Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Evaluating Landslide Risk Management in Guatemala City through a Study of Risk Perception and Behavior Changes
by LaPorte, David, M.S., Colorado School of Mines, 2018, 105; 10816996
Abstract (Summary)

In October of 2015, a devastating landslide killed an estimated 350 people in the community of El Cambray II, located in a Guatemala City ravine, highlighting the need to manage landslide risk in precarious urban settlements in the area. This project evaluates landslide risk management in the Guatemala City metropolitan area to better encourage at-risk community members to change behaviors to reduce landslide risk. To evaluate specific risk management initiatives, the authors tracked changes in community members’ risk perception, knowledge and behaviors by surveying communities at different points in time during the implementation of initiatives. Using these factors as metrics, we demonstrate the degree to which these factors will change when a community-based risk management initiative is implemented in a precarious settlement. To characterize landslide risk perceptions, perception of landslide risk was compared to perception of other societal risks to which community members are exposed, and a rubric of relative knowledge of landslide risk was developed. A preliminary F-N (frequency of events vs number of fatalities) plot quantifies the degree of societal acceptance of landslide risk. Landslide risk faced by settlement residents was estimated with a preliminary landslide event database, for comparison to a quantified perception of risk to understand if communities perceive risk accurately, and to identify the level of intervention that would encourage behavioral change. Perceptions and knowledge of landslide risk are not being significantly changed by the studied initiatives, but behaviors are modestly changing, particularly for community members directly involved with the implementing organization. The results of this study are being shared with risk managers to improve their selection of initiatives, and to empower at-risk communities by incorporating their knowledge and perception of risk into risk management strategies.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Santi, Paul M.
Commitee: Lucena, Juan C., Zhou, Wendy
School: Colorado School of Mines
Department: Geology and Geological Engineering
School Location: United States -- Colorado
Source: MAI 57/06M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Geological engineering, Engineering
Keywords: Guatemala, Landslide, Risk analysis, Risk management, Risk perception, Urban settlement
Publication Number: 10816996
ISBN: 978-0-438-07739-3
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