Mapping Social Resilience to Flooding in Vancouver: Understanding the Modifiable Areal Unit Problem (MAUP)

Authors: Samantha Chu*, University of Waterloo, Su-Yin Tan, University of Waterloo
Topics: Hazards and Vulnerability, Applied Geography, Spatial Analysis & Modeling
Keywords: flooding, resilience, social resilience, MAUP, Modifiable Areal Unit Problem, climate change, GIS, Canada
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: Balcony B, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Flooding due to sea-level rise, severe weather events and climate extremities are common impacts of climate change that pose risks to social systems and the built environment. As the largest city in British Columbia and the third-largest metropolitan area in Canada, Vancouver is a coastal seaport city and is therefore exposed to considerable risk to the impacts of flooding resulting from climate change. The socioeconomic status of a population can further affect its resilience to such hazards. Previous studies have assessed and modeled climate change resilience based on socioeconomic status derived from census data, such as income status, family structure, and dwelling conditions. However, such data sources are compiled into different aggregation units of varying scale, such as Census Tracts (CT) and Dissemination Areas (DA). Spatial analysis of the same data using different aggregation units manifests in the Modifiable Areal Unit Problem (MAUP), where varying scale can produce different statistical results and conclusions. This study is an exploratory analysis of the MAUP by mapping social resilience to flooding hazards in the City of Vancouver at the CT and DA scales. While the significance of mapping socioeconomic variables is well documented, there lies a gap in understanding the effect of scale and the aggregation units at which such spatial analysis occurs.

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