A spatial model for assessment of urban vulnerability in the light of the UN New Urban Agenda guidelines: case study of Assiut City, Egypt

Model Earth Syst Environ. 2022;8(3):3687-3706. doi: 10.1007/s40808-021-01281-7. Epub 2021 Oct 30.


Most cities in developing countries suffer environmental degradation caused by the growth of unplanned areas that sprawl in the cities. In the current paper, we attempted to integrate a set of selected UN-based urban indicators based on the New Urban Agenda (NUA) within a GIS framework to observe and assess some aspects of urban vulnerability among city districts based on deprivation. The vulnerability map for the districts in Assiut City was created through a spatial multicriteria evaluation model. Thirteen sub-indicators related to shelter, social environmental and economic situations have been assessed in the model using standardization, weighting and aggregation methods. Results revealed that: districts, namely, El Thaltha, El Owla, El Thania, and El Rabaa are most vulnerable in most scenarios, while districts, namely, El Sheyakha El Sabaa, and El Sadsa, El-Walidya El Qiblia and El-Hamra El Thania are among the least vulnerable zones. Results also revealed that vulnerable districts encompass the highest percentage of slums, highest density of population, highest rates for urban growth and poor connection to services. Eventually, we assume that the most vulnerable zones in the city are under the highest risk of airborne diseases including COVID-19 epidemic. Eventually, a subset of selected urban vulnerability indicators that could be triggering the spread of the pandemic was chosen for another spatial multcriteria model to delineate city zones under risk. The result revealed that expected high-risk areas exist in the south-west of the city and include El Thaltha, El Owla, El Thania and El Rabaa districts, while the least risk district is El-Walydia El-Qeblia. The applied methodology and its outputs could support decision makers in reviewing priorities, setting contingency plans, allocation of funds and raising resilience among the city districts.

Keywords: GIS; Models; Multi-criteria decision analysis; Sustainability indicators; Urban environment; Vulnerability.