A hierarchical pattern of urban social vulnerability in Shanghai, China and its implications for risk management

Honghuan Gu, Shiqiang Du*, Banggu Liao, Jiahong Wen, Congxiao Wang, Ruishan Chen, Bo Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Social vulnerability helps to identify the population groups who may disproportionally suffer from natural hazards. The social vulnerability index (SoVI) has equipped extensive efforts to assess social vulnerability over the past two decades. However, only a few studies have paid attention to the intra-city level social vulnerability, and knowledge gaps still exist in understanding the spatial patterns of urban social vulnerability. This paper presents a hierarchical pattern of urban social vulnerability by a SoVI assessment of the 5432 neighborhoods (residential committee, or juwei in Chinese) in Shanghai metropolitan, China. High SoVI occupies the city center; to its outside is a low SoVI belt, which is surrounded by medium–high SoVI in the vast suburbs and low SoVI appears in the local centers of the suburbs. This hierarchical pattern is highly significant for enhancing the understanding of urban social vulnerability. It can also facilitate urban risk management and enhance urban sustainability by identifying socially vulnerable communities and the vulnerable combination of social vulnerability and natural hazards. In this paper, an integration of the SoVI result and a flood scenario reveals vulnerable areas that should be high priorities on the agendas for mitigating flood hazards and social vulnerability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-179
Number of pages10
JournalSustainable Cities and Society
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Floods
  • Hierarchy
  • Risk management
  • Shanghai
  • Social vulnerability
  • Urban sustainability


Dive into the research topics of 'A hierarchical pattern of urban social vulnerability in Shanghai, China and its implications for risk management'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this