International Review for Spatial Planning and Sustainable Development
Online ISSN : 2187-3666
ISSN-L : 2187-3666
Assessing the Social and Economic Vulnerability of Urban Areas to Disasters: A case study in Beijing, China
Xiaolu GaoHaihong YuanWei QiShenghe Liu
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2014 Volume 2 Issue 1 Pages 42-62


For urban areas with complicated functions and facing rapidly increasing exposure to disaster risks, reducing vulnerability is the most effective way to alleviate damages and losses, which requires first and foremost precise assessment of the social and economic system’s vulnerability. Considering the strong variations of social and economic factors by location and convenience for emergency management, it is very important to take small blocks as the basic spatial unit for vulnerability assessment. However, thus far appropriate evaluation method at such scale is quite inadequate in terms of theoretical framework, data acquisition method and analytical model. Taking Haidian district in Beijing as an example, a set of models was developed to solve these problems. Day and night population estimation model, population vulnerability assessment model, economic scale model, and economic vulnerability assessment model were designed to assess the population and economic vulnerability of urban areas. Results of the case study in Beijing demonstrated the population and economic vulnerability of each block in the study area, and suggested a difference between daytime and night time. The hotpots of high vulnerability were also identified and the land use characteristics and function agglomeration of these areas were discussed. Clearly, these results provided an important base for making effective disaster prevention plan and emergency management.

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© 2014 SPSD Press.
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