridging the Human–Physical Gap
      • 9.3. The Components of Vulnerability
      • 9.4. Valediction of the MOVE Framework
    • Index

Product details

  • No. of pages: 240
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Elsevier 2014
  • Published: June 12, 2014
  • Imprint: Elsevier
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780124105287
  • eBook ISBN: 9780124105485

About the Editors

Joern Birkmann

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Stuttgart, Pfaffenwaldring 7, 70569 Stuttgart, Germany

Stefan Kienberger

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Salzburg, Austria

David Alexander

Affiliations and Expertise

University College London, London, UK

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