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Sustainable Disaster Risk Management: Transformative and Resilient Practices

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Hazards and Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 6 April 2024 | Viewed by 5440

Special Issue Editors

Canadian Centre for Climate Change and Adaptation, University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, PE C1A 4P3, Canada
Interests: sustainable flood risk management; climate change adaptation and disaster management; nature-based solutions for natural hazards; vulnerability and risk assessments
School of Climate Change and Adaptation, University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, PE C1A 4P3, Canada
Interests: regional climate modeling; climate downscaling; hydrological modeling and flooding risk analysis; energy systems modeling under climate change; climate change impact assessment and adaptation studies; GIS; spatial modeling and analysis; big data analysis and visualization
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In recent years, many countries have been experiencing natural disasters due to unprecedented severe and frequent natural hazards such as floods, droughts, storms, cyclones, heatwaves, wildfires, earthquakes, and tsunamis. Climate change is further exacerbating extreme weather events, resulting in more severe impacts on social and ecological systems around the world, regardless of whether they are developing or developed nations, rural or urban areas, traditional Indigenous communities or modern societies.

To tackle the impacts of natural disasters, disaster risk management remains as a key development agenda in every country, and in international forums. Recent global development agendas such as Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015–2030) and UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030 (SDGs) focus on strengthening existing disaster risk management systems towards more sustainable and resilient systems. While various disaster risk management practices have been implemented around the world over the past several decades, evidence of sustainable best practices is scarce. Traditional structural (e.g., levees, cyclone shelters) and non-structural (e.g., insurance, early warning) measures are still the common disaster risk reduction strategies implemented by many countries; however, Nature-based solutions are being introduced in some countries on an experimental basis. Though some proven successful risk reduction measures are widely implemented, there are many cases of malpractice, which has led to a worsening of the effects of disasters in the long-term (e.g., negative impacts of embankments on floodplain ecosystems). To overcome the current situation, the world needs a holistic transformation of disaster risk management practices that can ensure better protection and sustainable development of both communities and natural ecosystems.

The aim of this Special Issue is to explore different disaster risk management practices within the disaster management cycle (mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery) that have transformed current management regimes and helped to develop resilient and sustainable social-ecological systems in disaster-prone areas.

In this Special Issue, original research articles and reviews are welcome. Research areas may include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Sustainable disaster risk management concepts, frameworks, policies, and strategies;
  • Vulnerability and risk assessment of social-ecological systems to natural hazards;
  • Transformative adaptation practices for disaster risk reduction;
  • Advances in early warning systems;
  • Evidence of maladaptation/malpractice in disaster management;
  • Resilient infrastructures for disaster risk reduction;
  • Nature-based solutions for disaster risk reduction;
  • Climate change adaptation and disaster management;
  • Community resilience to natural disasters;
  • Disaster risk management and Sustainable Development Goals;
  • Safe operating space in disaster-prone areas;
  • Advances in disaster response and recovery practices;
  • Other topics relevant to sustainable disaster risk management.

We look forward to receiving your contributions.

Dr. Aminur Shah
Dr. Xander Wang
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • vulnerability and risk assessment
  • transformative adaptation
  • nature-based solutions
  • community resilience
  • early warning systems
  • resilient infrastructures
  • maladaptation
  • disaster response and recovery
  • sustainable development

