Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A new method accounts for social factors when assessing the seismic risk of a city

02.07.2012
Seismic risk not only depends on the magnitude of the tremor itself but also on the resistance of buildings and the social characteristics of its population. A team of Spanish scientists have presented a new method for calculating seismic risk incorporating aspects like social fragility and the chances of collective recovery.

"When faced with the possibility of an earthquake, up until now the physical risk of the city has only ever been evaluated. This, in other words, means damage to buildings and infrastructures taking into consideration the amount of people inside," as explained to SINC by Liliana Carreño, researcher at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC). Her team proposes a new method of carrying out an overall assessment of the seismic risk of an urban area, taking into account the social strengths and weakness and the city's governance.

The system created by Carreño and her team considers values such as "crime rates, whether there are marginalised areas, the number of hospital beds, training of hospital staff, etc, which all constitute factors of fragility and social capacity," explain the researchers. "This methodology greatly improves on our ability to assess future losses because it takes into account the social condition of the exposed population, which was previously treated as a mere number," states Carreño.

Published in the Bulletin of Earthquake Engineering, the new approach has another added value: it uses a technique based on 'fuzzy logic theory' which allows for the use of qualitative information obtained from expert opinion when the necessary numerical information is lacking.

Translating Opinions to Numbers

"The methods for making a complete risk calculation in a given urban area require great quantities of information that is not always available" highlights the researcher. According to Carreño, seismic risk specialists have always faced complex problems concerning imprecise information. "We can now translate linguistic variables like a lot, a few, slight, severe, scarce and enough into mathematic formalism for their subsequent measurement," outlines the scientist.

In order to verify the method's validity, Carreño and her team applied it to the cities of Barcelona and Bogotá (Colombia). She adds that "the Catalan city is a good model since its seismic risk has been subject to study for more than 20 year." Its results confirmed expected risk levels: medium-high for Bogotá and medium-low for Barcelona.

As Carreño concludes, "Barcelona's assessment was carried out with the availability of sound information. But, the most important aspect of this model is that it is especially useful when studying an urban space that does not have such an advantage and where information is lacking."

Reference: Carreño M.L.; Cardona O.D.; Barbat A.H. "New methodology for urban seismic risk assessment from a holistic perspective" Bull Earthquake Eng 10:547-565. 2012. DOI 10.1007/s10518-011-9302-2

SINC | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.agenciasinc.es

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Massive impact crater from a kilometer-wide iron meteorite discovered in Greenland
15.11.2018 | Faculty of Science - University of Copenhagen

nachricht The unintended consequences of dams and reservoirs
14.11.2018 | Uppsala University

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Purdue cancer identity technology makes it easier to find a tumor's 'address'

16.11.2018 | Health and Medicine

Good preparation is half the digestion

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Microscope measures muscle weakness

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>