Evaluating the Flood Vulnerability of Urban Areas in Polk County, Iowa  using Social-Ecological-Technological Framework

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. This is version 1 of this Preprint.

Add a Comment

You must log in to post a comment.


There are no comments or no comments have been made public for this article.


Download Preprint


Atiye Beyza Cikmaz , Jerry Mount, Ibrahim Demir


The escalating prominence of floods globally, with their catastrophic potential to inflict substantial losses in terms of both human lives and economic resources, underscores their significance. Particularly susceptible to flooding between May and July, the US Midwest faces heightened risks during this critical period, characterized by the highest average precipitation rates of the year. Flood vulnerability assessments furnish organizations with crucial insights into expected extreme events and strive to mitigate potential harm from these risks. The Social-Ecological-Technological (SETS) framework, a comprehensive flood vulnerability assessment method, highlights the significance of aligning natural, technological, and demographic systems to comprehend and effectively address the complexity of natural hazards, facilitating the achievement of optimal results. In this study, the relationship between the 500-year flood event and the SETS vulnerability indices formed by 18 selected parameters was examined for Polk County, Iowa. Moreover, linear regression and spatial autocorrelation analyses were conducted on vulnerability indices. The results indicated that the S-E-T vulnerability map, which is the combined effects of all social, ecological, and technological exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity parameters considered, the areas most impacted to damage are identified as the highly populated downtown Des Moines, where urban development is concentrated along a highway (I-235) and large industrial buildings. When looking at all the vulnerability maps produced, the number of census block groups in the very high vulnerability class is low. However, in Polk County, it has been presented that there is strong spatial autocorrelation indicating that vulnerability index values are highly clustered. These findings will support sustainable approaches and stronger contextual solutions for city managers and practitioners that decrease the risks of flooding in Polk County communities.




Civil and Environmental Engineering, Risk Analysis


social-ecological-technological systems, Flood Risk, vulnerability, resilience, Risk assessment, Urban planning, GIS, Flood Risk, vulnerability, resilience


Published: 2024-07-08 17:23

Last Updated: 2024-07-09 00:23


No Creative Commons license

Additional Metadata

Conflict of interest statement: