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State of the art

The building is usually the object of mitigation/prevention strategies for various SUOD. Open spaces near and between buildings are normally excluded in such strategies [12–14]. Interactions between buildings and surrounding areas for risk reduction seem to be ignored, although they could lead to unpredictable critical safety conditions for urban areas (i.e. uncontrolled car parking or inaccessible streets may make unsuitable the nearby open areas). Besides, the combination between:

  • hazard sources (i.e. earthquake severity, terrorist act kind),

  • environmental factors (i.e. BE vulnerability, architectural layout, safe areas locations, environmental modifications during the event),

  • human factors (i.e. users’ presence, social attachment between users, reactions to surrounding stressors)

could provoke the adoption of risk-increasing behaviors by evacuees, determining effective users’ safety levels in emergency, thus affecting the whole community’s resilience [4].


But current assessment process approach normally considers separation by:

  • risk-affecting factors, especially for exposure-related elements (human factors),

  • causes and effects of SUOD/SLOD combination.


Moreover, for SLOD with a variable intensity over time (i.e. environmental pollution), risk reduction strategies marginally consider the potential of BE as a resilience-increasing element (i.e. typical strategies adopted to limit pollution are: vehicle stops, restriction of cars circulation, reduction of heating hours). Finally, mitigation strategies do not generally consider impacts on human response and users’ behaviors.

BE S2ECURe wants to overcome such general limits as follow: 

  1. lack of regulations/guidelines for outdoor BE since the attention is only focused on buildings: the combination of this aspect with limitations of open spaces resilience studies decreases the possibility to define effective strategies that could be applied in real cases. BE S2ECURe provides univocal BET analysis guidelines and integrates them with behavior-based analyses (by means of design tools) to produce resilience assessment index and outline mitigation actions. Guidelines oriented to typical and specific BET will be jointly provided 

  2. incomplete representation of real users’ behavior during the transition from close to open space and in outdoor BE: users’ behaviors and risk perception have been mainly investigated for indoor space (e.g. occupational safety and health), while such aspects are generally overlooked by design tools and systems for interaction with users applied to open spaces. BE S2ECURe promotes human response analyses in the considered disasters, by outlining common and peculiar behaviors, and defining related representation models that will be included in design tools for professionals/practitioners and in ontologies/system architectures for interactive building components/devices supporting evacuation 

  3. limited systematization (multi-scale/multi-hazard approach) in possible mitigation, prevention and risk control strategies between SUOD and SLOD. BE S2ECURe defines a multi-scale/multi-hazard strategy effectiveness indicator for different scenarios and resilience-affecting factors 

  4. inadequate attention to training, information and risk education: such aspects have been considered as strategic actions in some building uses (e.g. workplaces) but are still limited in buildings and absent in outdoor BE with specific conditions, i.e. constant (over) crowding during the time. Direct engagement of all users, support solutions to them in emergency and use of training to test solutions are still limited.


BE S2ECURe will include such actions (by including training through innovative immersive technologies as virtual reality) in considered BE, to increase users’ awareness and allow the effectiveness evaluation of proposed user-centered strategies.


The following specific advancements of knowledge in the state-of-the-art will be also achieved from BE S2ECURe targets.


Risks for exposed individuals increase in crowd conditions, since collective competition phenomena due to mass panic and cooperation phenomena due to social attachment could be combined and disturb crowd motion, up to response and hazardous areas abandonment delays, stampedes and related fatalities (i.e. crushed/trampled people) [7,15]. Methods to investigate crowd dynamics are well defined,  motion representation models have been proposed and assessment/design tools concerning spaces design and crowd management strategies in relation to general safety issues have been developed and applied [15,16]. Anyway, studies including earthquake and terrorist acts emergencies are limited, as well as studies combining such risks to crowding conditions and well-defined BE scale applications. BE S2ECURe will overcome these lacks in both WP1 and WP2 analysis activities, and WP4 modelling activities.

