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    A coevolutionary perspective is adopted to understand the dynamics of exposure to mountain hazards in the European Alps. A spatially explicit, object-based temporal assessment of elements at risk to mountain hazards (river floods, torrential floods, and debris flows) in Austria and Switzerland is presented for the period from 1919 to 2012. The assessment is based on two different data sets: (1) hazard information adhering to legally binding land use planning restrictions and (2) information on building types combined from different national-level spatial data. We discuss these transdisciplinary dynamics and focus on economic, social, and institutional interdependencies and interactions between human and physical systems. Exposure changes in response to multiple drivers, including population growth and land use conflicts. The results show that whereas some regional assets are associated with a strong increase in exposure to hazards, others are characterized by a below-average level of exposure. The spatiotemporal results indicate relatively stable hot spots in the European Alps. These results coincide with the topography of the countries and with the respective range of economic activities and political settings. Furthermore, the differences between management approaches as a result of multiple institutional settings are discussed. A coevolutionary framework widens the explanatory power of multiple drivers to changes in exposure and risk and supports a shift from structural, security-based policies toward an integrated, risk-based natural hazard management system.


    Sven Fuchs, Veronika Röthlisberger, Thomas Thaler, Andreas Zischg, Margreth Keiler. Natural Hazard Management from a Coevolutionary Perspective: Exposure and Policy Response in the European Alps. Annals of the American Association of Geographers. 2017 Mar 04;107(2):382-392

    PMID: 28267154

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