Estimating exposure of residential assets to natural hazards in Europe using open data

Dominik Paprotny*, Heidi Kreibich, Oswaldo Morales-Nápoles, Paweł Terefenko, Kai Schröter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
46 Downloads (Pure)


Natural hazards affect many types of tangible assets, the most valuable of which are often residential assets, comprising buildings and household contents. Yet, information necessary to derive exposure in terms of monetary value at the level of individual houses is often not available. This includes building type, size, quality, or age. In this study, we provide a universal method for estimating exposure of residential assets using only publicly available or open data. Using building footprints (polygons) from OpenStreetMap as a starting point, we utilized high-resolution elevation models of 30 European capitals and pan-European raster datasets to construct a Bayesian-network-based model that is able to predict building height. The model was then validated with a dataset of (1) buildings in Poland endangered by sea level rise, for which the number of floors is known, and (2) a sample of Dutch and German houses affected in the past by fluvial and pluvial floods, for which usable floor space area is known. Floor space of buildings is an important basis for approximating their economic value, including household contents. Here, we provide average national-level gross replacement costs of the stock of residential assets in 30 European countries, in nominal and real prices, covering the years 2000-2017. We either relied on existing estimates of the total stock of assets or made new calculations using the perpetual inventory method, which were then translated into exposure per square metre of floor space using data on countries' dwelling stocks. The study shows that the resulting standardized residential exposure values provide much better coverage and consistency compared to previous studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-343
Number of pages21
JournalNatural Hazards and Earth System Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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