A methodology for urban micro-scale coastal flood vulnerability and risk assessment and mapping

Sarah Percival, Richard Teeuw

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One of the most dangerous challenges to settlements in the UK comes from flooding. Currently, there is extensive map coverage of flood hazards zones in the UK; however, it is increasingly recognised that risk associated with natural hazards cannot be reduced solely by focussing on the hazard. There is also an urgent need for methods of evaluating and mapping flood vulnerability and risk in detail. Despite its significance, conventional flood risk assessment methodologies often underestimate likely levels of vulnerability in areas prone to hazards, yet it is the degree of vulnerability within a community that determines the consequences of any given hazard. The research presented proposes a general methodology to assess and map Coastal Flood Vulnerability and Risk at a detailed, micro-scale level. This captures aspects that are considered crucial and representative of reality (socio-economic, physical and resilient features). The methodology is then applied to a UK case study (city of Portsmouth). Environment Agency flood hazard data, National Census socio-economic data and Ordnance Survey topographic map data have been used to evaluate and map coastal flood vulnerability, examining neighbourhoods within census wards. This led to a subsequent analysis of Coastal Flood Risk, via the combination of a Coastal Flood Vulnerability Index and a Coastal Flood Hazard Index, for the Portsmouth ward Hilsea. This, consequently, identifies potential weaknesses that could lead to more effective targeting of interventions to improve resilience and reduce vulnerability in the long term and provides a basis for hazard and environmental managers/planners to generate comprehensive national/international vulnerability and risk assessments.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
JournalNatural Hazards
Early online date4 Jul 2019
Publication statusEarly online - 4 Jul 2019


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