The staff and the masterstudents of the Research Group for Geomorphology, Natural Hazards and Risk Research visited on their field day the Meierisli landslide, which was reactivated during February 2018. In the field the group discussed the dynamics of the slide, the relevance for the Gürbe River and tried to understand the role of the protective mearues. Subsequently you can see some highlights of the field day:

Die Gruppe beim diskutieren der verschiedenen Rutschgebiete
The group is discussing the several slides in the Gürbe catchement
Grosses Staunen mitten im Rutschgebiet
The group is impressed by the damage
Der Weg ist immer wieder durchbrochen von Bruchlinien
The road is damaged by a lot of tension and shear cracks
Die Meierisli Rutschung erreicht zum ersten Mal das Gerinne der Gürbe
For the first time the Meierisli slide reaches the Gürbe channel

Thomas Tahler, Andreas Zischg, Margreth Keiler, Sven Fuchs

Abstract As financing protection against mountain hazards becomes increasingly challenging and therefore investments have to be prioritized, dilemmas of justice emerge: some local governments and individuals benefit from natural hazard protection schemes, whereas others loose. Decisions on whom to protect often caused contradicting concepts of political understanding, which differ in interpretations of fair resource allocation and distribution. This paper analyses the impact of different philosophical schools of social justice on mountain hazard management in Austria. We used data from a spatially explicit, object-based assessment of elements at risk and compared potential distributional effects of three political jurisdictions. We found that—depending on the respective political direction—various local governments gain and others loose within the actual distributional system of mitigation strategies. The implementation of a utilitarian policy approach would cause that high income communities in hazard-prone areas would mainly benefit. Consequently, this policy direction would encourage the public administration to ignore their own failure in the past natural hazards management and prevention. On the other hand, following a Rawlsians approach mainly peripheral communities would gain from new policy direction who often show besides natural hazards problem mainly large socio-economic challenges. Finally, the most radical change would include the implementation of a liberalism policy, whereabouts the state only provides hazard information, but no further mitigation measures. These findings highlight the distributional consequences of future mountain hazard management strategies and point to the crucial selection of policy direction in navigating the selection of various adaptation schemes.

Keywords Social justice . Political economy . Risk reduction . Distributional consequences . Mountain hazards

Research topics for a Master’s thesis with the Geomorphology, Natural Hazard and Risk Research group are assigned based on current research topics (please refer to the research page).  

You can find the proposed topics for Master's thesis in the PDF below. If you are interested in one of these topics, please contact the contact person marked in the PDF providing the following informations:

  • short letter of motivation about the chosen topic
  • short CV about your studies, formations and experiences
  • list with completed courses (year, university, institute) with relation to the topic

We will be pleased to answer further questions by email or in a personal meeting. 

Information on current and completed Master’s theses can be found in the link below.

If you wish to write your Master’s thesis in cooperation with other research institutes (e.g. WSL, SLF) or government agencies, please consult with Margreth Keiler in advance.

Ein See, der sich zum Glück nur selten füllt

In den Bergen ist oft ein hoher Anteil der Bevölkerung von Hochwasser bedroht. Die wirklich grossen Schadenpotenziale liegen aber im Mittelland – zum Beispiel in Winterthur. Von Lukas Denzler

The Article in German can be downloaded below: