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Running head: VULNERABLE UNITED STATES CITIES TO HAZARDS
Investigating How Vulnerable United States Cities are to Natural Hazards
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VULNERABLE UNITED STATES CITIES TO HAZARDS
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Investigating How Vulnerable United States Cities are to Natural Hazards
The flooding that took place in New Orleans, one of the cities in the United States served
as a reminder of how vulnerable the American cities are. The flooding occurred after the United
States residents appeared to forget about the effects of the natural disasters that had taken place
earlier. The emergence of a famous Chicago fire that happened in 1871 as well as the earthquake
that occurred in 1906 in San Francisco was among the significant destructive disasters recorded
in history, before the emergence of Hurricane Katrina. The occurrence of these incidences
displayed the conditions that other cities in the world experienced especially some towns such as
wildfires in Melbourne, mudslides in Caracas, flooding in Dhaka, typhoons in Taipei, and
earthquakes in Istanbul (Tate, 2013). Even though some natural disasters are seasonal, the
residents in the affected cities experience many challenges of coping with the conditions
throughout the year. Based on such incidents, this research investigates the environmental built,
social, and physical characteristics that influence the vulnerability of natural hazards among the
cities within the United States.
Research Questions
i.
How do the environmental vulnerabilities, social makeup, and hazards profile among the
cities in the United States vary geographically?
ii.
Does urban vulnerability have any spatial pattern and what indicators define it?
The scope of the Study
The researcher will compile a list of the cities in the United States that appear to be
vulnerable to human-induced and environmental threats. There will be 133 cities that will be
covered in the study for the investigations of how prone they are to hazards (Tate, 2012). There
will be no city outside the United States that will be studied.
VULNERABLE UNITED STATES CITIES TO HAZARDS
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Methodology
The data that will be collected will be grouped into three groups depending on the kind of
vulnerability identified. These groups will include social factors, a built environment, as well as
natural threats. The components will be combined to form a general place vulnerability index
(Tate, 2012). Later, the theoretical constructs that can result in the susceptibility will be first
identified through conducting relevant literature. For the effectiveness of the research, variables
will be selected according to their appropriateness from the previous social vulnerabilities
obtained from various studies.
Results
Eight components will be extracted using a Kaiser’s criterion so that it can form a social
vulnerability index that is computed. The social vulnerabilities that will be identified from the
132 cities of the United States will be categorized based on gender, race, age, wealth, and
ethnicity of the residents. The environmental built vulnerability index will measure the
contribution of features available in the built environment, mainly the urban vulnerability
property value, housing age, and infrastructure. The hazard vulnerability hazards will measure
the result for vulnerability obtained from hazardous events’ historical frequency as well as their
impacts. The result will represent the previous experiences of disasters within the cities.
Conclusion
Due to the increased level of natural disaster occurrences in the United States, research
needs to be conducted among the cities to determine the factors that contribute to the incidents.
The factors that influence the threats to take place will be analyzed based on the environmental,
physical, and social influences. In this case, the cities that will be investigated will be 132 in
number based on how prone they are to disasters. The research will enable various preparedness
plans to be conducted within the cities to reduce the effects of the disaster occurrences. All
VULNERABLE UNITED STATES CITIES TO HAZARDS
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research material will be gathered from previous research and studies conducted and available
through the internet.
VULNERABLE UNITED STATES CITIES TO HAZARDS
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References
Bolin, B., & Kurtz, L. C. (2018). Race, class, ethnicity, and disaster vulnerability. In Handbook
of disaster research (pp. 181-203). Springer, Cham.
Blaikie, P., Cannon, T., Davis, I., & Wisner, B. (2014). At risk: natural hazards, people’s
vulnerability, and disasters. Routledge.
Cutter, S. L. (2012). Hazards vulnerability and environmental justice. Routledge.
Emrich, C. T., & Cutter, S. L. (2011). Social vulnerability to climate-sensitive hazards in the
southern United States. Weather, Climate, and Society, 3(3), 193-208.
Flanagan, B. E., Gregory, E. W., Hallisey, E. J., Heitgerd, J. L., & Lewis, B. (2011). A social
vulnerability index for disaster management. Journal of homeland security and
emergency management, 8(1).
Pelling, M. (2012). The vulnerability of cities: natural disasters and social resilience. Routledge.
Romero-Lankao, P., Qin, H., & Dickinson, K. (2012). Urban vulnerability to temperature-related
hazards: A meta-analysis and meta-knowledge approach. Global Environmental
Change, 22(3), 670-683.
Siagian, T. H., Purhadi, P., Suhartono, S., & Ritonga, H. (2014). Social vulnerability to natural
hazards in Indonesia: driving factors and policy implications. Natural hazards, 70(2),
1603-1617.
Tate, E. (2012). Social vulnerability indices: a comparative assessment using uncertainty and
sensitivity analysis. Natural Hazards, 63(2), 325-347.
Tate, E. (2013). Uncertainty analysis for a social vulnerability index. Annals of the Association
of American Geographers, 103(3), 526-543.
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Walker, G., & Burningham, K. (2011). Flood risk, vulnerability, and environmental justice:
Evidence and evaluation of inequality in a UK context. Critical social policy, 31(2), 216240.

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