Articles | Volume 12, issue 9
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 12, 2731–2741, 2012
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 12, 2731–2741, 2012

Research article 03 Sep 2012

Research article | 03 Sep 2012

Urban modelling for seismic prone areas: the case study of Vila Franca do Campo (Azores Archipelago, Portugal)

V. N. Martins1, P. Cabral2, and D. Sousa e Silva3 V. N. Martins et al.
  • 1Centro de Estudos Sociais da Universidade dos Açores, Ponta Delgada, Portugal
  • 2Instituto Superior de Estatística e Gestão de Informação, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal
  • 3Núcleo de Ecologia Social do Laboratório Nacional de Engenharia Civil, Lisboa, Portugal

Abstract. Seismic risk mitigation comprises of land-use planning policies that enable risk reduction in areas exposed to earthquakes. Thus, the assessment of land-use plans regarding urban growth in seismic prone areas is very important. This article analyses the urban expansion of Vila Franca do Campo (island of S. Miguel, Azores, Portugal) from 1994 to 2005 based on ortophotomaps interpretations and simulates a scenario of urban growth for the year 2016 with a Land-use and Cover-Change (LUCC) model (Geomod). The goal is to evaluate the potential impact of land-use plans in managing urban growth and promoting seismic risk mitigation. Results indicate that the urban expansion, between 1994 and 2005, was done according to the Municipal Master Plan (MMP) restrictions. The scenario modelled for the year 2016 is potentially stricter for urban growth because it adds to the previous plan the constraints defined by the South Coast Management Plan (SCMP) that entered into force in 2007. In both time periods, a continuing urban growth towards seismic areas was identified. The absence of seismic risk mitigation policies and measures on both plans may contribute to increase the seismic hazard exposure and vulnerability. The results of this study strongly suggest the reformulation of future land-use plans to include seismic risk mitigation goals and policies.