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25
Italian Journal of Engineering Geology and Environment, 1 (2016)
© Sapienza Università Editrice
www.ijege.uniroma1.it
DOI: 10.4408/IJEGE.2016-01.O-03
A
rmAndo
monTAnArI
(*)
, L
ucA
DERAVIGNONE
(*)
& B
ArBArA
STANISCIA
(*)
(*)
Sapienza University of Rome - Department of European, American and Intercultural Studies- Piazzale Aldo Moro, 5 – 00185 Rome, Italy
Corresponding author: barbara.staniscia@uniroma1.it
SOCIO-ECONOMIC IMPACTS UNDER DIFFERENT SEA-LEVEL RISE SCENARIOS:
ANALYSIS AT LOCAL LEVEL ALONG THE COASTAL AREA OF ROME (ITALY)
EXTENDED ABSTRACT
Il tema dell’innalzamento del livello del mare (SLR) è spesso associato, in letteratura, ai cambiamenti climatici e all’azione
dell’uomo nel modificare la natura e l’ambiente. Si tratta di un tema lungamente e ampiamente dibattuto, come dimostra la vasta
letteratura prodotta. Se non vi è totale convergenza nel definire l’aumento in termini quantitativi, vi è, però, unanimità nell’affermare
che tale aumento avrebbe effetti negativi, dannosi o, addirittura, disastrosi, data la grande massa di popolazione mondiale che risiede e
opera in prossimità della costa. Il SLR è causato da diversi fattori naturali – di natura globale e locale – e legati anche all’attività umana.
Gli impatti del SLR sono di tipo naturale-ambientale e di tipo socio-economico.
Lo studio che qui si presenta riguarda gli effetti socio-economici di un ipotetico SLR lungo il litorale romano (Italia), nel Municipio
di Ostia. Si tratta di uno studio alla scala locale, che utilizza dati micro-territoriali sviluppato nel contesto del progetto FP7 SECOA –
Solutions for Environmental Contrasts in Coastal Areas (www.projectsecoa.eu); lo studio vuole porsi come strumento per supportare e
facilitare i policy makers nei loro processi decisionali. L’articolo presenta gli effetti di due scenari di SLR: quello ipotizzato da IPCC
e quello ipotizzato nello studio di Rahmstorf, entrambi nel 2007; essi considerano, rispettivamente, un innalzamento di 0.2-0.6 metri e
di 1.00-1.40 metri, entro il 2100.
La superficie costiera inondata nello scenario IPCC è pari a ca. 876 mq mentre quella inondata nello scenario Rahmstorf è pari
a ca. 690322 mq. Considerando la maggiore significatività delle aree inondate nello scenario Rahmstorf – rispetto a quelle inondate
nello scenario IPCC –, è stata eseguita una simulazione includendo, oltre alla fascia costiera, una buffer zone di 10 mt oltre la nuova
linea di costa generata da tale scenario. Si è ritenuto opportuno introdurre tale buffer zone per calcolare i danni e i conseguenti costi
dell’inondazione. In tale circostanza, l’area inondata risulta pari a ca. 833,335 mq ed è caratterizzata dai seguenti usi: natural habitat (ca.
69580 mq), open space (ca. 660,694 mq, il 9.2% delle aree open space presenti nel Municipio di Ostia), aree residenziali, commerciali,
del terziario (ca. 62,205 mq), aree portuali (ca. 40,857 mq, il 13% delle aree portuali del Municipio di Ostia).
Il territorio di Ostia è stato sottoposto ad intensi processi di urbanizzazione che hanno coinvolto molte aree che sarebbe stato più
opportuno lasciare al loro stato naturale. Le piene del fiume Tevere, di conseguenza, portano con sé notevoli problemi di gestione delle
acque e, in alcuni casi, generano veri disastri ambientali e tragedie umane. La fascia costiera è stata sovrautilizzata con l’installazione di
stabilimenti balneari che da strutture temporanee si sono trasformati in strutture permanenti, senza soluzione di continuità. Tali strutture
da un lato negano una facilità di accesso al mare, dall’altro sono esposte al rischio di distruzione in caso di SLR. Le abitazioni costruite
a ridosso della strada litoranea, le attività commerciali e terziarie lì localizzate sono anch’esse aree a rischio.
La simulazione degli effetti e degli impatti di un SLR sulla popolazione e sulle attività economiche nel caso di studio di Ostia si è
rivelata importante per la sua capacità informativa e comunicativa. L’utilizzo di scenari alternativi e di mappe ha consentito il confronto
con i decisori pubblici e i rappresentanti locali. E’ stato, così, possibile sensibilizzare gli attori territoriali sulle conseguenze di eventi
naturali che si trasformano in disastri solo a causa del non corretto intervento umano.
La ricerca potrebbe utilmente continuare seguendo tre percorsi complementari: (i) per rendere più user friendly i risultati delle
simulazioni. Ciò al fine di rendere la popolazione più consapevole dei rischi naturali e, quindi, favorire processi virtuosi di gestione
del territorio. Dalle mappe, quindi, si potrebbe passare a simulazioni tridimensionali con possibilità di interazione da parte dell’utente;
(ii) per includere nell’analisi i costi economici che la collettività subirebbe in seguito alla perdita di immobili, di posti di lavoro, di
infrastrutture a causa del SLR; (iii) per considerare, infine, i costi che la collettività dovrebbe sostenere per controllare gli effetti e gli
impatti territoriali del SLR.
