Description and Details

Geot­ech­ni­cal risk assess­ments are tra­di­tion­al­ly con­duct­ed in order to estab­lish the like­li­hood of an envi­ron­men­tal dis­as­ter occur­ing in an area through ana­lyz­ing the envi­ron­men­tal dynam­ics involved with a par­tic­u­lar area. A study done by Cos­ta Souza et al. ana­lyzes this tech­nique and its use through the aid of an envi­ron­men­tal jus­tice lens. Fas­ci­nat­ing­ly, the study notes that Italy is the coun­try with the high­est num­ber of both pub­li­ca­tions and authors writ­ing on the top­ic of envi­ron­men­tal risk.

When the stud­ies eval­u­at­ed were ana­lyzed through this lens, the study found that only about a fifth of them aligned with the prin­ci­ples of envi­ron­men­tal jus­tice, and none of the stud­ies addressed the top­ic direct­ly. The research paper chalks this up to a lack of a cul­ture of socioe­co­nom­ic analy­sis in the fields of risk analy­sis and clas­si­fi­ca­tion, and specif­i­cal­ly the field of geo­log­i­cal-geot­ech­ni­cal risk analysis.

The paper goes on to men­tion how the nature of these fields; i.e. that of a tech­ni­cal approach, involves method­ol­o­gy direct­ly con­trary to analy­sis in regards to sus­tain­abil­i­ty and socioe­co­nom­ic and envi­ron­men­tal fac­tors. Specif­i­cal­ly, in regards to the fact of the mat­ter that these papers are going to pri­mar­i­ly deal in ana­lyt­i­cal and math­e­mat­i­cal approaches. 

CEE sub­jects: Geot­ech­ni­cal Engi­neer­ing, Earth Systems

Discussion Questions

  • This paper states as truth that ana­lyt­i­cal and method­olog­i­cal approach­es are direct­ly con­trary to that of socioe­co­nom­ic analy­sis. What fac­tors con­tribute to this state­ment? How could this view­point be adjusted?
  • How could socioe­co­nom­ic analy­sis be includ­ed in geot­ech­in­cal risk assess­ments? Should it be included? 
  • Can you give an exam­ple or sce­nario where bet­ter under­stand­ing the com­mu­ni­ty make­up of an area may aid in geot­ech­in­cal risk assessments?