How can landslide risk accumulation be reduced?

26 February 2013, 12.00 PM - 26 February 2013, 12.00 PM

Venue: QB1.17. Speaker: Dr Liz Holcombe, Department of Civil Engineering

How can landslide risk accumulation be reduced in rapidly growing urban communities, and along roads, in developing countries?

Many areas of the world are at risk from landslides and their consequences; rainfall-triggered landslides particularly affect developing countries in the tropics. Two important drivers of landslide risk accumulation are rapid urbanisation, leading to the growth of densely populated communities on hazardous slopes, and the construction of roads in mountainous regions. Given these drivers, there is growing recognition that new approaches to designing, and delivering, landslide risk reduction measures on the ground are urgently needed.

This presentation will provide an overview of problems facing local civil engineers in respect of landslide risk in vulnerable urban communities, and along road networks. Key research challenges relate to developing physically-based models of slope stability suitable for a data-poor environment, identifying cost-effective hazard mitigation measures, and creating multi-disciplinary teams to implement them. Two case studies in the Eastern Caribbean demonstrate potential directions for future research. Both projects combine numerical landslide modelling with knowledge provided by local engineers and community residents. The first involves landslide risk assessment on the primary road network in St Lucia, in which pilot studies correctly modelled the locations of observed rainfall-triggered landslides and the associated 'clear-up' costs. The second case study outlines a community-based risk reduction methodology which improved slope stability in 12 landslide-prone urban communities. This methodology is now being promoted by the World Bank to government disaster management agencies in the ACP (Africa, Caribbean, Pacific) region.

Lunch will be provided in the Pugsley LT foyer area from 12:30pm

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