Modelling Coastal Vulnerability focuses on the vulnerability of societies in low lying coastal and deltaic environments to tropical cyclonic storms and floods. Models that explore vulnerability under various planned and unplanned conditions hardly exist. Within the Andhra Pradesh Cyclone Hazard Mitigation Project an Expert Decision Support System (EDSS) was designed and implemented linking coastal vulnerability to integrated coastal zone management (ICZM). This model development provided unique material and experiences for the research presented here. The interpretation and critical inquiry of the model has led to new knowledge on the design of such a model as well as on the use of its results in reducing vulnerability through planning.
The Andhra Pradesh Cyclone Hazard Mitigation Project commenced in August 1999 as part of a World Bank loan to the Government of Andhra Pradesh, India. This project became unique in several ways. A Real Time Operational Early Warning System for cyclone related storm surges was developed. The wind hazard and rainfall that accompany such storms were addressed. The reduction in the long term vulnerability through integrated coastal zone management also received attention. Indeed, an Expert Decision Support System (EDSS) for ICZM for the analysis of the various policy options that could reduce vulnerability in the long term was developed.
In September 2006 I began this PhD research at the Faculty for Technology, Policy and Management of Delft University of Technology with co-financing from my employer Deltares. By then the EDSS - ICZM was already completed by an interdisciplinary team which I had the privilege of leading. The experience of developing and finalising the model inspired me to undertake this PhD research focussing on both the design process and the evaluation of the model. By reflecting critically on the model design and its applicability, this research generates new knowledge on the integration of vulnerability aspects in long term sustainable development. Hence, the model in this research is the object of enquiry, not its result. Therefore the thesis consists of three parts: Part 1 describes the experience, Part 2 is a literature study and Part 3 consists of the evaluation of the model. This structure reflects the somewhat unconventional character of the research set-up as reported in this thesis.
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