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Landslides in Urban Environments: Monitoring, Impact Mitigation and Resilient Enhancement

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Hazards and Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 April 2024) | Viewed by 8352

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Geological Hazards and Climate Change, Geological Survey of Spain (IGME-CSIC), Ríos Rosas, 23, 28003 Madrid, Spain
Interests: rockfall; modelling; emergency management; landslides; climate change

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Guest Editor
CINTECX, Grupo de Xestión Segura e Sostible de Recursos Minerais (XESSMIN), Universidade de Vigo, 36310 Vigo, Spain
Interests: rock mechanics; rock tensile strength; stability of geological structures; applications of Arduino board and Raspberry Pi in rock mechanics laboratory testing; MLT's and image processing
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

A globalized world faces significant problems and challenges due to the increasing consumption of land resources for urban purposes. Many countries have experienced urban sprawl and it is predicted that this trend will continue. According to estimates, large areas (approximately 77,500 km2) of the European continent will be converted to urban areas in this decade, and 3% of global croplands will be lost due to urbanization by 2030, 80% of which will occur in Asia and Africa.

A large number of people are living in areas prone to natural disasters as a result of uncontrolled urban expansion, which has negative impacts on social, economic, and environmental conditions. Modifications to natural conditions for urban development commonly result in deforestation, blocking of natural drainage, slope cuts, changes in the soil surface, impermeabilization, earthmoving, loading, soil erosion, etc. Landslides and their impacts can be aggravated by these types of human-induced processes.

Landslides represent one of the major natural hazards having a great on the socioeconomic framework of the world. Change in environmental conditions due to the growth of the population, land-use intensification and industrial development have the potential to increase the landslide risk in many world regions. Moreover, climate change is expected to alter precipitation patterns in Europe having consequences for the frequency and distribution of landslides. Thus, there is an emerging appeal for developing new common policies and strategies in order to reduce the impact of landslides, as well as to reflect several instruments for risk management.

We would like to invite you to participate in this Special Issue, which will focus primarily on presenting new tools, original methodologies, and innovative approaches (landslide maps, landside prediction models, and design of risk mitigation measures…) to evaluate landslides activity in urban areas, to predict their potential impacts on population and infrastructures, and to increase the resilience of built-up areas. Contribution to this session will also provide scientific instruments to support the capabilities of the actors implied in risk management (i.e., Civil Protection, Administration). Main landslide types are considered: from rockfalls to debris flows including local to global case studies, as well as experimental, analytical and numerical approaches.

Dr. Roberto Sarro
Dr. Ignacio Pérez-Rey
Guest Editors

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

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Keywords

  • landslides
  • urban sprawl
  • impact assessment
  • disaster risk reduction
  • emergency management

