Natural disasters as a stress-test for a socio-ecological system

Aisre 2016 | Ancona | 20-22 settembre 2016

XXXVII Conferenza scientifica annuale AISRe “Quali confini? Territori tra identità e integrazione internazionale”

Natural disasters as a stress-test for a socio-ecological system. Assessing resilience through the distribution of damages to residential buildings
Enrico Giovannetti e Francesco Pagliacci

Abstract. Natural disasters – but earthquakes in particular – occur quite often in Italy. With regard to built-up areas, they can be considered as exogenous stress tests: they act as a catalyst for socio-economic processes, lasting for longer time-spans. Eventually, they single out specific social, demographic and structural weaknesses that usually affect part of the architectural heritage of a given area. Indeed, some areas have experienced an ongoing reduction in the levels of their resilience, when referring to housing as a common good, according to a social-ecological system framework. In particular, this work focuses on the 2012 earthquake in Emilia, whose reconstruction process is still underway. In general terms, that process has been particularly effective, although some pitfalls and bottlenecks have affected private buildings’ reconstruction. We mostly refer to damages to private buildings and their territorial distribution: the latter follows clear urban-decline geography. To this respect, the earthquake could have just anticipated the outcomes of longer term socio-economic processes. To test this hypothesis, data at census tract level have been retrieved. Firstly, a cluster analysis has been performed to point out the main features of the affected area, and its weakest portions. Secondly, data on each specific reconstruction interventions (released as open data by the regional government) have been grouped by census tract: this allows us to return robust results about the entity of damages at a very local level. The analysis confirms that those tracts showing poorer socio-economic conditions actually experienced more severe damages.

Keywords: natural disaster, resilience, housing