Sustainability 2013, 5(1), 160-162; doi:10.3390/su5010160

New Book Received
Vulnerability, Risks, and Complexity: Impacts of Global Change on Human Habitats. By Sigrun Kabisch, Anna Kunath, Petra Schweizer-Ries and Annett Steinfuehrer, Hogrefe Publishing, 2012; 322 pages. Price €66.95 ISBN 978-0-88937-435-5
Shu-Kun Lin
MDPI AG, Kandererstrasse 25, CH-4057 Basel, Switzerland; E-Mail: lin@mdpi.com
Received: 10 January 2013 / Published: 14 January 2013

The following paragraphs are reproduced from the website of the publisher [1]:

This volume offers state-of-the-art research on the interrelations between the social, built, and natural environments.

It will be useful to scholars in cross-cutting areas of urban, hazard, planning, governance, and sustainability research in relation to socio-psychological perspectives. Readers will benefit from new theoretical as well as empirically-based research findings in the emerging field of social-science vulnerability studies.

The contributions in this volume cover six broad research fields:

  • Reflections on vulnerability and risks in complex environments

  • Coping with climate change and natural hazards

  • Social dimensions of vulnerability and risks

  • Participation and strategies of risk reduction

  • Strengthening pro-environmental behavior

  • Place making and urban design

The volume includes papers investigating human habitats within a variety of settlement structures and settings that are negatively affected by extreme weather events, natural hazards, infectious diseases, contaminations, or crime; as well as empirical case studies describing ways to strengthen environmentally sound behavior and how people behave in specific conditions, e.g., in post-disaster settlements. The focus of the book is on the necessity of studying vulnerability, risks, and complexity as expressions of the impact that global change has on human habitats. These include not only climate and hazard impacts but also new sociodemographic trends and regional economic developments that influence people’s quality of life and their capacities to cope with global change.

Table of contents

  • 1 Introduction 1

    • 1.1 The contemporary risk environment 3

      • 1.1.1 Increased focus on vulnerability 4

    • 1.2 Complex socio-technical systems 5

    • 1.3 Topics of interests 8

    • 1.4 An engineering research perspective 9

      • 1.4.1 Science and engineering 9

      • 1.4.2 Scientific development of methods 11

    • 1.5 Limitations and demarcations 13

    • 1.6 Thesis outline 14

  • 2 Aims and research objectives 17

  • 3 Risk and vulnerability analysis in the context of emergency management 19

    • 3.1 Some notes on the concepts of accidents, emergencies, crises, disasters and catastrophes 19

    • 3.2 A framework for the emergency management process 22

    • 3.3 The dual role of risk and vulnerability analysis in emergency Management 24

    • 3.4 Strategies for risk reduction: anticipation and resilience 27

    • 3.5 A general “model” of societal emergencies 29

    • 3.6 Reflections on the model: implications for risk and vulnerability Analysis 35

  • 4 Approaches to understand, model and analyse complex systems 39

    • 4.1 Systems theory and the systems movement 39

      • 4.1.1 Distinguishing the real-world system and the system model 40

      • 4.1.2 Some systems concepts 41

    • 4.2 Complexity theory and the theory of complex adaptive systems 42

      • 4.2.1 The theory of complex adaptive systems 44

    • 4.3 Network theory and network analysis 45

    • 4.4 Reflections related to risk and vulnerability analysis 47

  • 5 Operational definitions of risk and vulnerability 49

    • 5.1 The concept of risk 50

      • 5.1.1 Models in risk analysis 52

      • 5.1.2 The quantitative definition of risk: scenarios and the set of risk triplets 53

      • 5.1.3 Risk measures 58

      • 5.1.4 Critique against the traditional engineering interpretation 59

    • 5.2 The concept of vulnerability 61

      • 5.2.1 Operational definition of vulnerability 62

      • 5.2.2 Bridging the concepts of risk and vulnerability by use of bow-tie Representation 66

    • 5.3 The meaning of risk and vulnerability analyses 69

  • 6 Presentation of research, evaluation and future work 71

    • 6.1 Presentation of three research themes 72

      • 6.1.1 Methods for vulnerability analysis of critical infrastructure Networks 72

      • 6.1.2 Emergency response capabilities 79

      • 6.1.3 Value input to risk analysis and decision-making 82

    • 6.2 Evaluation and reflections on the research 83

      • 6.2.1 Methods for vulnerability analysis of critical infrastructure Networks 84

      • 6.2.2 Emergency response capabilities 86

      • 6.2.3 Value-input to risk analysis and decision-making 87

    • 6.3 Future work 88

  • 7 Concluding remarks 91

    • 7.1 Final comments 93

  • 8 References 95

  • Appendix: The Papers 107

* Editor’s Note: The brief summary and the contents of the books are reported as provided by the authors or the publishers. Authors and publishers are encouraged to send review copies of their recent books of potential interest to readers of Remote Sensing to the Publisher (Dr. Shu-Kun Lin, Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI), Kandererstrasse 25, CH-4057 Basel, Switzerland; Tel. +41-61-683-77-34; Fax: +41-61-302-89-18; E-Mail: lin@mdpi.com). Some books will be offered to the scholarly community for the purpose of preparing full-length reviews.

Note

  1. The website for this book is: http://www.artechhouse.com/International/Books/Microwave-and-MillimeterWave-Remote-Sensing-for-Se-1966.aspx.
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