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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22 pages, 9629 KiB  
Article
A Comprehensive Framework for Evaluating Bridge Resilience: Safety, Social, Environmental, and Economic Perspectives
Sustainability 2024, 16(3), 1135; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16031135 - 29 Jan 2024
Viewed by 446
Abstract
Bridges are critical components of transportation systems and are susceptible to various natural and man-made disasters throughout their lifecycle. With the rapid development of the transportation industry, the frequency of vehicle-induced disasters has been steadily increasing. These incidents not only result in structural [...] Read more.
Bridges are critical components of transportation systems and are susceptible to various natural and man-made disasters throughout their lifecycle. With the rapid development of the transportation industry, the frequency of vehicle-induced disasters has been steadily increasing. These incidents not only result in structural damage to bridges but also have the potential to cause traffic interruptions, weaken social service functions, and impose significant economic losses. In recent years, research on resilience has become a new focus in civil engineering disaster prevention and mitigation. This study proposes a concept of generalized bridge resilience and presents an evaluation framework for cable-stayed bridges under disasters. The framework includes a resilience evaluation indicator system from multiple dimensions, including safety, society, environment, and economy, which facilitates the dynamic and comprehensive control of bridge resilience throughout its entire lifecycle with the ultimate goals of enhancing structural safety and economic efficiency while promoting the development of environmentally friendly structural ecosystems. Furthermore, considering the influence of recovery speed, the study evaluates various repair strategies through resilience assessment, revealing the applicable environments and conditions for different repair strategies. This methodology offers significant implications for enhancing the safety, efficiency, and environmental sustainability of infrastructure systems, providing valuable guidance for future research in this field. Full article
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27 pages, 939 KiB  
Article
Challenges in Developing Wildfire Understanding from Wildfire Information through Spatial Planning Processes
Sustainability 2024, 16(1), 420; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16010420 - 03 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 522
Abstract
This paper aims to explore the elements that condition and limit spatial planning processes for developing wildfire understanding from wildfire information. The central argument of this paper is that spatial planning’s ability to develop wildfire understanding from new evidence and experience is critical [...] Read more.
This paper aims to explore the elements that condition and limit spatial planning processes for developing wildfire understanding from wildfire information. The central argument of this paper is that spatial planning’s ability to develop wildfire understanding from new evidence and experience is critical for improving spatial planning systems to better integrate wildfire considerations to promote settlements’ resilience to wildfires. The research involved using an inductive qualitative research approach for two case studies: Victoria (Australia) and Chile’s spatial planning processes for developing wildfire understanding from wildfire information. Based on the analysis of the case studies and cross-case synthesis, key elements that challenge planning processes were identified, and herein, they are discussed in terms of four general categories of the process of knowledge development: (a) identification; (b) ‘co-generation’; (c) reframing; and (d) implementation. The study identifies that the Victorian and Chilean spatial planning systems often fail to give spatial planning meaning to new and dynamic wildfire information due to key elements that constrain the processes of knowledge development. This implies that new wildfire information often does not translate into improvements in the planning system, which in turn entails missing the opportunity to promote settlements’ resilience to wildfires. Full article
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18 pages, 12161 KiB  
Article
Flood Risk Assessment Focusing on Exposed Social Characteristics in Central Java, Indonesia
Sustainability 2023, 15(24), 16856; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152416856 - 14 Dec 2023
Viewed by 827
Abstract
This study analyzes Indonesia, a country marked by significant socioeconomic diversity, to inform the development of holistic flood risk management strategies. We examine the relationship between flood-exposed populations and socioeconomic factors at the regency level, particularly in Central Java, using open data encompassing [...] Read more.
This study analyzes Indonesia, a country marked by significant socioeconomic diversity, to inform the development of holistic flood risk management strategies. We examine the relationship between flood-exposed populations and socioeconomic factors at the regency level, particularly in Central Java, using open data encompassing flood-prone areas, topography, population distribution, and socioeconomic indicators. Key findings include population exposure to flooding varies significantly across the 33 regencies and 7 cities, ranging from 1% to 61% in exposure rate. A notable 5.8-fold difference in average income exists among regencies, with income strongly correlating with higher education rates. Similarly, poverty rates correlate with low educational attainment; there was a very large range in the balance between the size of the exposed economy and the number of exposed poor population in each administrative division. Consequently, we propose a classification system that considers social vulnerability due to poverty, low-education, and economic impacts. The map reflecting these classifications is a risk map that facilitates the understanding of the risk characteristics and the relative risk magnitude of each administrative district. Our analysis underscores the importance of adapting flood risk management strategies to local socioeconomic characteristics and suggests the importance of the use of local wisdom. Full article
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17 pages, 18017 KiB  
Article
Analysis of Flood Risk for Vulnerable People Using Assumed Flood Area Data Focused on Aged People and Infants
Sustainability 2023, 15(23), 16282; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152316282 - 24 Nov 2023
Viewed by 493
Abstract
During a large-scale disaster in Japan, vulnerable people, such as aged people, injured and sick people, infants, pregnant women, and foreign visitors to Japan, are most likely to be affected. This trend has not changed even in the case of floods where the [...] Read more.
During a large-scale disaster in Japan, vulnerable people, such as aged people, injured and sick people, infants, pregnant women, and foreign visitors to Japan, are most likely to be affected. This trend has not changed even in the case of floods where the process of disaster development is relatively moderate. However, in the case of flood disasters, the impact on vulnerable people can be minimized by evaluating the actual damage condition. The purpose of this study is to estimate the flood risk in the event of flooding for the elderly, the injured and sick, and infants, among those who need special care during disasters. The infant population was calculated using data from the national census maintained by Japan, and the aged and injured population was calculated using the National Health Insurance data, which are medical big data. Using these data, the regional distribution of the population was calculated, and then a spatial analysis was conducted with the data on the expected flood area in the event of flooding to estimate the exposed population. Through the analysis in this study, it was possible to estimate the flood risk per township by attribute, focusing on the aged, injured and sick, and infants. In Komatsu City, Ishikawa Prefecture, which was the subject of analysis in this study, the exposure of the elderly population in Mukaimotoori, Imae, Shirae, and Oki was high. In addition, the exposure of the infant population was high in Imae, Oki, Shirae, and Hitotsuhari. Town characteristics with a large exposed population were obtained, which is expected to be utilized for preliminary planning in the event of a flood. Full article
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26 pages, 793 KiB  
Article
Something Still Remains: Factors Affecting Tsunami Risk Perception on the Coasts Hit by the Reggio Calabria-Messina 1908 Event (Italy)
Sustainability 2023, 15(3), 2787; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15032787 - 03 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1677
Abstract
Mediterranean coasts are prone to tsunamis due to high seismicity in some well-known areas near plate margins. However, tsunamis have a low frequency of occurrence despite having highly destructive potential. The low frequency of occurrence and historicity of the most destructive events lead [...] Read more.
Mediterranean coasts are prone to tsunamis due to high seismicity in some well-known areas near plate margins. However, tsunamis have a low frequency of occurrence despite having highly destructive potential. The low frequency of occurrence and historicity of the most destructive events lead to minimizing or neglecting this risk. Past research identified socio-demographic and spatial factors that may affect tsunami risk perception. This research is based on CATI survey (Computer Assisted Telephone Interview) to a sample of 5842 respondents designed to investigate whether and how risk perception and risk knowledge were affected by a major event such as the 1908 Reggio Calabria Messina tsunami, by making a comparison between areas hit by that event and unaffected areas, also providing some explanatory hypotheses. Despite differences between Calabria and Sicily, data show higher levels of tsunami risk perception in the area affected by the 1908 event, along with a major role of interpersonal sources, playing a relevant role in information gathering and understanding. Research also suggests the need to better integrate different sources of knowledge to improve people’s understanding so as to effectively cope with tsunami risk. Full article
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Review

