Title: Vulnerability index construction: methodological choices and their influence on identifying vulnerable neighbourhoods

Authors: Brenda Jones, Jean Andrey

Addresses: Faculty of Environmental Studies, Department of Geography, University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1, Canada. ' Faculty of Environmental Studies, Department of Geography, University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1, Canada

Abstract: Indices are increasingly important for emergency planning at the community level, particularly with respect to identifying vulnerable neighbourhoods and mapping disaster potential. This paper provides both a critical literature review and an empirical case study that highlight the importance of different types of decisions in the construction of vulnerability indices. The case study focuses on the flooding risk in Vancouver, Canada, from both an evacuation and rebuilding perspective. Results of a sensitivity analysis suggest that spatial outcomes of vulnerability are highly sensitive to decisions regarding variable selection and representation, moderately sensitive to decisions about variable weighting and minimally affected by decisions about variable scaling.

Keywords: vulnerability; risk; hazard; vulnerable neighbourhoods; index construction; sensitivity analysis; Vancouver; Canada; emergency management; emergency planning.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEM.2007.013994

International Journal of Emergency Management, 2007 Vol.4 No.2, pp.269 - 295

Published online: 07 Jun 2007 *

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