Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Geography & Environmental Studies


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Bob Sharpe

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


This research project examines the Hazards of Place model of vulnerability (as developed by Cutter, 1996) to determine whether it is applicable in a Canadian context.

An in-depth case study of the Regional Municipality of Waterloo was used to determine whether the model accurately describes:

    1. emergency and community practitioners understandings of vulnerability and vulnerable populations in Waterloo Region
    2. emergency and community practitioners perceptions of the variables that influence vulnerabilities
    3. mitigation and preparedness efforts that could be enhanced and/or implemented to reduce the vulnerability of individuals and groups in Waterloo Region

To complete this study, in-depth interviews and surveys were conducted with a variety of emergency management practitioners and community organizations at the regional, as well lower-tier municipal levels. The results of the research indicate that the Hazards of Place model of vulnerability provides a reasonably accurate portrayal of emergency practitioners understanding of vulnerability, although some additional variables that influence vulnerability were introduced. Throughout this research, emphasis on building community and individual resilience was also promoted as a key factor in reducing the human and economic losses associated with disaster events. This led to an enhanced version of the ‘Hazards of Place’ model which recognized the layered and dynamic processes of vulnerability and resilience. Through this, a new understanding of the overall place resiliency was presented which merges the vulnerability and resilience literature to create a new understanding of the relationship between these two concepts.

Convocation Year