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15 pages, 898 KiB  
Review
Effective Communication of Coastal Flood Warnings: Challenges and Recommendations
Sustainability 2023, 15(24), 16693; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152416693 - 09 Dec 2023
Viewed by 737
Abstract
With the increasing risk of coastal flooding facing coastal communities due to climate change, coastal flood warnings (CFWs) are expected to play a critical role in the protection of people and property to ensure communities’ sustainable development. However, as destructive coastal flooding hazards [...] Read more.
With the increasing risk of coastal flooding facing coastal communities due to climate change, coastal flood warnings (CFWs) are expected to play a critical role in the protection of people and property to ensure communities’ sustainable development. However, as destructive coastal flooding hazards have caused considerable damage in recent years, the effectiveness of coastal flooding warnings could be questioned considering their objective of disaster risk reduction. Here, we deliver a review investigation of the current CFWs in the USA and Canada based on their setup and dissemination, and a case study of two representative coastal flooding events. Through this review, we found that collaboration between multi-level administration regarding CFW mechanisms has the potential to strengthen these mechanisms, improving their efficacy. We also found that CFWs presented in the media often lacked consideration of public acceptance and practicability in their reports, which may have affected the performance of these CFWs. Meanwhile, the technological limitations and uncertain public acceptance may also reduce the CFWs’ effectiveness in application. Accordingly, the media should further consider the understandability of CFW-related reports. Moreover, emergency information channels should be set in both traditional media and social media for accessible use by residents with different customs. Lastly, starting from the normalized prevention of coastal flood disaster, a consensus of crisis awareness should be built with which the social aspects of the defense against coastal flooding can be established for future environmental sustainability. Full article
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