Assessing the Vulnerability of Coastal Communities to Extreme Storms: The Case of Revere, Massachusetts, US
The impacts of hazardous events are usually unevenly distributed among and within nations, regions, communities and groups of individuals. Vulnerable groups are those who are likely to suffer a disproportionate share of the effects of hazardous events. For the purposes of this chapter, we draw on a growing literature of vulnerability studies (reviewed by Dow, 1992, 1993) to define ‘vulnerability’ to hazards as people’s differential incapacity to deal with hazards, based on the position of groups and individuals within both the physical and social worlds. Building on this literature, we see vulnerability, as we discuss in Chapter 14 of this volume, as a function of two attributes:
1 exposure (the risk of experiencing a hazardous event); and 2 coping ability, subdivided into resistance (the ability to absorb impacts
and continue functioning) and resilience (the ability to recover from losses after an impact).