Social Indicators Research

, Volume 132, Issue 2, pp 709–731 | Cite as

Assessing Urban Vulnerability in the Context of Flood and Heat Hazard: Pathways and Challenges for Indicator-Based Analysis

  • Kerstin KrellenbergEmail author
  • Juliane Welz


Applying indicators in the context of vulnerability assessments is widespread but remains challenging for various reasons. This article focuses on quantitative estimates of urban vulnerability to climate change related hazards. It presents a methodology to assess three components of residential vulnerability in areas of different socio-environmental conditions: exposure, susceptibility and coping capacity, including the selection of indicators, combination of variables and building of indices. The overall purpose is the assessment of urban vulnerability in order to allow for a more precise consideration of who is vulnerable and why, and to demonstrate the potential coping capacities of people living in flood and heat prone areas. This acknowledges that in Santiago de Chile, the case study used to underpin this article empirically, only hazard exposure assessments have been undertaken so far. The case study findings of the vulnerability assessment confirm that the indicator-based approach is appropriate for analysis of exposure and susceptibility, but that coping capacity appraisal remains a challenge.


Urban vulnerability assessment Indicators Hazards Climate change Adaptation 



Our thanks go to N. Storz and K. Schleicher, who were involved in defining vulnerability indicators and analysing the indices.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZDepartment of Urban and Environmental SociologyLeipzigGermany

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