SUOD: earthquake and built environment

Previous studies defined methods for BE vulnerability assessment at a macro-scale (semeiotic methods) [17]. Such methods ensure: quick applications to wide scale context; an effective overview of earthquake-induced BE modifications affecting open spaces and infrastructures emergency conditions due to specific typologies and building-interference analyses; further deep analysis on particular BE elements. Researches also tried to outline influences of environmental modifications on pedestrians’ choices, behaviors and evacuation procedures, in indoor and outdoor scenarios [4,18]. Analyses on individuals’ motion quantities are rarely performed [7]. UNIVPM recently developed and validated EPES-Earthquake Pedestrians’ Evacuation Simulator, a probabilistic agent-based simulation model, for analyzing human behaviors in BE evacuation [19]. Through WP1 analysis tasks and WP4 modeling tasks, BE S2ECURe will overcome lacks about [7,18]: 

  • influence of gender, age, pre-event tasks and BE features (and related influence on human choices) 

  • differences between real world response and recommended behaviors 

  • relation with crowd conditions and high-density built spaces 

  • absence of direct links with behaviors-oriented solutions (compare also to WP6 outcomes)

SUOD: terroristic acts and built environment

Studies on terrorist acts are significantly limited but growing. They mainly involve: vulnerability assessment in significant scenarios [20], movement of people after attack, rescuers’ actions in first emergency phases [8]. The importance of understating and simulating such SUOD is rapidly growing, so as to be jointly applied with traditional evaluations and Law Enforcement Agencies training actions [21]. Hence, attempts in evacuation motion modelling [22] and proposal of related risk reduction solutions [8] have been provided. Through WP1 analysis tasks and WP4 modelling tasks, BE S2ECURe will overcome main limits as: 

  • attention focused on the attack itself and not on possible effects on crowd 

  • incomplete analyses on real world behaviors (as well as influence of gender, age, pre-event tasks and BE features) that could lead to limited effectiveness of simulated scenarios in terms of human response 

  • lack of significant analyses on outdoor scenarios

SLOD: pollution and heat wave in built environment

Studies regarding long-term effects on human health due to exposure to air pollution in EU are manifold [23]. They mainly refer to: causes definition and statistical analysis of collected data; effect on human’s health [24, 25], on climate change or on food and water quality [26]. Different actions, from regional policy to local regulation, has been proposed to mitigate the effects of pollutants. Current limits evidence poor correlation between different studies due also to the different scales/effect and applied methodology [27, 28]. In the past years, several mitigation actions have been studied and tested in different sectors [29], concerning: development of new products/building components (e.g. use of concrete or ceramic materials able to absorb dioxide and green roofs); high efficient buildings design (i.e. to buildings renovations); green open area design; electric mobility promotion. All these strategies have surely a great impact on pollutants emission reduction but a holistic view is needed. According to WP2 analysis tasks and WP4 modelling tasks BE S2ECURe will investigate the user’s perception of SLOD and will exploit BE as a whole for pollution risk mitigations (see in addition WP6 outcomes).

How to increase the built environment resilience

Assessment methods, also based on BIM, VR and AR tools, should include analyses of such hazardous interactions, and risk-reduction strategies should be oriented at enhancing communities’ resilience by means of interventions on: 

  • architectural spaces (i.e. BE layout) 

  • physical emergency facilities (e.g. building components including wayfinding and support devices) 

  • management emergency facilities (e.g. evacuation plan; first rescuers’ operation) based on effective human emergency responses

However, current strategies for defining risk-reduction interventions [4,8,30,31] are mainly based on building vulnerabilities (i.e. for earthquakes), geometrical aspects in urban fabric (for earthquake/terrorist acts in outdoors), evacuation layout and rescuers’ actions (i.e. for crowd safety), but they generally define human response according to a deterministic approach, or rather consider that all the exposed individuals will adopt best recommended behaviors in emergency. Finally, bases for emergency ontologies for intelligent systems/devices which include users’ involvement through virtual training have been defined but not yet applied to risk mitigation purpose, especially in multi-disaster/multi-scale approaches for resilient BE [10,32,33]. BE S2ECURe will overcome such limits through WP5 metric definition actions and WP6 risk-reduction strategies development tasks.




  3. H2020 workprogramme 2018-20: Annex 14-Secure societies - Protecting freedom and security of Europe and its citizens (i.e. SU-DRS01, DRS02, FCT01, FCT02); Annex 12-Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials (i.e. LC-CLA-04, SC5-1).