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

24 pages, 2079 KiB  
Article
The Interconnection between Climate Cycles and Geohazards in Urban Areas of the Tourist Island of Mallorca, Spain
by Juan A. Luque-Espinar, Rosa M. Mateos, Roberto Sarro, Cristina Reyes-Carmona and Mónica Martínez-Corbella
Sustainability 2024, 16(12), 4917; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16124917 - 7 Jun 2024
Viewed by 382
Abstract
The island of Mallorca has experienced major interventions and transformations of the territory, with unprecedented urban development related to growing tourism activity. In this paper, we present a spatio-temporal analysis—by using spectral analysis techniques—of climate cycles on the island of Mallorca (Spain) and [...] Read more.
The island of Mallorca has experienced major interventions and transformations of the territory, with unprecedented urban development related to growing tourism activity. In this paper, we present a spatio-temporal analysis—by using spectral analysis techniques—of climate cycles on the island of Mallorca (Spain) and their correlation with the occurrences of landslides and flash floods. Both geohazards are closely related to wet periods, which are controlled by different, well-known natural cycles: ENSO, the NAO, sunspot, etc. Geostatistical methods are used to map the distribution of rainfall, as well as a spatial representation of the spectral confidence of the different natural cycles, to define the hazardous areas on the island. The cycles with the greatest influence on rainfall in Mallorca are El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) (5.6 y and 3.5 y), the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) (7.5 y), and Quasi-Biennial Oscillation (QBO). Recorded events of both rockfalls and flash floods exhibit a strong correlation with the climate indices of QBO, ENSO, the NAO, and sunspot activity. This correlation is particularly pronounced with QBO, as this cycle has a higher frequency than the others, and QBO is observed as part of the other cycles in the form of increases and decreases during periods of higher ENSO, NAO, and sunspot values. However, the impact of flash floods is also significant in the southeast part of the island, despite its lower levels of rainfall. The most dangerous episodes are related to ENSO (6.4 y) and the NAO. The validation of the methodology employed is strengthened by incorporating information from the flash flood data, as it offers comprehensive coverage of the entire island, compared to the landslide database, which is confined to the Serra de Tramuntana region. The study reveals that the city of Palma and the municipality of Calvià, as well as the central and eastern urban areas of the island, are the most vulnerable regions to intense rainfall and its consequences. Full article
25 pages, 12447 KiB  
Article
Determination and Evaluation of Landslide-Prone Regions of Isparta (Turkey): An Urban Planning View
by Aynur Uluç Keçik, Canan Çiftçi, Şirin Gülcen Eren, Aslı Tepecik Diş and Agatino Rizzo
Sustainability 2023, 15(19), 14329; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151914329 - 28 Sep 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1526
Abstract
Landslides represent a significant hazard affecting human life and property and threaten the sustainability of human settlements. They are among the most critical threats after earthquakes in Turkey. In 2020, 107 landslide events occurred in Turkey. Implementing proper policies, strategies, and tools for [...] Read more.
Landslides represent a significant hazard affecting human life and property and threaten the sustainability of human settlements. They are among the most critical threats after earthquakes in Turkey. In 2020, 107 landslide events occurred in Turkey. Implementing proper policies, strategies, and tools for landslide risk mitigation remains challenging for urban planning institutions. In the plan preparation phase, urban planners and plan-making authorities, agencies, or institutions may overlook landslide risks due to a lack of data or related studies. Therefore, this article aims to develop a novel spatial analysis for identifying landslide-prone areas at the provincial level from an urban planning perspective. The analysis is compared to the approved upper-scale plan, and the results are used to build a more robust understanding of landslide risks for sustainable urban development. Isparta Province is selected as the study area, as it has active landslide areas. The methods used include a literature survey including internet sources, newspapers, plans, articles, and other research projects and a case study utilizing a GIS spatial analysis. The spatial analysis using GIS is based on three landslide inventories currently available in Turkey. This spatial analysis is developed to determine landslide-prone regions by considering thematic layers, triggering factors, and vulnerability inputs. As a result of this analysis, five landslide-prone areas in Isparta Province are determined. When these regions are compared to the upper-scale plan that covers the province, it is found that land use and planning decisions have neglected landslide risks, and urban areas are at high landslide risk. Several specific principles and strategies, such as a spatial inventory database and an integrated planning approach including landslide-prone areas, are stated with a reliable spatial analysis to assess landslide-prone areas on a regional scale, which can be applied later in any city and region of Turkey. Full article
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15 pages, 38603 KiB  
Article
Seismic Characterization of a Landslide Complex: A Case History from Majes, Peru
by Jihyun Yang, Jeffrey Shragge, Aaron J. Girard, Edgard Gonzales, Javier Ticona, Armando Minaya and Richard Krahenbuhl
Sustainability 2023, 15(18), 13574; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151813574 - 11 Sep 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1026
Abstract
Seismic characterization of landslides offers the potential for developing high-resolution models on subsurface shear-wave velocity profile. However, seismic methods based on reflection processing are challenging to apply in such scenarios as a consequence of the disturbance to the often well-defined structural and stratigraphic [...] Read more.
