Risk has been defined, for management purposes, as the potential economic, social and environmental consequences of hazardous events that may occur in a specified period of time. However, in the past, the concept of risk has been defined in a fragmentary way in many cases, according to each scientific discipline involved in its appraisal. From the perspective of this article, risk requires a multidisciplinary evaluation that takes into account not only the expected physical damage, the number and type of casualties or economic losses, but also the conditions related to social fragility and lack of resilience conditions, which favour the second order effects (indirect effects) when a hazard event strikes an urban centre. The proposed general method of urban risk evaluation is multi hazard and holistic, that is, an integrated and comprehensive approach to guide decision-making. The evaluation of the potential physical damage (hard approach) as the result of the convolution of hazard and physical vulnerability of buildings and infrastructure is the first step of this method. Subsequently, a set of social context conditions that aggravate the physical effects are also considered (soft approach). In the method here proposed, the holistic risk evaluation is based on urban risk indicators. According to this procedure, a physical risk index is obtained, for each unit of analysis, from existing loss scenarios, whereas the total risk index is obtained by factoring the former index by an impact factor or aggravating coefficient, based on variables associated with the socioeconomic conditions of each unit of analysis. Finally, the proposed method is applied in its single hazard form to the holistic seismic risk evaluation for the cities of Bogota (Colombia) and Barcelona (Spain).

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Published on 05/04/18
Submitted on 05/04/18

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