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A. MONTANARI, L. DERAVIGNONE & B. STANISCIA
26
Italian Journal of Engineering Geology and Environment, 1 (2016)
© Sapienza Università Editrice
www.ijege.uniroma1.it
ABSTRACT
Sea-level rise (SLR) is often associated with climate change
and human action in modifying nature and the environment. The
research presented in this paper concerns the effects and impacts
of different SLR hypotheses in Italy, along the Rome coastal
area, in the Ostia district. The study was carried out at the local
level, using micro-spatial data, in the context of the European
Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) project SECOA
– Solutions for Environmental Contrasts in Coastal Areas; its aim
is to offer local policy makers a tool to support and facilitate their
decision-making processes. Effects and impacts are analysed and
presented for two alternative SLR scenarios. The first one follows
the hypotheses made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change (IPCC), the second one those made by Rahmstorf, in 2007.
The two scenarios consider a SLR of 0.2-0.6 m and 1.00-1.40 m,
respectively, by the year 2100. The coastal surface area flooded
in the IPCC scenario equates to ca. 876 m2, while the flooding
in the Rahmstorf scenario totalled ca. 690,322 m2. Damages in
terms of loss of land with different uses, loss of dwellings, loss
of jobs, need for a relocation of resident population are the most
severe estimated impacts of that extreme event of the Rahmstorf
scenario.
K
eywords
: climate change hypothesis, sea level rise (SLR),
coastal areas, socio-economic impacts, coastal management,
public policy
INTRODUCTION
Coastal areas are the focus of numerous studies regarding
environmental changes and socio-economic effects and im-
pacts, which was one of the main topics of investigation of the
FP7 project SECOA – Solutions for Environmental Contrasts in
Coastal Areas (www.projectsecoa.eu; F
IschhendLer
et alii, 2012;
W
ILLIAms
, 2012; K
hAn
et alii, 2013a, 2013b; m
onTAnArI
, 2013;
L
An
et alii, 2014; m
onTAnArI
, 2014; d
I
Z
Io
& s
TAnIscIA
, 2014).
Sea-level rise (SLR) is often associated in a part of the scien-
tific literature, with climate change and human action in modify-
ing nature and the environment. These topics have been discussed
widely and at length, as confirmed by the abundant literature.
A full convergence in the measurement of SLR has not been
reached, while there is complete agreement that SLR produces
negative global and local effects that are damaging or even dis-
astrous for the environment and the very large proportion of the
world’s population located along the coasts.
The research presented in this paper concerns socio-econom-
ic effects consequential of this hypothesis and impacts of SLR
in Italy, along the Rome coastal area, in the Ostia district. The
study was carried out at the local level, using micro-spatial data,
in the context of SECOA; its aim is to offer local policy makers
a tool to support and facilitate their decision-making processes.
Effects and impacts are analysed and presented for two alterna-
tive SLR scenarios developed in the SECOA project (SECOA N.
1.1, unpublished internal report). The first one follows the hy-
potheses made by IPCC (2007), the second one those made by
r
AhmsTorF
(2007). The two scenarios consider a SLR of 0.2-0.6
m and 1.00-1.40 m, respectively, by the year 2100 (SECOA N.
1.1, unpublished internal report). It is the first time that the socio-
economic effects and impacts of SLR are assessed in the Ostia
district of Rome.
The paper begins with a literature review of SLR, its environ-
mental and socio-economic effects and impacts; it continues by
presenting the methodology and by describing the data; a pres-
entation of the case study - the Ostia district - follows; then, the
socio-economic effects of the simulated SLR are shown and dis-
cussed; finally, conclusions are given.
SEA LEVEL RISE: CAUSES AND IMPACTS. A LIT-
ERATURE REVIEW
Sea-level changes have been observed and studied through-
out history. This phenomenon had, indeed, been noticed by Hero-
dotus, Eratosthenes, Xenophanes, Strabo and Aristotle. Aristotle,
as G
eIKIe
(1897) reminds us, wrote: “The sea now covers tracts
that were formerly dry land, and land will one day reappear where
we now find sea”. What has been worrying scientists – and, more
recently, citizens and policy makers – for some decades, is an
increase in the sea level. It has been estimated that the mean sea
level has risen by an average of 1.7±0.3 mm/year since 1950
(c
hurch
& W
hITe
, 2006; n
IchoLLs
& c
AZenAve
, 2010). This in-
crease was estimated in the Eighties to reach between 0.5 and 2.0
m by 2100 according to the U.S. Environmental Agency (h
oFF
-
mAn
et alii, 1983). That estimate was later rescaled to tens of
centimetres (m
eIer
, 1990). According to a study conducted by
the IPCC (1990), SLR will reach 0.3-0.5 m by 2050 and 1 m by
2100. The research carried out by T
ITus
& n
ArAyAnAn
(1996)
concludes that there is a 50% probability that, as a consequence
of the Earth’s temperature, SLR will exceed 34 cm by 2100 and a
1% probability that SLR will exceed 1 m. Among the most recent
forecasts, r
AhmsTorF
(2007) estimates a sea level in 2100 be-
tween 0.5 and 1.4 m greater than the 1990 sea level, IPCC (s
oLo
-
mon
et alii, 2007) estimates that sea level will increase up to 0.6
m by 2100, while P
FeFFer
et alii (2008) present the hypothesis of
an increase of over 1 m.
If on one hand the uncertainties are very high, on the other
SLR is a worrying phenomenon, given the large population con-
centrated in coastal areas: in fact, 1.2 billion people worldwide
live within 100 km from the coast and up 100 m above sea level;
the population density along these strips is approximately three
times higher than the world average (s
mALL
& n
IchoLLs
, 2003;
s
AhIn
& m
ohAmed
, 2014). In addition, 10% of the world’s popu-
lation is concentrated along the coastal areas at very low level,
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SOCIO-ECONOMIC IMPACTS UNDER DIFFERENT SEA-LEVEL RISE SCENARIOS: ANALYSIS AT LOCAL LEVEL
ALONG THE COASTAL AREA OF ROME (ITALY)
27
Italian Journal of Engineering Geology and Environment, 1 (2016)
© Sapienza Università Editrice
www.ijege.uniroma1.it
less than 10 m above sea level (m
c
G
rAnAhAn
et alii, 2007).
SLR is provoked by several global and local factors, linked to
natural phenomena and human action.
The global factors include the following (W
ALKer
, 1992; T
I
-
Tus
& n
ArAyAnAn
, 1996; s
oLomon
et alii, 2007): (i) Increase in
atmospheric CO
2
and concentrations of other greenhouse gases.
This alters the Earth’s temperature, generating global warming
and, as a consequence, modifies the volumes of oceans and seas
through thermal expansion, and, finally, their level. In addition,
the warmer climates over Greenland and Antarctic would have
a very strong influence through ice melting; (ii) Movements in
the Earth’s crust; (iii) Movements of small glaciers and the re-
lated water flows into the oceans and seas; (iv) Alteration in ocean
base shape through sea floor subsidence and compaction and mid-
ocean ridge growth; (v) Water storage in the atmosphere, ground
and on the surface.
Among the local and regional factors, the following are wor-
thy of mention (W
ALKer
, 1992): (i) Deformation of the geoid’s
surface as glacial ice and ocean water quantities and positions
vary; (ii) Localized and plate tectonic activity; (iii) Localized
subsidence and compaction; (iv) Atmospheric (wind, precipi-
tation, storm surges), hydrologic (runoff), and oceanographic
(ocean currents) variations.
The factors due to human action include the following
(W
ALKer
, 1992; s
AhAGIAn
et alii, 1994; n
IchoLLs
& c
AZenAve
,
2010): (i) Alteration of the subsurface by withdrawal of fluids
(water, oil, gas); (ii) Disturbance of the sediment input to the
oceans by mining, river damming and surface water diversion;
(iii) Thermal and other pollution; (iv) Modification of shoreline
configuration and nearshore profiles; (v) Reclamation and land
use changes; (vi) Alteration of relevant atmospheric conditions
such as air temperature.
Impacts of SLR are natural-environmental and socio-economic.
Natural and environmental impacts are relevant for the sea
and, above all, coastal areas; the softer, sandier and narrower
the coast is, the greater the effects are (
vAn
der
m
euLen
et alii,
1991). W
ALKer
(1992) highlights that the impact on shorelines
will vary greatly by shoreline type and slope. Hard rock coasts
will be changed slowly; sandy beaches and marshes may be
destroyed rapidly. The extent of shoreline retreat due to rising
sea levels will be a function of nearshore and onshore gradients.
Furthermore, land adjacent to the shoreline may be impacted by
a rising sea level. The effects can include submergence and in-
creased flooding (B
AArse
& r
IjsBermAn
, 1987; m
c
L
eAn
et alii,
2001; n
IchoLLs
& c
AZenAve
, 2010), the loss of land because of
landward erosion (m
c
L
eAn
et alii, 2001; n
IchoLLs
& c
AZenAve
,
2010), modification of drainage patterns, siltation (T
urner
et alii,
1996), saltwater intrusion into groundwater (T
urner
et alii, 1996;
n
IchoLLs
& c
AZenAve
, 2010) and changing salinities in coastal
aquifers (K
jerFve
, 1991; m
c
L
eAn
et alii, 2001).
The negative spatial and socio-economic impacts are numer-
ous (W
ALKer
, 1992; T
urner
et alii, 1996): (i) For the fish industry,
since only a few centimetres rise in sea level can alter wetlands,
negating their value as nursery grounds. Deeper water also means
a higher base level, allowing waves to overcome sea walls more
frequently; (ii) For industry, transportation and commerce, since
SLR causes structural problems for harbours, airports and all the
industrial and commercial structures and infrastructures located
in the vicinity of the coast. The same problems occur also as a
consequence of coastal erosion; (iii) For agriculture and aqua-
culture; (iv) For tourism, leisure and recreational activities; (v)
For residential areas and real estate; (vi) For culture and heritage
sites; (vii) For life expectancy. SLR is the cause of a loss of dry
land and wetlands; even in the case that these areas are not inhab-
ited or utilised, they are still a potential resource that is destroyed.
Sea intrusion could, in addition, provoke salinisation of freshwa-
ter and make this land uninhabitable. This is particularly true in
the case of small islands and atolls.
These impacts cause an increase of the vulnerability of coast-
al zones. SLR costs and vulnerability can be assessed in different
ways. T
urner
et alii (1996) define vulnerability as “a multidi-
mensional concept encompassing biophysical, socio-economic,
political, and ethical factors. It also includes the institutional
capability or capacity of a region or a country to cope with or
manage the impacts as well as the relevant physical and socio-
economic dimensions”. IPCC defines vulnerability as “the degree
to which a system is susceptible to, and unable to cope with, ad-
verse effects of climate change, including climate variability and
extremes. Vulnerability is a function of the character, magnitude,
and rate of climate change and variation to which a system is
exposed, its sensitivity, and its adaptive capacity” (P
Arry
et alii,
2007). s
AhIn
& m
ohAmed
(2014) identify the three main vari-
ables constituting vulnerability for a given area: (i) exposure, (ii)
sensitivity, (iii) adaptive capacity.
As well as the research concerning the effects of climate
change and SLR at the global and international scale (W
ALKer
et
alii, 1992; T
ITus
& n
ArAyAnAn
, 1996; T
urner
et alii, 1996; d
Ar
-
WIn
& T
oL
, 2001; L
I
et alii, 2009; n
IchoLLs
& c
AZenAve
, 2010;
B
oseLLo
et alii, 2012), there is also a remarkable amount of litera-
ture which enhances the need to concentrate on the effects at the
macro-regional, regional and local scale (
vAn
der
m
euLen
et alii,
1991;
den
e
LZen
& r
oTmAns
, 1992; d
Ay
et alii, 1995; m
c
K
enZIe
-
h
edGer
et alii, 2000; G
ornITZ
et alii, 2002; P
Arson
et alii, 2003;
h
ennecKe
et alii, 2004; h
oLmAn
et alii, 2005; c
ooPer
et alii, 2008;
n
IchoLLs
& c
AZenAve
, 2010; P
ArKInson
& m
c
c
ue
, 2011; Z
hAnG
,
2011; L
IchTer
& F
eLsensTeIn
, 2012; y
In
et alii, 2012; c
ooPer
et
alii, 2013; c
hAnG
et alii, 2014; s
AhIn
& m
ohAmed
, 2014); several
of these studies are based on the use of LiDAR and GIS. One
advantage of this scale of analysis is that stakeholders are more
involved and more reactive if SLR impacts can be shown at a scale
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A. MONTANARI, L. DERAVIGNONE & B. STANISCIA
28
Italian Journal of Engineering Geology and Environment, 1 (2016)
© Sapienza Università Editrice
www.ijege.uniroma1.it
that coincides with the one they operate in. Another advantage is
that the policies and the measures to be implemented in order to
tackle the effects of SLR involve regional and local decision mak-
ers. These parties are interested in learning the effects and risks
of SLR on their own territory in order to intervene with the most
appropriate measures (L
In
et alii, 2014).
Different scenarios are investigated by the studies assessing
the impacts of SLR. Five different equal-interval SLR scenarios
– 0, 0.5, 1, 1.5 and 2 m – are proposed by L
IchTer
& F
eLsensTeIn
(2012). m
ArTInIch
et alii (2013) use three different scenarios, de-
fined as “low scenario” (28.5 cm SLR by 2100 compared to 1990
levels), “mid scenario” (66.9 cm SLR by 2100 compared to 1990
levels), and “high scenario” (126.3 cm SLR by 2100 compared to
1990 levels). F
eLsensTeIn
& L
IchTer
(2014) propose a combina-
tion of possibilities that lead to the following scenarios: 1 and 2 m
SLR; a 1:50 year 1-m high tide superimposed over 1 and 2 m SLR
and a 4-m tsunami superimposed over 1 and 2 m SLR.
Several variables are used for measuring the impacts; the
choice of them depends on the spatial scale of analysis, the
scope of the research and the definition used for vulnerabil-
ity. Among the most significant variables, we can include the
following: (i) People at risk over time due to coastal flooding
(L
IchTer
& F
eLsensTeIn
, 2012; s
AhIn
& m
ohAmed
, 2014); (ii)
People at risk by occupational status and earnings (L
IchTer
&
F
eLsensTeIn
, 2012); (iii) Socially vulnerable individuals at risk
(m
ArTInIch
et alii, 2013; F
eLsensTeIn
& L
IchTer
, 2014); (iv) Ar-
eas at risk (loss of land) due to inundation and coastal flooding
(P
ArKInson
& m
c
c
ue
, 2011; s
AhIn
& m
ohAmed
, 2014), classi-
fied by land use and land type (L
IchTer
& F
eLsensTeIn
, 2012);
(v) Property at risk, property damage and asset vulnerability
(m
ArTInIch
et alii, 2013; F
eLsensTeIn
& L
IchTer
, 2014;); equip-
ment and infrastructure at risk (L
IchTer
& F
eLsensTeIn
, 2012);
(vii) Response modes and costs of adaptation (m
ArTInIch
et alii,
2013; K
uLPrAneeT
, 2013).
