Natural hazards and social vulnerability of place: the strength-based approach


Natural hazards pose significant threats to different communities and various places around the world. Failing to identify and support the most vulnerable communities is a recipe for disaster. In this regard, the concept of social vulnerability has emerged as a widely recognised way of assessing both the sensitivity of a population to natural hazards and its ability to respond and recover from them.

In the traditional approach to computing social vulnerability, the emphasis is mainly on the weaknesses only (e.g., old age, low income, language barriers, etc.), thereby undermining the resourcefulness of people within communities to self-organise and minimise their vulnerability to natural hazards.

This seminar will explore a more balanced approach referred to as the strength-based social vulnerability index (SSVI). The proposed SSVI technique, which is built on sound socio-psychological theories of how people act during disasters and emergency events, will be applied to highlight the most vulnerable suburbs amongst the 108 suburbs in the Greater Wollongong area of New South Wales, Australia. A social vulnerability map for the Illawarra can be found here.

This seminar will also convey results from method comparison involving the SSVI technique vs the traditional approach. Importantly, the speaker will present empirical evidence on how social vulnerability has changed over space and through time (2006 - 2016) within New South Wales, Australia. Lastly, the implications of the results for emergency and disaster management will be discussed, including direction for future work


Speaker: Dr Ogie, Robert Ighodaro, Associate Research Fellow (Critical Infrastructure & Disaster Modelling)

  Date and Time




  • Date: 26 Mar 2019
  • Time: 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM
  • All times are (UTC+10:00) Sydney
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  • SMART Building
  • University of Wollongong, New South Wales
  • Australia 2522
  • Building: 6
  • Room Number: 209