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The Third Hans Cloos Lecture. Urban landslides: socioeconomic impacts and overview of mitigative strategies

  • Robert L. Schuster
  • Lynn M. Highland
Original Paper

Abstract

As a result of population pressures, hillsides in the world’s urban areas are being developed at an accelerating rate. This development increases the risk for urban landslides triggered by rainfall or earthquake activity. To counter this risk, four approaches have been employed by landslide managers and urban planners: (1) restricting development in landslide-prone areas; (2) implementing and enforcing excavation, grading, and construction codes; (3) protecting existing developments by physical mitigation measures and (4) developing and installing monitoring and warning systems. Where they have been utilized, these approaches generally have been effective in reducing the risk due to landslide hazards. In addition to these practices, landslide insurance holds promise as a mitigative measure by reducing the financial impact of landslides on individual property owners. Until recently, however, such insurance has not been widely available and, where it is available, it is so expensive that it has been little used.

Keywords

Urban areas Landslides Mitigative measures Grading codes Early warning Landslide insurance 

Résumé

Sous l’effet de la pression démographique, les zones urbaines s’étendent et les pentes avoisinantes sont souvent occupées à un rythme de plus en plus rapide. Ce développement urbain augmente le risque de glissements de terrain, déclenchés par des pluies ou des séismes. Pour contrecarrer ce risque, quatre approches ont été mises en œuvre par les experts en glissements de terrain et les spécialistes de l’aménagement de l’espace: (1) la limitation du développement urbain sur les zones sujettes à glissements de terrain; (2) la mise en œuvre et le renforcement des règles techniques relatives aux travaux d’excavation, de nivellement des terrain et de construction; (3) la protection des constructions existantes par des techniques permettant de limiter les dommages éventuels à venir; (4) le développement et l’installation de systèmes de surveillance et d’alerte. Lorsque ces approches ont été mises en œuvre, elles ont généralement apporté des résultats dans la réduction des risques liés aux glissements de terrain. En plus de ces pratiques, l’assurance contre les glissements de terrain représente une démarche prometteuse en réduisant l’impact financier des glissements sur les propriétaires particuliers. Jusqu’à une période récente, cependant, de telles assurances n’étaient pas largement répandues et lorsqu’il est possible aujourd’hui de s’assurer, les coûts sont si importants que l’assurance est peu utilisée.

Mots clés

Zones urbaines Glissements de terrain Mesures de limitation des effets Codes techniques de terrassement Systèmes de surveillance et d’alerte Assurance contre les glissements de terrain 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.US Geological SurveyDenverUSA

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