MATERIALS AND METHODS
In order to collect all the different types of variables considered
in this study, especially environmental, socio-economic and SLR
related, different data sources have been used. The first taken into
account was the variable to analyse the current coastline situation
and identify the future SLR affected areas.
The current shoreline was reconstructed starting with a
LiDAR (G
rAnT
, 1995) flight survey made in the year 2010 within
the scope of the SECOA FP7 project (SECOA, N. 1.1). This
method offers high precision with sub-metre measurements of
both elevation and horizontal dimensions, allowing the creation
of high precision DEMs. The area surveyed by LiDAR included a
strip of all the analysed coast, in order to acquire a high precision
elevation model of the entire area. Analysis and development
of the points cloud, including interpolation of the points, was
necessary in order to reconstruct the current shoreline.
Based on this dataset, two different SLR hypotheses were
tested, the IPCC (2007) and r
AhmsTorF
’s (2007), both relating to
the year 2100, forecasting a SLR of 0.2-0.6 m and 1.00-1.40 m,
respectively. The original raster layers were converted to vectors
in order to create the polygons representing the submerged area
for the two different hypotheses. By overlapping these polygons
with the current map of the area, we were able to draw the
future coastline for both IPCC and Rahmstorf hypotheses. In
the scenarios presented herein, occasional precipitation-driven
flooding is not considered, therefore all the submerged areas
taken into account should be considered affected by permanent
inundation by the year 2100.
The main datasets necessary for this approach had to consider
at minimum information on land use, population and housing,
and also jobs, including industry and services.
For the land use the main source available for the area is
CORINE Land Cover, available for the year 2000 for most of
Europe. This cartography is organized into 44 classes, and the
resulting classification, mostly based on a goal of environmental
protection, is mapped at a resolution of 1:100,000.
For the purposes of our study we decided to aggregate these
classes into main macro categories: agriculture areas, industrial
areas, industrial/commercial areas, natural habitat, open space,
and mixed residential/office/government/commercial areas.
Minor categories such as airports and port areas were also
considered due to their high socio-economic impact on human/
goods mobility, as were road networks. Usually, only major
infrastructure like highways are classified by CORINE Land
Cover in this last category, while roads and streets located in
urban areas are considered as part of the area where they are
located and of the related category. This is another aspect to
consider for the purpose of correctly evaluating and weighting
the socio-economic effects of SLR.
In terms of the quality of mapping, CORINE Land Cover is of
a lower level (i.e., lower spatial resolution) compared to the LiDAR
used for the SLR maps. When it comes to comparing the coastline,
apart from the difference in acquisition date (2010 for LiDAR and
2000 for CORINE Land Cover), a significant difference in quality
is noticeable between the two, depending on the original scale of
the datasets. This aspect was also common to the other cartographic
data sources, and was taken into account when choosing a specific
approach for the calculations, as later explained.
For population information, a key source was the 2001 Census
data from Italy’s National Institute for Statistics ISTAT (I
sTAT
,
2001a). The variables included in this dataset, distributed over
nearly 200 fields, mostly concern information about population
and housing. The tables containing all the alphanumeric data
from the Census were joined in GIS to the relative polygon layer
census tracts in order to map the spatial distribution of population
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SOCIO-ECONOMIC IMPACTS UNDER DIFFERENT SEA-LEVEL RISE SCENARIOS: ANALYSIS AT LOCAL LEVEL
ALONG THE COASTAL AREA OF ROME (ITALY)
29
Italian Journal of Engineering Geology and Environment, 1 (2016)
© Sapienza Università Editrice
www.ijege.uniroma1.it
and all the other variables included. The quality of the vector
layer was similar to that of CORINE in this case too, and the
coastline did not match up precisely even between these two.
Regarding the economic variables, and related to the
Population Census, ISTAT has carried out a Census for Industry
and Services, also available for the year 2001 (I
sTAT
, 2001b),
which gives data on local units classified by economic sectors.
This dataset is joinable to the same cartographic dataset as census
tracts, as they are based on the same spatial subdivision.
Once all the datasets had been collected, the second step was
to map all the socio-economic and environmental data in order to
spatially distribute them on a common GIS platform. This provides
a view of the areas, and more specifically the census tracts and the
land-use units, overlapped by the two inundation models.
It was necessary to assign a unique ID to the different
records, matching the corresponding ones on the map. This entire
task was accomplished in a GIS environment by an automatic
join procedure. Since CORINE Land Cover and census tracts
are based on a different land subdivision, the procedure was
performed separately, given that the IDs were also different.
As previously explained, we had to deal with different scales
and quality of the cartographic datasets, especially in regard to
the differences in the coastlines derived from LiDAR and the
other cartographic sources. In order to keep the resulting errors as
low as possible we decided to take the LiDAR as the only correct
source for the current and future shorelines when considering the
overlapping areas.
The third step followed, in which some GIS spatial queries
were performed to identify the areas affected by flooding,
in particular to find the polygons crossed by the IPCC, the
Rahmstorf and the 10 m buffer-area layers. Since it is not
possible to know the exact location of buildings or populations
inside the areas, all the entire polygons affected by flooding
were considered. To better calibrate this procedure, we also
considered that it is not even possible for a building to be
located immediately on the shoreline, so we decided to make a
new layer considering a minimum buffer of 10 metres from the
coastline determined by the Rahmstorf hypothesis. In this case
the IPCC hypothesis was not taken into account because the
records in a 10 m buffer were the same, and in general the areas
to be considered were small.
