Vulnerability Assessment of Building Material Stocks to Environmental Hazards in Dominica, Caribbean

Authors: Tianyu Ren*, University of Waterloo, Su-Yin Tan, University of Waterloo
Topics: Hazards and Vulnerability
Keywords: environmental hazards, small island developing states (SIDS), material stocks, GIS, spatial analysis
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/7/2021
Start / End Time: 1:30 PM / 2:45 PM
Room: Virtual 41
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In the field of industrial ecology, material stocks (MS) is defined as the materials in socioeconomic use for at least one year, and is considered essential to provide services like accommodating residence and work and carrying traffic flows. In Such services are affected by environmental hazards which convert MS to wastes long before the lifespan ends.

Small island developing states (SIDS) are considered to be more susceptible to environmental hazards due to their physical isolation that limits external aids, scarcity of natural and human resources that brings a heavy dependence on material imports, and limited scope of economic diversification with coastal tourism as the key sector. This study investigates the spatial patterns of building stocks distributed in Dominica and how the building MS and associated services are affected by flash flooding. A bottom-up approach is adopted based on estimating gross floor area and material intensity for different occupancy classes to calculate existing building stocks in different service sectors. This is followed by a GIS overlay analysis to identify vulnerable areas to flooding based on data from hydrologic models. Last, a Web-based Participatory Geographic Information System application is developed to collect local knowledge of social factors of vulnerability to environmental hazards. The framework described in this study can be applied to other SIDS with mountainous inland geology within the Caribbean region, which can assist policy makers in prioritizing vulnerable areas and to assess mitigation plans for managing potential losses due to climate change events.

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