Articles | Volume 10, issue 7
16 Jul 2010
 | 16 Jul 2010

A model for assessing the systemic vulnerability in landslide prone areas

S. Pascale, F. Sdao, and A. Sole

Abstract. The objectives of spatial planning should include the definition and assessment of possible mitigation strategies regarding the effects of natural hazards on the surrounding territory. Unfortunately, however, there is often a lack of adequate tools to provide necessary support to the local bodies responsible for land management. This paper deals with the conception, the development and the validation of an integrated numerical model for assessing systemic vulnerability in complex and urbanized landslide-prone areas. The proposed model considers this vulnerability not as a characteristic of a particular element at risk, but as a peculiarity of a complex territorial system, in which the elements are reciprocally linked in a functional way. It is an index of the tendency of a given territorial element to suffer damage (usually of a functional kind) due to its interconnections with other elements of the same territorial system. The innovative nature of this work also lies in the formalization of a procedure based on a network of influences for an adequate assessment of such "systemic" vulnerability.

This approach can be used to obtain information which is useful, in any given situation of a territory hit by a landslide event, for the identification of the element which has suffered the most functional damage, ie the most "critical" element and the element which has the greatest repercussions on other elements of the system and thus a "decisive" role in the management of the emergency.

This model was developed within a GIS system through the following phases:

1. the topological characterization of the territorial system studied and the assessment of the scenarios in terms of spatial landslide hazard. A statistical method, based on neural networks was proposed for the assessment of landslide hazard;

2. the analysis of the direct consequences of a scenario event on the system;

3. the definition of the assessment model of systemic vulnerability in landslide-prone areas.

To highlight the potentialities of the proposed approach we have described a specific case study of landslide hazard in the local council area of Potenza.