Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Be (and have) good neighbours! Factors of vulnerability in the case of multiple hazards

Pagliacci, Francesco and Russo, Margherita (2018): Be (and have) good neighbours! Factors of vulnerability in the case of multiple hazards. Published in: Ecological Indicators , Vol. 111, No. April (2020): pp. 1-10.


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For any given territory, disaster risk is a function of hazard, exposure and vulnerability. The conceptual frameworks for these dimensions are largely debated in the scientific studies, focusing on spatial and temporal references and on system perspective of risk assessment. Despite broad in their scope, the analytical frameworks proposed to analyse policy programmes to reduce risk generally miss that risk indicators should be grounded on geographical and spatial features of the neighbouring territories and not only on communities' behaviour, and their resilience, as the paradigmatic solution in front of system events in areas prone to natural multi-hazard. The definition of "community" and of "neighbourhood" that are relevant for risk assessment cannot be simply defined in terms of absolute size of population or economic activity of individual local units under analysis or of the formal aggregation provided by jurisdictional agreements on specific functions. The paper presents an empirical analysis on spatially-lagged data in Italy, which was massively hit by adverse natural events in the last decade. It suggests to focus on social and material vulnerability, by using the comprehensive indicator at municipality level elaborated by the Italian Institute of Statistics. At the municipality-level, the analysis shows a positive correlation between multi-hazards, on the one hand, and spatially-lagged exposure and vulnerability, on the other. Thus, conditions in neighbouring municipalities would matter in prioritizing policy interventions aiming at mitigating hazard impacts, reducing vulnerability and enhancing communities' resilience. The definition of significant neighbouring spaces opens to a conceptualization of vulnerability grounded on a relational perspective in the creation of collective goods. This could enhance more effective Disaster Risk Reduction programmes.

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