Perspectives on social vulnerability and ways to improve community resilience

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Abstract

Scientific recognition of the resilience concept is becoming compelling in extending the way contemporary spatial systems are analysed as well as in defining a new approach in establishing spatial planning principles and policies. In this view, our study emphasises the issue of spatial development in areas prone to earthquakes, floods and landslides. Therefore, resilience requires the assessment of vulnerable spatial components. Local governance interventions are more or less focused on risk management measures. Moreover, building safer communities through risk governance relies on different variables. Making a distinction between risk components and the predictors of increased resilience could shed light on the local decision-making process. In this paper, vulnerability addresses the lack of safety in terms of individual, household and community wellbeing when the issue of environmental restrictions emerge. In order to reduce the vulnerability of communities living in natural risk prone areas, spatial planning often turns to interdisciplinary analysis methods that allow an in-depth perspective on the interplay between social and natural elements. As such, spatial planning stands as the first step in reducing social vulnerability and should approach the less explored advantages of participatory mapping and local knowledge systems.

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