Natural Hazards

, Volume 74, Issue 2, pp 1209–1222 | Cite as

A multi-criteria evaluation model of earthquake vulnerability in Victoria, British Columbia

  • Blake Byron Walker
  • Cameron Taylor-Noonan
  • Alan Tabbernor
  • T’Brenn McKinnon
  • Harsimran Bal
  • Dan Bradley
  • Nadine Schuurman
  • John J. Clague
Original Paper


Researchers have recently examined the geographic variability of the vulnerability of populations to earthquakes. These studies focus mainly on the complex modelling of geophysical processes or identification of socio-economically disadvantaged populations. However, no studies to date have integrated different components of vulnerability with metrics of travel distance to hospitals and trauma centres (systemic vulnerability). We argue that this previously unaccounted component is an important conceptual and practical aspect of earthquake vulnerability. Accordingly, this paper presents a multi-criteria model for combining physical, social, and systemic components, moving towards a more comprehensive assessment of vulnerability. An analytic hierarchy process is used to produce a place-specific index of social vulnerability, which we combine with soil liquefaction and amplification index and a road network model for access to hospitals and trauma services. Using a geographic information system, we implemented this model for the Greater Victoria region (483 km2, 2011 population: 345,000) in British Columbia, Canada. Clustering of total vulnerability was found in outlying areas, highlighting the importance of access to trauma centres. We conclude by identifying challenges in measuring earthquake vulnerability and advocate integration of systemic vulnerability components in natural hazards research.


Earthquakes Risk Vulnerability Disaster response GIS Victoria British Columbia 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Fiona Lawson at the Vancouver Island Health Authority.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Blake Byron Walker
    • 1
  • Cameron Taylor-Noonan
    • 1
  • Alan Tabbernor
    • 1
  • T’Brenn McKinnon
    • 1
  • Harsimran Bal
    • 1
  • Dan Bradley
    • 1
  • Nadine Schuurman
    • 1
  • John J. Clague
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of GeographySimon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada
  2. 2.Department of Earth SciencesSimon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada

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