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Multi-criteria vulnerability analysis to earthquake hazard of Bucharest, Romania

Abstract

The expansive infrastructure, along with the high population density, makes cities highly vulnerable to the severe impacts of natural hazards. In the context of an explosive increase in value of the damage caused by natural disasters, the need for evaluating and visualizing the vulnerability of urban areas becomes a necessity in helping practitioners and stakeholders in their decision-making processes. The paper presented is a piece of exploratory research. The overall aim is to develop a spatial vulnerability approach to address earthquake risk, using a semi-quantitative model. The model uses the analytical framework of a spatial GIS-based multi-criteria analysis. For this approach, we have chosen Bucharest, the capital city of Romania, based on its high vulnerability to earthquakes due to a rapid urban growth and the advanced state of decay of the buildings (most of the building stock were built between 1940 and 1977). The spatial result reveals a circular pattern, pinpointing as hot spots the Bucharest historic centre (located on a meadow and river terrace, and with aged building stock) and peripheral areas (isolated from the emergency centers and defined by precarious social and economic conditions). In a sustainable development perspective, the example of Bucharest shows how spatial patterns shape the “vulnerability profile” of the city, based on which decision makers could develop proper prediction and mitigation strategies and enhance the resilience of cities against the risks resulting from the earthquake hazard.

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Acknowledgments

This study was possible through the CNMP-PN II project HERA (Contract No.: 31005/2007), having Prof. Dr. Iuliana Armaş as PI. The author would like to thank student Silvia Dumitraşcu for her contribution to this study.

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Armaş, I. Multi-criteria vulnerability analysis to earthquake hazard of Bucharest, Romania. Nat Hazards 63, 1129–1156 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11069-012-0209-2

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Keywords

  • Urban area
  • Earthquakes
  • Indicators
  • Vulnerability
  • Capacity
  • Spatial multi-criteria analysis