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Analysing risk and vulnerability of South African settlements

Attempts, explorations and reflections

Article image

Elsona van Huyssteen, Alize le Roux, Willemien van Niekerk

01 February 2013


uKESA Librarian, Willemien van Niekerk

Journal article

Council for Scientific and Industrial Research

South Africa

With the world’s urban population now estimated to be at 52%, towns and cities are increasingly becoming the stage where disaster risk has to be managed and mitigated. Understanding the risks and vulnerabilities in these complex socio-ecological systems thus becomes of utmost importance to be able to intervene in the underlying root causes, dynamic pressures and unsafe conditions. In this paper, the authors share their experience in, and reflect on, recent attempts at exploring integrated and place-specific risk and vulnerability analyses of settlements in South Africa. An overview is first provided of the attempt to develop multi-criteria indicators for integrated assessment of socio-economic vulnerability at a regional level. Secondly, an indication is provided of some first steps in interpreting projections for environmental risks and hazards in terms of possible implications for settlements at this regional level. The paper concludes with some reflections on the challenges and breakthroughs experienced in this exercise, as well as implications for on-going and future research.


Website References

Climate Change/Resilience

Disaster risk management


Environmental impact

Environmental management

Environmental protection

Human settlements

Human settlements

Settlement regions

South Africa


Urban areas

Urban development

Urban growth

Urban population

Urban settlements



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