The paper discusses research criteria for mapping urban vulnerability, focusing on the elements at risk. The study works in the framework of the "case-study research" and takes in account the impacts of a specific hazard risk (seismic event) in the City of Gran Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The paper proposes a critical framework that addresses planning methods toward a more efficient support to face seismic hazard.The research question is how vulnerable are contemporary cities? And, is it possible to promote city resistance through more adequate knowledge about the assets at risk? So the study starts from the concept of risk as combination of hazard, vulnerability and exposure and propose a risk oriented methodology aimed at collecting and interpreting data about the comprehensive vulnerability of the city. Based on innovative structure of a dedicated GIS inventory, the model describes the elements at risk by a set of specific applying indicators purposely selected in order to mapping the exposure of the city to a seismic hazard and to represent urban vulnerability.