5 types of land
to natural disasters
By Jonathan Kinghorn, AIR Worldwide
There is a growing awareness that good land use and planning can do much to reduce the impact of
Communities that understand the
risks they face and mitigate those risks
become resilient and can experience
sustainable outcomes when affected by
Around the world many communities
are working hard to become more resil-
natural catastrophes live in developing
countries where it can be challenging to
achieve;good;land;use;and;planning.;Con-tinued property development is inevitable, and the worth of the exposure at risk
will rise. Only increased resilience can
temper the impact of natural disasters.
The root cause of a disaster that can oc-cur;after;a;natural;event;is;the;underlying
vulnerability in human systems, not the
land-use choices can be significant factors in their effect. Deforestation, for example, can increase the risk of landslides
and flooding. The biggest effects, however, arise from our desire to congregate in
towns and cities.
the global population will be city dwellers. They take up just two percent of the
Forum report noted, “The concentration
of people, assets, critical infrastructure and
economic activities in cities exacerbates the
potential of natural catastrophes to cause
unprecedented damage.” Dense development enhances the impact of many perils
because they can damage more property in
an urban setting than a rural one.
Development increases risk in other
2. Location, location, location
ways too. In a natural setting for example,
most rain will infiltrate the ground, but in
able surfaces reduce natural drainage
and speed flood flows. According to the
this can make a 10-year storm produce
and cause flash floods.
have been established in coastal areas and
along rivers where fertile agricultural
land, transportation, water and trade are
available.;Old;development;choices;con-strain the resilience of such communities.
Major cities around the rim of the
Pacific Ocean, for example, are close
to active fault lines and have significant
accumulate along river banks, and in
river deltas — prime locations for development — can amplify ground motion
experienced during a temblor and may
cause significant liquefaction damage.
Areas reclaimed for development can
also be at risk from liquefaction. In the
example. Fortunately, infilled land compacts and slowly becomes less vulnerable.
3. Flocking to the coast
The density of the world’s near-coastal population is about three times higher than the
global average, and it is increasing.
Population growth leads to property
development and property values increase