Vulnerability assessment of urban community and critical infrastructures for integrated flood risk management and climate adaptation strategies

Espada, Rudolf and Apan, Armando and McDougall, Kevin (2017) Vulnerability assessment of urban community and critical infrastructures for integrated flood risk management and climate adaptation strategies. International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment, 8 (4). pp. 375-411. ISSN 1759-5908


Purpose – The purpose of this study was to develop an integrated framework for assessing the flood risk and climate adaptation capacity of an urban area and its critical infrastructures to help address flood risk management issues and identify climate adaptation strategies.

Design/methodology/approach - Using the January 2011 flood in the core suburbs of Brisbane City, Queensland, Australia, various spatial analytical tools (i.e. digital elevation modeling and urban morphological characterization with 3D analysis, spatial analysis with fuzzy logic, proximity analysis, line statistics, quadrat analysis, collect events analysis, spatial autocorrelation techniques with global Moran’s I and local Moran’s I, inverse distance weight method, and hot spot analysis) were implemented to transform and standardize hazard, vulnerability, and exposure indicating variables. The issue on the sufficiency of indicating variables was addressed using the topological cluster analysis of a 2-dimension self-organizing neural network (SONN) structured with 100 neurons and trained by 200 epochs. Furthermore, the suitability of flood risk modeling was addressed by aggregating the indicating variables with weighted overlay and modified fuzzy gamma overlay operations using the Bayesian joint conditional probability weights. Variable weights were assigned to address the limitations of normative (equal weights) and deductive (expert judgment) approaches. Applying geographic information system (GIS) and appropriate equations, the flood risk and climate adaptation capacity indices of the study area were calculated and corresponding maps were generated.

Findings - The analyses showed that on the average, 36% (approximately 813 ha) and 14 % (approximately 316 ha) of the study area were exposed to very high flood risk and low adaptation capacity, respectively. Ninety three percent (93%) of the study area revealed negative adaptation capacity metrics (i.e. minimum of -23 to < 0), which implies that the socio-economic resources in the area are not enough to increase climate resilience of the urban community (i.e. Brisbane City) and critical infrastructures.

Research Limitations - Whilst the framework in this study was obtained through a robust approach, the following are the research limitations and recommended for further examination:analyzing and incorporating the impacts of economic growth, population growth, technological advancement, climate & environmental disturbances, and climate change; and applying the framework in assessing the risks to natural environments such as in agricultural areas, forest protection and production areas, biodiversity conservation areas, natural heritage sites, watersheds or river basins, parks and recreation areas, coastal regions, etc.

Practical implications - This study provides a tool for high level analyses and identifies adaptation strategies to enable urban communities and critical infrastructure industries to better prepare and mitigate future flood events. The disaster risk reduction measures and climate adaptation strategies to increase urban community and critical infrastructure resilience were identified in this study. These include: 1) mitigation on areas of low flood risk or very high climate adaptation capacity; 2) mitigation to preparedness on areas of moderate flood risk and high climate adaptation capacity; 3) mitigation to response on areas of high flood risk and moderate climate adaptation capacity; and 4) mitigation to recovery on areas of very high flood risk and low climate adaptation capacity. The implications of integrating disaster risk reduction and climate adaptation strategies were further examined.

Originality/value - The newly developed spatially-explicit analytical technique, identified in this study as the Flood Risk-Adaptation Capacity Index-Adaptation Strategies (FRACIAS) Linkage/Integrated Model, allows the integration of flood risk and climate adaptation assessments which had been treated separately in the past. By applying the FRACIAS linkage/integrated model in the context of flood risk and climate adaptation capacity assessments, the authors established a framework for enhancing measures and adaptation strategies to increase urban community and critical infrastructure resilience to flood risk and climate-related events.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Files associated with this item cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2017 06:31
Last Modified: 27 Apr 2018 01:59
Uncontrolled Keywords: Risk analysis, infrastructure, vulnerability, flooding, built environment, capacity
Fields of Research : 04 Earth Sciences > 0406 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience > 040604 Natural Hazards
08 Information and Computing Sciences > 0801 Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing > 080108 Neural, Evolutionary and Fuzzy Computation
08 Information and Computing Sciences > 0806 Information Systems > 080606 Global Information Systems
12 Built Environment and Design > 1205 Urban and Regional Planning > 120507 Urban Analysis and Development
Socio-Economic Objective: D Environment > 96 Environment > 9610 Natural Hazards > 961010 Natural Hazards in Urban and Industrial Environments
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1108/IJDRBE-03-2015-0010

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