The challenges of dynamic vulnerability and how to assess it

Elsevier, iScience, Volume 25, 19 August 2022
de Ruiter M.C., van Loon A.F.

Recent disasters have demonstrated the challenges faced by society as a result of the increasing complexity of disaster risk. In this perspective article, we discuss the complex interactions between hazards and vulnerability and suggest methodological approaches to assess and include dynamics of vulnerability in our risk assessments, learning from the compound and multi-hazard, socio-hydrology, and socio-ecological research communities. We argue for a changed perspective, starting with the circumstances that determine dynamic vulnerability. We identify three types of dynamics of vulnerability: (1) the underlying dynamics of vulnerability, (2) changes in vulnerability during long-lasting disasters, and (3) changes in vulnerability during compounding disasters and societal shocks. We conclude that there is great potential to capture the dynamics of vulnerability using qualitative and model-based methods, both for reproducing historic and projecting future dynamics of vulnerability. We provide examples using narratives, agent-based models, and system dynamics.