The Search of an Adequate Framework for Hazard, Risk and Vulnerability Analysis: a focus on Renn’s Framework

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The Search of an Adequate Framework for Hazard, Risk and Vulnerability Analysis: A Focus on Renn’s Framework

In order to develop an adequate HRV analysis, it is critical to identify an appropriate framework within which to situate it. This paper begins with a review of various frameworks and analyzes their appropriateness to this task. The second section focuses upon Ortwin Renn’s (1992, 57) Systematic Classification of Risk Perspective.

The Search for a Framework

One of the problems of searching through the disaster management planning and mitigation literature for a suitable approach or framework is that, while authors often refer to approaches that are conducive to mitigation, they are seldom comprehensive. For example, Alexander’s (1991) pedagogical framework is based on a number of social “laws” derived from case studies (e.g., people tend to overestimate sensational hazardous events) and a series of tables (e.g., structural and non-structural methods of disaster mitigation, classifications of disasters by duration of warning and impact). Upon review, this “framework” is really just a series of related but separate lists of information, and it is utterly lacking in sound theoretical foundation. This was not uncommon, as many proposed frameworks consisted merely of checklists outlining key points derived from case studies (Alesch and Petak 1986, 223-34; Maskrey 1989, 91-99; Andrews et al. 1985, 138-42).
Other problems with purported frameworks were that they: (1) were seldom all-hazard in approach (Mileti et al. 1981; Hunt et al. 1985; Kates 1977); (2) dealt with only one phase of a disaster (Kreps et al. 1984; Rubin et al. 1985, 15; Berke et al. 1993); (3) dealt with only one aspect of the HRV process (e.g., vulnerability) (Winchester 1992); and (4) were directed towards the state, province, or nation (Drabek et al. 1983; Organization of American States 1990) (or towards organizational activities per se [Gillespie et al. 1993]) rather than towards the community. Nevertheless, the literature review identified several frameworks that were worthy of mention, if not for their inherent value as frameworks, then at least for their insights into hazard mitigation.
The following frameworks are reviewed: Siegel (1985), Kasperson and Pijawka (1985), and Godschalk et al. (1998). Siegel’s (1985) version of Foster’s (1980) framework has four main sections: (1) preparedness and planning (13 elements), (2) mitigation (9 elements), (3) disaster response (9 elements), and (4) disaster recovery (5 elements). He presents this framework as a series of steps, each one leading to the next. Disaster planning is at its least successful when it is conducted in a linear fashion, while it is at its most successful when conducted in a circular fashion. Siegel’s only reference to the public and political processes occurs when he deals with regulatory and legal system changes (e.g., communicating a new land-use regulation to the public). Although he acknowledges the need to consider disparate values and levels of risk acceptance, he considers only public officials and disaster managers: public participation is not an issue for him. Siegel’s work is, essentially, a list of steps rather than a framework.
Kasperson and Pijawka’s (1985) framework has as its goal the selection of mitigative strategies (see Figure 1), although they use the term “mitigate” with specific reference to disaster response and recovery planning. For them, hazard management has two essential functions: (1) intelligence (the provision of information essential to determining if a problem exists and its possible solutions) and (2) control (the design and implementation of mitigation measures). The hazard management process is defined as a loop of activity encompassing hazard assessment, control analysis, control strategy, and implementation and evaluation.

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