Including informal housing in slope stability analysis - an application to a data-scarce location in the humid tropics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Empirical evidence from the humid tropics shows that informal housing can increase the occurrence of rainfall-triggered landslides. However, informal housing is rarely accounted for in landslide hazard assessments at community or larger scales. We include informal-housing influences (vegetation removal, slope cutting, house loading, and point water sources) in a slope stability analysis. We extend the mechanistic model CHASM (Combined Hydrology and Stability Model) to include leaking pipes, septic tanks, and roof gutters. We apply this extended model (CHASM+) in a region of the humid tropics using a stochastic framework to account for uncertainties related to model parameters and drivers (including climate change). We find slope cutting to be the most detrimental construction activity for slope stability, and we quantify its influence and that of other destabilising factors. When informal housing is present, more failures (+85 %) are observed in slopes that would otherwise have had low landslide susceptibility and for high-intensity, short-duration precipitations. As a result, the rainfall threshold for triggering landslides is lower when compared to non-urbanised slopes and comparable to those found empirically for similar urbanised regions. Finally, low cost-effective “low regrets” mitigation actions are suggested to tackle the main landslide drivers identified in the study area. The proposed methodology and rainfall threshold calculation are suitable for data-scarce contexts, i.e. when limited field measurements or landslide inventories are available.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3161-3177
Number of pages16
JournalNatural Hazards and Earth System Sciences
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 27 Nov 2020

Structured keywords

  • Water and Environmental Engineering


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