Due to the issues related to the different cartographic
datasets, an absolute area calculation of the inundated areas was
also not possible, so it was decided to consider it relatively. As
a matter of fact, since every polygon is initially characterised
by a unique ID, it is possible to later identify all its parts and
perform a calculation considering the original polygon area and
the ones concerned by inundation in the different hypotheses. It
has to be noticed that “cutting” the original polygons is useful
for calculating areas but, from this point on, the records are no
longer useful for performing other quantitative analyses due to
the resulting duplicates.
Once all the third step operations had been performed on
GIS, different tables were exported in order to better filter and
process the records, thus obtaining summary statistics for each
flooding scenario. Specifically, three tables were exported: one
relating to all census variables, one to local units, and one to land
use. This was necessary in order to keep the calculations separate
and perform them without repetitions, as previously explained.
Moreover, in order to mark and subsequently find the records
during all the different stages of the analyses, some Boolean
fields (1-0, present-absent) were created on the GIS platform
in order to identify the District of Ostia, the no-data records
from the two considered Censuses (I
sTAT
, 2001a and 2001b),
the records affected by IPCC and Rahmstorf hypotheses, and
the previously mentioned 10 m buffered area. This allowed the
records to be filtered and the desired operations and calculations
to be performed at all times.
PRESENTATION OF THE CASE STUDY: GEOGRA-
PHY AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT PROCESSES
IN THE OSTIA DISTRICT (ROME, ITALY)
Ostia is a District (Municipio) of the City of Rome. It is lo-
cated on the Tyrrhenian coast and covers a surface area of ca. 150
km
2
, with a resident population of around 220,000 inhabitants.
The families of numerous foreign workers living in Ostia should
then be added to this figure, both those who are and are not le-
gally registered; these persons live there as the accommodation
costs are lower and also due to the possibility to temporarily use
second homes during the low tourist season. There are also sev-
eral persons, living in other areas of the city, spending free time
along the coast during the summer. There are numerous bathing
establishments offering leisure services and use the narrow strip
of sand remaining between the land and sea.
The beach is subject to continual erosion due to the reduced
contribution of sand from the Tiber River, from the intensive hu-
man use of the coastal area, from the constant increase in the sea
level, as well as rapid temporary variations in the sea level (T
Ar
-
rAGonI
et alii, 2014). The Region of Latium has intervened by
financing beach nourishment, taking aggregates from the offshore
sandy bottom. But the problem of erosion reoccurs regularly, and
the operators of the bathing establishments complain of the in-
creasingly meagre sandy area at their disposal. Some operators
have estimated the quantity of eroded sand at 150,000 m
3
, mean-
ing that 10,000 truckloads of sand would be required to restore
the dimensions of the previous sandy shore.
The coastal area of the city of Rome was urbanised begin-
ning in the 4
th
century BC. Initially this was a military encamp-
ment, replaced in the first century BC by a commercial settle-
ment connected to the port of Ostia. After the fall of the Roman
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A. MONTANARI, L. DERAVIGNONE & B. STANISCIA
30
Italian Journal of Engineering Geology and Environment, 1 (2016)
© Sapienza Università Editrice
www.ijege.uniroma1.it
Empire, the area was left exposed to pirate attacks and therefore
abandoned. The lack of any form of maintenance and continual
flooding from the Tiber transformed the area into a swamp from
the 5
th
century through to the 19
th
century. During this long pe-
riod of abandonment, the transformations occurred due to the
characteristics of three geomorphological areas: (i) A wooded
area of hills which contributed to the flooding of the areas be-
low; (ii) A marshy area (iii); The coastal dunes formed by the
action of the wind which impeded the meteoric and flood waters
from draining into the sea. Malaria made survival in these lo-
cations impractical, and the only possible activities were wild
rearing and salt production.
The situation radically changed during the course of the
19th century, when Rome became capital of the Kingdom of
Italy in 1870. It was considered unacceptable for such insalu-
brious areas to exist so close to Rome, and therefore they were
reclaimed and subsequently given back over to agriculture. A
drainage system was therefore put into place by building a se-
ries of canals, of which the main ones are the Pescatori, Drag-
oncello and Palocco canals. The water lifting stations were in-
augurated on December 16, 1889, and in a little over 12 days
the waters of the Ostia marshes, an area measuring 1,500 hec-
tares, were pumped into the Pescatori canal. But this reconver-
sion policy was unsuccessful due to the residual salinity of the
reclaimed land, which was therefore not sufficiently productive
for agricultural purposes.
In the 1920s it was decided to create a residential beach town
in the area, located around 30 km from the centre of Rome, con-
nected by a railway and a fast highway. In 1933 the area received
the name of Lido di Roma (Rome beach) and was included in the
general plan of EXPO 1938, which provided for the expansion of
Rome towards the sea. Ostia was then thought of as the “Third
Rome”, to be built along the Tyrrhenian Sea. The plan provided
for a strip of residential land along the coast with holiday homes
for Rome’s middle classes, and a more densely populated area
further inland for the working class.
