WIT Press

A Coupled Vulnerability Approach For European Mountain Regions


Free (open access)





Page Range

527 - 541




3,219 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


S. Fuchs


Defining natural hazard risk as a function of hazard and consequences, the ability to assess vulnerability is an essential step towards a reduction of these consequences. The concept of vulnerability is pillared by multiple disciplinary theories underpinning either a natural scientific or a socioscientific origin of the concept and resulting in a range of paradigms for vulnerability quantification. However, efforts to reduce susceptibility to hazards and to create disaster-resilient communities require intersections among these theories, since human activity cannot be seen independently from the environmental setting. Acknowledging different roots of disciplinary paradigms, issues determining structural, economic, institutional and social vulnerability are discussed with respect to mountain hazards in Europe. It is argued that structural vulnerability as the originator results in considerable economic vulnerability, generated by the institutional settings of dealing with natural hazards and shaped by the overall societal framework. If vulnerability and its counterpart, resilience, is analysed and evaluated by using such a comprehensive approach, a better understanding of the parameters that influence vulnerability will be achieved, taking into account the interdependencies and interactions between the disciplinary foci. The overall aim of this paper is to combine different approaches and to apply a coupled model by using a vulnerability-of-place criterion. Key issues of vulnerability are reconsidered, aiming at a general illustration of the situation in a densely-populated mountain region of Europe. Keywords: risk analysis, susceptibility, vulnerability, mountain hazards.


risk analysis, susceptibility, vulnerability, mountain hazards