Articles | Volume 13, issue 6
Research article
18 Jun 2013
Research article |  | 18 Jun 2013

Social vulnerability assessment using spatial multi-criteria analysis (SEVI model) and the Social Vulnerability Index (SoVI model) – a case study for Bucharest, Romania

I. Armaș and A. Gavriș

Abstract. In recent decades, the development of vulnerability frameworks has enlarged the research in the natural hazards field. Despite progress in developing the vulnerability studies, there is more to investigate regarding the quantitative approach and clarification of the conceptual explanation of the social component. At the same time, some disaster-prone areas register limited attention. Among these, Romania's capital city, Bucharest, is the most earthquake-prone capital in Europe and the tenth in the world. The location is used to assess two multi-criteria methods for aggregating complex indicators: the social vulnerability index (SoVI model) and the spatial multi-criteria social vulnerability index (SEVI model). Using the data of the 2002 census we reduce the indicators through a factor analytical approach to create the indices and examine if they bear any resemblance to the known vulnerability of Bucharest city through an exploratory spatial data analysis (ESDA). This is a critical issue that may provide better understanding of the social vulnerability in the city and appropriate information for authorities and stakeholders to consider in their decision making. The study emphasizes that social vulnerability is an urban process that increased in a post-communist Bucharest, raising the concern that the population at risk lacks the capacity to cope with disasters. The assessment of the indices indicates a significant and similar clustering pattern of the census administrative units, with an overlap between the clustering areas affected by high social vulnerability. Our proposed SEVI model suggests adjustment sensitivity, useful in the expert-opinion accuracy.