  4. Bernardini G, Quagliarini E, DOrazio M (2018) Strumenti per la gestione dell’emergenza nei centri storici. Edicom

  5. Angeon V, Bates S (2015) Reviewing Composite Vulnerability and Resilience Indexes: A Sustainable Approach and Application. World Development 72:140–162

  6. O’Brien W et al (2017) On occupant-centric building performance metrics. Building and Environment 122:373–385

  7. Bernardini G, Quagliarini E, D’Orazio M (2016) Towards creating a combined database for earthquake pedestrians’ evacuation models. Safety Science 82:77–94

  8. Bernardini G, Quagliarini E, D’Orazio M (2017) Grandi eventi e terrorismo: la progettazione consapevole della sicurezza delle persone. Antincendio 12 anno 69:12–28

  9. De Fino M et al (2018) “AUGMENTED DIAGNOSTICS” FOR THE ARCHITECTURAL HERITAGE. International Journal of Heritage Architecture 2:248–260

  10. Fatiguso F et al (2017) Resilience of Historic Built Environments: Inherent Qualities and Potential Strategies. Procedia Engineering 180:1024–1033

  11. Paolini R et al (2014) Assessment of thermal stress in a street canyon in pedestrian area with or without canopy shading. Energy Procedia 48:1570–1575

  12. Cremonini I (1994) L’approccio urbanistico alla riduzione del rischio sismico. Rischio sismico e pianificazione nei centri storici Metodologie ed esperienze in Emilia Romagna 13–122

  13. Olivieri M (2004) Regione Umbria. Vulnerabilità urbana e prevenzione urbanistica degli effetti del sisma: il caso di Nocera Umbra. Urbanistica-INU 44

  14. Currà E et al (2016) Seismic vulnerability and urban morphology, tools for urban and building integration. In: Strappa G, Amato ARD, Camporeale A (eds) City as organism. New visions for urban life, I. U+D, Rome, 473–484

  15. Bellomo N et al (2016) Human behaviours in evacuation crowd dynamics: From modelling to “big data” toward crisis management. Physics of Life Reviews

  16. Helbing D, Johansson AF (2010) Pedestrian, Crowd and Evacuation Dynamics. Encyclopedia of Complexity & Systems Science 16:6476–6495

  17. Mochi G, Predari G (2016) La vulnerabilità sismica degli aggregati edilizi. Una proposta per il costruito storico. Edicom

  18. Gu Z et al (2016) Video-based analysis of school students’ emergency evacuation behavior in earthquakes. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction 18:1–11

  19. DOrazio M et al (2014) EPES – Earthquake pedestrians evacuation simulator: A tool for predicting earthquake pedestrians evacuation in urban outdoor scenarios. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction 10:153–177

  20. Matsika E et al (2016) Development of Risk Assessment Specifications for Analysing Terrorist Attacks Vulnerability on Metro and Light Rail Systems. Transportation Research Procedia 14:1345–1354

  21. Albores P, Shaw D (2008) Government preparedness: Using simulation to prepare for a terrorist attack. Computers and Operations Research 35:1924–1943

  22. Li S et al (2017) A three-stage evacuation decision-making and behavior model for the onset of an attack. Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies 79:119–135

  23. European Environment Agency (2017) Air quality in Europe-2017, EEA Report n 12/2017

  24. Pascal M et al (2013) Assessing the public health impacts of urban air pollution in 25 European cities: Results of the Aphekom project. Science of The Total Environment 449:390–400

  25. ESCAPE European Study of Cohorts for Air Pollution Effects. project funded under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme.

  26. Lemonsu A et al (2015) Vulnerability to heat waves: Impact of urban expansion scenarios on urban heat island and heat stress in Paris (France). Urban Climate 14:586–605

  27. Savi S et al (2018) Heat wave risk assessment and mapping in urban areas: case study for a midsized Central European city, Novi Sad (Serbia). Natural Hazards 91:891–911

  28. The World Bank (2011) Methodology report. Calculating Multi-hazard City Risk. East Asia Infrastructure Sector Unit, Washington DC

  29. A plan for Sustainability and Resilience in Canada’s Capital Region (2012)

  30. Federal Emergency Management Agency (2009) Evacuee Support Planning Guide. FEMA P-760 July

  31. Commissione tecnica per la microzonazione sismica (2014) Manuale per l’analisi della condizione limite dell’emergenza (CLE) dell’insediamento urbano

  32. Taccari G et al (2015) Earthquake Emergencies Management by Means of Semantic-Based Internet of Things. In: Lecture Notes of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and​ Telecommunications Engineering. 318–327. Springer

  33. Onorati T et al (2014) Modeling an ontology on accessible evacuation routes for emergencies. Expert Systems with Applications 41:7124–7134



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