Special Issue "Natural and Human-Made Hazards Impacts on Urban Areas and Infrastructure"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Tourism, Culture, and Heritage".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Maria Bostenaru Dan

Guest Editor
Department of Urban and Landscape Design, “Ion Mincu” University of Architecture and Urbanism, 010014 Bucharest, Romania
Interests: multi-criteria decision in disaster management; early 20th century architecure; housing
Dr. Elena Petrova
Guest Editor
Lomonosov Moscow State University, Faculty of Geography, 119991 Moscow, Russian Federation
Interests: natural hazards impacts on technological systems and infrastructure; technological disasters

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Hazards, all the way up to disasters, in urban areas, can be approached in various ways, but by far the most suitable way of examining them is that of focusing on their impact. This has been the approach of choice for scientists in the fields of natural sciences and of engineering, and more recently, also social sciences. By contrast, planning to improve prevention or even post-disaster intervention has not been as deeply researched.

In the look to hazards we follow the classification from the book by Cristina Olga Gociman "Tipologia hazardului și dezvoltarea durabilă. Generalități, concept, problematică" (Bucharest: "Ion Mincu" Publishing House, 2000).

We aim at the following natural hazards, but not limited to:

- geological hazards such as earthquake, volcanic eruptions, landslides, giant waves such as tsunami and others,

- meteorological hazards such as heavy rainfall, snowfall, and related movements, heavy winds such as storm, cyclone, hurricane, lightning, drought, flood,

- cosmical hazards.

We aim at the following human-made hazards, but not limited to:

- deforestation, pollution, armed conflict, and terrorism.

As a result, we aim at the following complex hazards:

- fire and forest fire, desertification, explosion, hazards related to water reservoirs, chemical accidents, nuclear accidents, mass migration, epidemics, landscape aggression (including demolition).

The complex relationship between natural and human-made hazards in order to result in complex hazards. We give the example of fire as one of the possible complex hazards (but migration, ex. climate migration, and epidemics as current hazards can also be considered). It can be investigated how drought or thunder from a storm can lead to forest fires as in the recent example in Australia but also recurrent fires in Portugal, Greece, California but not only which affect urban areas and transport infrastructure. Drought and pollution and neighboring fire can lead to urban heat islands. Recent examples of fire hazard affecting heritage in restoration include Notre Dame in Paris, only one example from several of the kind (Bistrița church and Banu Manta in Bucharest, Manege Militaire in Quebec city, the Glasgow school of arts, etc.) which can be put in connection with the potential how also wildfire may have an impact on protection of localities against risks. All these can be considered addressing the following research questions.

The aim of this Special Issue is to gather multidisciplinary views from (landscape) architecture, urban planning, seismology, geography, structural engineering, communication sciences, and history on a set of problems including but not limited to:

  1. Assessment and mapping methods of natural and human-made hazard impact on urban areas and infrastructure (both prevention and post-disaster);
  2. Visualization and communication techniques of assessing impact, including GIS, digital humanities, 3D;
  3. Impact reduction strategies for natural and human-made hazards on urban areas and infrastructure;
  4. Suitable urban planning methods to mitigate disaster impact in multihazard cases;
  5. Partnership models between actors involved in decision processes to mitigate disasters;
  6. Urban planning instruments for risk management strategies (e.g., the Master plan);
  7. Lessons learned from the relationship among hazard, vulnerability, and impact in recent events;
  8. Investigation of urban morphology for better estimations of urban vulnerability (interaction between close buildings, the influence of the position of buildings on soil);
  9. Investigation of urban morphology to evaluate post-disaster accessibility of strategic buildings, the role of street patterns for emergency vehicles;
  10. Quantitative methods of vulnerability through surveys—the role of statistics;
  11. Interactions between urban subsystems which can increase/diminish vulnerability;
  12. The difference between the approaches to impact in protected urban areas and that in common areas;
  13. Keeping in mind the role of heritage habitat in reconstruction/reshaping efforts after disasters.

Dr. Maria Bostenaru Dan
Dr. Elena Petrova
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

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.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • urban planning
  • multicriteria decision
  • heritage
  • disaster management

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
Indicators for Post-Disaster Search and Rescue Efficiency Developed Using Progressive Death Tolls
Sustainability 2020, 12(19), 8262; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12198262 - 08 Oct 2020
Cited by 1
Search and rescue (SAR) is often the focus during the post-disaster response phase. It is operated under the principle of the “golden 72 h”; however, the actual efficiency of each operation lacks a standard for review. On the basis of continuously updated death [...] Read more.
Search and rescue (SAR) is often the focus during the post-disaster response phase. It is operated under the principle of the “golden 72 h”; however, the actual efficiency of each operation lacks a standard for review. On the basis of continuously updated death toll data during the SAR cases of 51 earthquakes and 10 rainfall-induced disasters, this study developed indicators corresponding to various death tolls for reviewing the time costs and the progress of different stages of SAR. Through analysis of the established indicators, the results showed that said indicators are capable of evaluating the efficiency of SAR. These indicators also revealed that earthquake cases, with or without serious secondary disasters (e.g., tsunamis), significantly affected SAR efficiency. The regression results showed that the SAR efficiency of rainfall-induced disasters is much lower than that of earthquake disasters. Additionally, it was shown that the first casualty reports are typically late and that SAR works last a long time, highlighting the difficulty and possible delay of SAR works during rainfall-induced disasters. Previous studies and analyses might have been able to make subjective descriptions of each SAR operation; however, this study quantitatively indicates the difference between actual and expected efficiency under specific death tolls. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Why Italy First? Health, Geographical and Planning Aspects of the COVID-19 Outbreak
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5064; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12125064 - 22 Jun 2020
Cited by 13
COVID-19 hit Italy in February 2020 after its outbreak in China at the beginning of January. Why was Italy first among the Western countries? What are the conditions that made Italy more vulnerable and the first target of this disease? What characteristics and [...] Read more.
COVID-19 hit Italy in February 2020 after its outbreak in China at the beginning of January. Why was Italy first among the Western countries? What are the conditions that made Italy more vulnerable and the first target of this disease? What characteristics and diffusion patterns could be highlighted and hypothesized from its outbreak to the end of March 2020, after containment measures, including a national lockdown, were introduced? In this paper, we try to provide some answers to these questions, analyzing the issue from medical, geographical and planning points of view. With reference to the Italian case, we observed the phenomenon in terms of the spatial diffusion process and by observing the relation between the epidemic and various environmental elements. In particular, we started from a hypothesis of the comparable economic, geographical, climatic and environmental conditions of the areas of Wuhan (in the Hubei Province in China, where the epidemic broke out) and the Po Valley area (in Italy) where most cases and deaths were registered. Via an ecological approach, we compared the spatial distribution and pattern of COVID-19-related mortality in Italy with several geographical, environmental and socio-economic variables at a Provincial level, analyzing them by means of spatial analytical techniques such as LISA (Local Indicators of Spatial Association). Possible evidence arose relating to COVID-19 cases and Nitrogen-related pollutants and land take, particularly in the Po Valley area. Full article
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