A systemic approach for the analysis of infrastructure-specific social vulnerability

  • chair:

    Atzl, A. und S. Keller

  • place:

    Cutter, S.L. and C. Corendea (eds.): From Social Vulnerability to Resilience: Measuring Progress toward Disaster Risk Reduction. UNU-SOURCE No. 17/2013. Bonn: United Nations University - Institute for Environment and Human Security. pp. 27-43

  • Date: 2013

Abstract

Hurricane Sandy that hit that hit the US east coast at the end of October 2012 has provided practical proof of the vulnerability of societies to infrastructure failures induced by natural hazards. This paper addresses this issue by introducing a new systemic framework for the analysis of critical infrastructure and its linkages to the social and natural environment. The paper reviews existing concepts of social vulnerability and classifies their indicators. It illustrates that empirical studies either measure latent social vulnerability or hazard-specific social vulnerability, whereas regulation and planning institutions are in need of indicators for infrastructure-specific social vulnerability. The authors approach infrastructure-specific vulnerability by combining existing concepts of infrastructure criticality and social vulnerability. The conceptualisation of infrastructure-related vulnerability allows planners to benchmark and assess the availability of critical infrastructure against the actual needs of society. The approach is one component of the larger systemic framework for infrastructure vulnerability assessment which is developed by the authors for application in the Stuttgart Region/southwest Germany.