Assessing Earthquake Impacts and Monitoring Resilience of Historic Areas: Methods for GIS Tools
Historic areas (HAs) are highly vulnerable to natural hazards, including earthquakes, that can cause severe damage, if not total destruction. This paper proposes methods that can be implemented through a geographical information system to assess earthquake-induced physical damages and the resulting impacts on the functions of HAs and to monitor their resilience. For the assessment of damages, making reference to the universally recognised procedure of convoluting hazard, exposure, and vulnerability, this paper proposes (a) a framework for assessing hazard maps of both real and end-user defined earthquakes; (b) a classification of the exposed elements of the built environment; and (c) an index-based seismic vulnerability assessment method for heritage buildings. Moving towards the continuous monitoring of resilience, an index-based assessment method is proposed to quantify how the functions of HAs recover over time. The implementation of the proposed methods in an ad hoc customized WebGIS Decision Support System, referred to as ARCH DSS, is demonstrated in this paper with reference to the historic area of Camerino-San Severino (Italy). Our conclusions show how ARCH DSS can inform and contribute to increasing awareness of the vulnerabilities of HAs and of the severity of the potential impacts, thus supporting effective decision making on mitigation strategies, post-disaster response, and build back better.