Place- and Age-Responsive Disaster Risk Reduction for Hong Kong: Collaborative Place Audit and Social Vulnerability Index for Elders

Yi Sun, Pui Hing Chau, Moses Wong, Jean Woo

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This study reformulates the concept and contents of disaster risk reduction (DRR) in Hong Kong through an explorative study on collaborative place audit (CPA) and social vulnerability index (SVI) for elders. We believe that DRR should be place- and age-responsive. Accordingly, DRR needs to go beyond technical concerns and address vulnerability and risk encountered in the built environment where an individual is located. A place-centered DRR begins with an assessment of person–environment relations from an interdependent perspective. Community becomes a significant scale at which to address vulnerability and risks across a range of environmental, socioeconomic, and institutional factors. A CPA is a ground-level assessment tool that identifies vulnerability and risk in the built and social environment. The audit encourages collaboration in problem solving that uses social capital to effect decision-making change in hierarchies and policy networks. Age-responsive DRR facilitates distinguishing living-alone elders from the general population. This perspective addresses varying degrees of vulnerability due to social and communicational isolation, poverty, disability, being sent to hospital and/or receiving institutional care, as well as lack of access to primary care. Accordingly, SVI, based on compound indicators, is developed to assess the differentiation of vulnerability across the territory with particular reference to the elders. These two approaches, namely, CPA and SVI, build community capacity to develop a resilient city, as well as to provide evidence-based recommendations that improve government-led disaster preparedness and contingency plans.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-133
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017


  • Disaster risk reduction
  • Hong Kong
  • Place audit
  • Social capital
  • Social vulnerability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Safety Research
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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