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Title: Scale issues in local vulnerability assessment: implications in risk and urban planning
Authors: Santos, P.
Tavares, A.
Freire, P.
Rilo, Ana
Keywords: Flood hazard;Vulnerability;Multiscale;Risk management
Issue Date: Jul-2016
Publisher: CERU – European Centre on Urban Risks  
Abstract: The assessment of vulnerability provides valuable knowledge in the risk assessment steps of a risk governance process. Given the multiscale, multilevel and multisectorial aspects of flood risk, the diversified entities that directly and indirectly intervene in risk management require specific outputs from the assessment studies. Vulnerability assessment methodologies should, therefore, produce the most adequate information considering their final end-users. Urban areas in estuarine margins are particularly exposed and vulnerable to flooding due to the high dynamics of such natural and human systems. That interface conditions are found in the Old City Centre of the Seixal municipality, located in the left margin of the Tagus River, near Lisbon (Portugal). In this study area two distinct methodologies were applied for the assessment of territorial vulnerability to estuarine flooding. After a description of the assessment procedures results are presented, compared and discussed. A first, lower-scale, methodology explores the application of the statistical procedure based on the SoVI® at the statistical block level. The second, higher-scale, methodology is based in data collected through field matrices at the building and statistical sub-block level. The comparison of both vulnerability classifications revealed that the lower-scale vulnerability assessment provides information with the ability to identify vulnerability drivers at the regional and municipal level. Nevertheless, only at a higher-scale it is possible to characterize and differentiate the smaller units of analysis that compose the Old City Centre of Seixal. It is argued that the most efficient implementation of local flood risk management strategies in the study area – such as urban planning, risk communication and early warning systems –, would better be achieved considering the local higher-scale vulnerability data.
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