Natural Hazards

, Volume 70, Issue 1, pp 1–22 | Cite as

Applying neighbourhood classification systems to natural hazards: a case study of Mt Vesuvius

  • Iain Willis
  • Maurizio Gibin
  • Joana Barros
  • Richard Webber
Original Paper


Mt Vesuvius is regarded as one of the most deadly volcanoes on earth. With over 1 million people living on its flanks and in its periphery, there is little doubt that an eruption of sub-Plinian magnitude would be catastrophic to the livelihood and well being of contemporary Neopolitans. Such a large scale eruption would have wide ranging and differential effects on the surrounding population. Whereas previous studies of social vulnerability have focused on individual demographic factors (such as age, income or ethnicity), this research proposes the application of a general neighbourhood classification system to assess natural hazard vulnerability. In this study, Experian’s Mosaic Italy is used to classify and delineate the most vulnerable neighbourhood types around the province of Naples. Among the neighbourhoods considered most at risk, those areas with high proportions of elderly and low income families are deemed particularly vulnerable. With current evacuation plans deemed outdated and poorly communicated to the locals Rolandi (2010), Barberi et al. (2008), this methodology could prove to be a useful input to both town planners and civil protection agencies. A range of statistical measures and geophysical risk boundaries are employed here to assess the different areas of human resilience.


Social vulnerability Volcanoes Geodemographics Vesuvius Neighbourhood classification 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Iain Willis
    • 1
  • Maurizio Gibin
    • 1
  • Joana Barros
    • 1
  • Richard Webber
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Geography, Environment and Development StudiesBirkbeck CollegeLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of GeographyKings College LondonLondonUK

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