Articles | Volume 15, issue 10
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 15, 2331–2346, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-15-2331-2015

Special issue: Monitoring and modelling to guide coastal adaptation to extreme...

Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 15, 2331–2346, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-15-2331-2015
Research article
14 Oct 2015
Research article | 14 Oct 2015

Coupling scenarios of urban growth and flood hazards along the Emilia-Romagna coast (Italy)

I. Sekovski1,2, C. Armaroli3, L. Calabrese4, F. Mancini5, F. Stecchi1, and L. Perini4 I. Sekovski et al.
  • 1Department of Biology, Geology and Environmental Science, University of Bologna, 48123 Ravenna, Italy
  • 2Department of Earth Sciences, CASEM, University of Cadiz, 11510 Puerto Real, Spain
  • 3Department of Physics and Earth Sciences, University of Ferrara, 44122 Ferrara, Italy
  • 4Geological Service of the Emilia-Romagna region, 40127 Bologna, Italy
  • 5DIEF, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, 41125 Modena, Italy

Abstract. The extent of coastline urbanization reduces their resilience to flooding, especially in low-lying areas. The study site is the coastline of the Emilia-Romagna region (Italy), historically affected by marine storms and floods. The main aim of this study is to investigate the vulnerability of this coastal area to marine flooding by considering the dynamics of the forcing component (total water level) and the dynamics of the receptor (urban areas). This was done by comparing the output of the three flooding scenarios (10, 100 and > 100 year return periods) to the output of different scenarios of future urban growth up to 2050. Scenario-based marine flooding extents were derived by applying the Cost–Distance tool of ArcGIS® to a high-resolution digital terrain model. Three scenarios of urban growth (similar-to-historic, compact and sprawled) up to 2050 were estimated by applying the cellular automata-based SLEUTH model. The results show that if the urban growth progresses compactly, flood-prone areas will largely increase with respect to similar-to-historic and sprawled growth scenarios. Combining the two methodologies can be useful for identification of flood-prone areas that have a high potential for future urbanization, and is therefore crucial for coastal managers and planners.

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Short summary
The main idea behind this study was to contribute to a better understanding of coastal hazards and risks. This was achieved by proposing an approach that combines coastal flooding scenarios with different scenarios of urban growth. Once used jointly, these two methodologies can help to identify flood-prone areas that have a high potential for future urbanization, which makes this combination particularly useful for coastal managers and planners.
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