After the end of the Second World War, Ostia underwent
more intensive and informal development sustained by construc-
tion speculation, with little attention to architectural design and
quality. In the last few decades, Ostia has become ever more a
“dormitory” town for Rome, with a population spending most of
its time working in the city centre.
Beyond Ostia is the Pineta di Castelfusano (Castelfusano Pine
Forest); measuring 1,000 hectares, the Pineta was planted during
the 18
th
century for the production of pine kernels. The protected
area of Castel Porziano and Capocotta, along with the nearby ur-
ban park of Castel Fusano, covers a surface area of around 7,000
hectares (Fig. 1).
Today, the number of houses not permanently occupied, as
they are used for holiday homes or are rented unofficially, in-
cluding to unregistered immigrants, remains high: 25-30% in
Ostia Ponente and Ostia Levante, and 60-70% in Castel Fusano
and Castel Porziano. The property values are still two or three
times less than those in the centre of Rome. For this reason,
around 40,000 people have moved to Ostia over the course of
the last 20 years.
Ostia’s beaches have around 60 bathing establishments, small
and medium-sized enterprises which welcome thousands of
beach-goers a day during the summer months, and many others
for night-time recreational activities both during the summer and
the rest of the year. Ostia is nevertheless far from being merely
a tourist destination: due to its vicinity to the Fiumicino inter-
national airport, arrivals number 200,000 a year, bringing the
number of persons present to 440,000.
Ostia was built on marshland and is easily flooded each time
the level of the Tiber rises, above all in combination with par-
ticular climatic conditions such as high tides, extreme baromet-
ric lows and southerly winds which increase the effects of the
sea level rise. Another problem is the supply of potable water
in relation to a number of consumers that is difficult to estimate
precisely, for the reasons outlined above. The number of these
occasional, or unidentifiable, users is difficult to determine, but
it is estimated to be equivalent to the number of officially reg-
istered consumers.
The permanent rise of the sea level, with temporary peaks,
contributes to a rise in the level of the water table, with a risk of
flooding in the inland residential areas of Infernetto, Saline, Stag-
ni and Bagnoletto. This makes the terrain unstable and leads to
breakages in the mains water supply sewerage systems. Incidents
of this type occur frequently. The most serious occurred on May
1, 2011 when the town water pipeline burst, opening up a five-
metre-deep chasm in the street. In the Infernetto area on October
20, 2011, a Sri Lankan citizen drowned in his basement apartment
that had been flooded by a sudden rise in the water table follow-
ing an intense and prolonged downpour.
RESULTS: FLOODING SCENARIOS AND SOCIO-
ECONOMIC IMPACTS IN THE OSTIA DISTRICT
(ROME-ITALY)
The Ostia district is normally subject to flooding due to the
Tiber bursting its banks. It was therefore decided to ascertain
what would happen in the event of a rise in the sea level. The SLR
impact analysis for the Ostia District considered the two different
scenarios – IPCC and Rahmstorf – already mentioned in section
3. The coastal surface area flooded in the IPCC scenario equates
to ca. 876 m
2
, while the flooding in the Rahmstorf scenario to-
talled ca. 690,322 m
2
(Fig. 2)
In the first case the flooded zone only involved the port areas
(marina), while in the second scenario the areas affected included
the following uses: open space (ca. 55,9867 m
2
), natural habi-
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SOCIO-ECONOMIC IMPACTS UNDER DIFFERENT SEA-LEVEL RISE SCENARIOS: ANALYSIS AT LOCAL LEVEL
ALONG THE COASTAL AREA OF ROME (ITALY)
31
Italian Journal of Engineering Geology and Environment, 1 (2016)
© Sapienza Università Editrice
www.ijege.uniroma1.it
tat (ca. 53,765 m
2
), port areas (31,749 m
2
), residential areas and
areas devoted to commercial and tertiary activities (44,941 m
2
).
Considering the greater significance of the areas flooded in
the Rahmstorf scenario compared to the IPCC scenario, a simula-
tion was performed including a buffer zone of 10 m beyond the
new coastline generated by that scenario as well as the coastal
strip. Including this buffer zone was considered appropriate in or-
der to calculate the damage and consequent costs of the flooding.
Under these circumstances, the area flooded totalled ca. 833,335
m
2
, falling under the following uses: natural habitat (ca. 69,580
m
2
), open space (ca. 660,694 m
2
, 9.2% of the open space area
Fig. 2 - Ostia district, a visual interpretation of the IPCC and Rahmstorf
inundation hypotheses. Source: authors’ own elaboration
Fig. 1 - Ostia district, land use pattern. Source: authors’ own elaboration based on CORINE, 2000
background image
A. MONTANARI, L. DERAVIGNONE & B. STANISCIA
32
Italian Journal of Engineering Geology and Environment, 1 (2016)
© Sapienza Università Editrice
www.ijege.uniroma1.it
present in the Ostia District), residential areas and areas devoted
to commercial and tertiary activities (ca. 62,205 m
2
), and port ar-
eas (ca. 40,857 m
2
, 13% of the Ostia District’s port areas) (Fig. 3).
The residential buildings involved numbered 539, along with
1600 dwellings and 38 buildings devoted to commercial and terti-
ary activities (I
sTAT
, 2001a). The economic consequences of the
losses in the residential areas and areas devoted to commercial
and tertiary activities, using average market values as of 2011
(BIR, 2011), can be estimated at €144,367,000. Infrastructure
losses should then be added to this, particularly losses in terms
of road capital stock.
