• Institution:
    University of Waterloo
  • Researcher(s):
    Robert Symmes
  • Supervisor(s):
    Simron Jit Singh
  • E-mail:
  • Project website

The Weight of Islands: A GIS-based material stock analysis of Grenada in the context of extreme weather and climate change

The building stock consumes large amounts of resources for maintenance and expansion, which is only exacerbated by disaster events where large-scale reconstruction must occur quickly. Recent research has shown the potential for application of material stock (MS) accounts for informing disaster risk planning. This research presents a methodological approach to analyze the vulnerability of the material stock in buildings to extreme weather events and sea-level rise (SLR) due to climate change. The main island of the Grenada, a Small Island Developing State (SIDS) in the Caribbean region, was used as a case study. A stock-driven approach based on a geographic information system (GIS) is used to calculate total MS of aggregate, timber, concrete and steel in buildings. The total MS in buildings in 2014 is calculated to be 11.9 Mt. equalling 112 tonnes per capita given that year’s population. Material Gross Addition to Stock (GAS) between 1993 to 2009 was 6.8 Mt and the average value over this time period is 4.0 tonnes/capita/year. In the year following Hurricane Ivan (2004) the per capita GAS for timber increased by 172%, while for other metals, GAS spiked by 103% (compared to average growth rates of 11% and 8%, respectively, between 1993 and 2009). A future hurricane “Ivan-II” scenario to hit the 2014 building stock was also developed and estimated a hypothetical loss between 135 kt and 216 kt of timber stock. The potential impact of sea level rise (SLR) is also assessed, with an estimated 1.6 Mt of building material stock exposed under a 2-meter scenario. Further, I argue that spatial material stock accounts have an important application in planning for resilience and provide indication of the link between natural disaster recovery and resource use patterns