An integrated framework for environmental multi-impact spatial risk analysis

2019-01-30T10:00:28Z (GMT) by Valentina Ferretti Gilberto Montibeller
Quantitative risk analysis is being extensively employed to support policymakers and provides a strong conceptual framework for evaluating decision alternatives under uncertainty. Many problems involving environmental risks are, however, of a spatial nature, i.e., containing spatial impacts, spatial vulnerabilities, and spatial risk-mitigation alternatives. Recent developments in multicriteria spatial analysis have enabled the assessment and aggregation of multiple impacts, supporting policymakers in spatial evaluation problems. However, recent attempts to conduct spatial multicriteria risk analysis have generally been weakly conceptualized, without adequate roots in quantitative risk analysis. Moreover, assessments of spatial risk often neglect the multidimensional nature of spatial impacts (e.g., social, economic, human) that are typically occurring in such decision problems. The aim of this article is therefore to suggest a conceptual quantitative framework for environmental multicriteria spatial risk analysis based on expected multi-attribute utility theory. The framework proposes: (i) the formal assessment of multiple spatial impacts; (ii) the aggregation of these multiple spatial impacts; (iii) the assessment of spatial vulnerabilities and probabilities of occurrence of adverse events; (iv) the computation of spatial risks; (v) the assessment of spatial risk mitigation alternatives; and (vi) the design and comparison of spatial risk mitigation alternatives (e.g., reductions of vulnerabilities and/or impacts). We illustrate the use of the framework in practice with a case study based on a flood-prone area in northern Italy.