Seismic characterization of landslides offers the potential for developing high-resolution models on subsurface shear-wave velocity profile. However, seismic methods based on reflection processing are challenging to apply in such scenarios as a consequence of the disturbance to the often well-defined structural and stratigraphic layering by the landslide process itself. We evaluate the use of alternative seismic characterization methods based on elastic full waveform inversion (E-FWI) to probe the subsurface of a landslide complex in Majes, southern Peru, where recent agricultural development and irrigation activities have altered the hydrology and groundwater table and are thought to have contributed to increased regional landslide activities that present continuing sustainability community development challenges. We apply E-FWI to a 2D near-surface seismic data set for the purpose of better understanding the subsurface in the vicinity of a recent landslide location. We use seismic first-arrival travel-time tomography to generate the inputs required for E-FWI to generate the final high-resolution 2D compressional- and shear-wave (P- and S-wave) velocity models. At distances greater than 140 m from the cliff, the inverted models show a predominantly vertically stratified velocity structure with a low-velocity near-surface layer between 5–15 m depth. At distances closer than 140 m from the cliff, though, the models exhibit significantly reduced shear-wave velocities, stronger heterogeneity, and localized shorter wavelength structure in the top 20 m. These observations are consistent with those expected for a recent landslide complex; however, follow-on geotechnical analysis is required to confirm these assertions. Overall, the E-FWI seismic approach may be helpful for future landslide characterization projects and, when augmented with additional geophysical and geotechnical analyses, may allow for improved understanding of the hydrogeophysical properties associated with suspected ground-water-driven landslide activity. Full article
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31 pages, 27775 KiB  
Article
Geotechnical Characterization of Quito’s North-Central Zone as Applied to Deep Excavation in the Urban Setting
by Vicente E. Capa, F. Javier Torrijo, Pedro A. Calderón and Carlos Hidalgo Signes
Sustainability 2023, 15(10), 8272; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15108272 - 19 May 2023
Viewed by 2444
Abstract
This paper describes an in-depth soil characterization study in the La Carolina financial district of Quito (Ecuador). As there was very little information available on the geotechnical structure of Quito’s volcanic soil, particularly in this area, where large-scale property development has taken place, [...] Read more.
This paper describes an in-depth soil characterization study in the La Carolina financial district of Quito (Ecuador). As there was very little information available on the geotechnical structure of Quito’s volcanic soil, particularly in this area, where large-scale property development has taken place, the aim was to provide information on soil parameters to engineers working on large geotechnical and civil engineering projects based on the results of a thorough and comprehensive study of such properties. A series of field tests were performed at three different sites, where thin-walled tube samples were collected for lab testing to estimate the index properties and mechanical parameters. These index properties were then combined with conventional two-way drainage oedometer tests and stress-path triaxial testing to evaluate compressibility, stiffness and strength. The subsoil was found to be partly composed of slightly overconsolidated volcanic soils. X-ray Diffraction (XRD) and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) analyses were also conducted to determine mineralogical and microstructural features and evaluate their influence on the mechanical behavior of the volcanic soil. This type of research is frequently applied to the study of landslides in urban environments, where it is essential to understand their failure mechanisms, especially in slopes generated by the construction of important engineering works. Therefore, based on this geotechnical characterization study, parameters were subsequently determined for the Mohr–Coulomb (MC), Hardening Soil (HS), and Hardening Soil with Small-Strain Stiffness (HSsmall) soil constitutive models, and these were applied to a numerical study of the Soil Nailing system behavior for the construction of a five-level underground car parking structure of an important building located in the north-central sector of the city of Quito. It was verified that the HSsmall and HS constitutive soil models better reproduce the behavior of this type of structure. Finally, the multiple geotechnical parameters determined in this study significantly contribute to the analysis of these structures in this soil type. Full article
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23 pages, 8075 KiB  
Article
The Effect of Geometrical Features of Release Surfaces on the Stability of Tectonically Disturbed Deep Rock Slopes in an Albite Open Pit Mine
by Tümay Kadakci Koca
Sustainability 2023, 15(2), 1425; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15021425 - 11 Jan 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1330
Abstract
An albite deposit formed in orthogneiss has been operated using open pit mining process since 1996. However, landslides have occurred following the excavation works and heavy rainfalls. In the current state, the slopes are still susceptible to mass movement. For this reason, this [...] Read more.
An albite deposit formed in orthogneiss has been operated using open pit mining process since 1996. However, landslides have occurred following the excavation works and heavy rainfalls. In the current state, the slopes are still susceptible to mass movement. For this reason, this study aimed to determine the root causes that are influencing continuous movements. In this context, two geometric features of the strike-slip faults that form tectonic slices in the pit were proposed. The first one (α-angle) is the acute angle between the dip direction of the overall slope and the general trend of the strike-slip fault and it was used for the kinematic evaluation of the sliding potential of the tectonic slices. The validity of α-angle was confirmed by investigating its relationship with the factor of safety values. The second one (undulation angle, i) was used to determine the effective surface friction angle (ϕeff). Thereafter, ϕeff value was used in the deterministic finite element (FE) slope stability analyses as well as back analyses. Its effect on the stability of overall slopes was investigated for static and pseudo-static conditions with different water table levels. The FE results confirmed the monitored field displacement measurements. It was found that as α-angle decreases, the ability to resist sliding also decreases since the low α-angle promotes block formation. This study also demonstrated that using the undulation angles on mapped profiles of large-scale discontinuities (≥270 m) would be a promising approach for slope stability assessments of open pit excavations in tectonically disturbed metamorphic rocks. Full article
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