The resident population affected by the flooding who would
then have to find new accommodation (people to be relocated)
totals 2261 persons, 229 of them foreigners (I
sTAT
, 2001a). Of
these residents, 399 are below 14 years of age and 240 over 65.
The community at risk of flooding - given their national and local
context - is fragile in terms of their independence and self-suf-
ficiency, both social and economic. Its dependency ratio indeed
stands at 39.4, and the proportion of foreigners at 10%.
An analysis of the level of education showed that 122 persons
were in possession of a university degree (representing 7% of the
population aged over 20), and 592 held a high-school diploma or
leaving certificate (34% of the population aged over 20). From
this we can infer that 60% of the adult population has no educa-
tion beyond Italian compulsory schooling, and this represents an
element of fragility in the impacted community.
The work force/labour force affected by the flooding totals
1033 individuals, of whom 848 are employed. Of those employed,
most (77%) are contracted employees, while a minority (18%) are
business owners, freelancers and professionals. This is therefore an
area strongly characterised by low, yet guaranteed incomes, in the
public sector (212 employees); by salaried work with varying in-
comes in industry (182 employees); and by independent work, with
normal business risk, in commerce, and in accommodation (176
employees). Taking the average gross annual income for 2012 in
the Rome area (MEF, 2013), the economic damage sustained by the
community would equate to € 22,230,000. Added to this cost would
be the inactive persons economically dependent on these workers,
consisting of 299 home-makers, 110 students, and 147 retirees.
The number of jobs put at risk by the flooding totals 1377,
with 245 local units of enterprises and institutions involved. The
sectors of economic activity most exposed are, in order: technical,
consultancy, transport, family and business services and services
supplied to the public administration (number of jobs: 759); edu-
cation, health and social services, personal services to families,
and the activities of associations and NGOs, recreational, cultural
and sporting activities (number of jobs: 209); hotels, restaurants,
cafés and bars (number of jobs: 187); manufacturing, energy and
construction industry (number of jobs: 113); wholesale and retail
sales (number of jobs: 109).
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS
The Ostia area has, in recent decades, undergone intensive ur-
banisation, which has taken place in many areas that should have
best been left in their natural state. Flooding of the Tiber, as a
consequence, brings with it significant problems in terms of water
management, as well as full-on environmental disasters and hu-
man tragedies in some cases. The coastal strip has been overused,
with the installation of bathing establishments that have gradually
been transformed from temporary structures to permanent build-
ings, without any continuity. These structures on the one hand
deny access to the sea to non-customers, and on the other are
exposed to the risk of destruction in the event of SLR. The dwell-
ings built along the coastal road and the commercial and tertiary
activities located there are also at risk.
The simulation of the effects and impacts of SLR on the
population and economy of Ostia turned out to be important
due to its informative and communicative capacity. The use of
alternative scenarios and maps - that has already been proven
to be a powerful tool (m
onTAnArI
et alii, 2014) - along with
the presentation of a detailed set of key information, allowed
discussion with policy makers and the public at large. It has
thus been possible to familiarise the local players on the conse-
quences of natural events, which become disasters only due to
incorrect human intervention.
The main limit of the research presented is the lack of realism
of SLR of the proportions put forward by r
AhmsTorF
(2007), giv-
en the characteristics of the Mediterranean Sea. It can, however,
be used for international comparisons using the same base scenar-
io, and has been a useful tool for sensitising the local community.
The research could be usefully continued along three com-
plementary paths: (i) Making the simulation results more user
friendly. The purpose of this would be to raise the level of aware-
ness in the population of the natural risks, and therefore favour
better management of the area. From the maps, we could then
move to three-dimensional simulations, giving users the possibil-
Fig. 3 - Ostia district, land use of the inundated area under the
Rahmstorf hypothesis. Source: authors’ own elaboration based
on CORINE, 2000
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SOCIO-ECONOMIC IMPACTS UNDER DIFFERENT SEA-LEVEL RISE SCENARIOS: ANALYSIS AT LOCAL LEVEL
ALONG THE COASTAL AREA OF ROME (ITALY)
33
Italian Journal of Engineering Geology and Environment, 1 (2016)
© Sapienza Università Editrice
www.ijege.uniroma1.it
ity to interact; (ii) Incorporating the economic losses the commu-
nity would suffer from the loss of housing stock, work places and
infrastructure due to SLR into the analysis; (iii) Finally, consider-
ing the costs which the community would have to bear to control
the effects and impacts of the SLR on the area.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The research leading to these results received funding from
the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme FP7/2007-
2013 under grant agreement n° 244251 (SECOA project). Project
website: www.projectsecoa.eu.
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SOCIO-ECONOMIC IMPACTS UNDER DIFFERENT SEA-LEVEL RISE SCENARIOS: ANALYSIS AT LOCAL LEVEL
ALONG THE COASTAL AREA OF ROME (ITALY)
35
Italian Journal of Engineering Geology and Environment, 1 (2016)
© Sapienza Università Editrice
www.ijege.uniroma1.it
Received July 2015 - Accepted April 2016
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