Semester Offering: January

Countries are experiencing a rise of economic, social and environmental losses due to frequent disasters occurring in urban areas. Recovering from a disaster and managing the same is a complex and demanding process that requires specialist knowledge and expertise. This course is designed to prepare people for careers and leadership roles in disaster management in an urban context. It is designed to provide students with the multidisciplinary knowledge and skills required to understand successful approaches and practices for disaster preparedness, mitigation, and addressing the management of disasters in the planning aspects of complex environments. It concentrates on key issues such as disaster resilience and urban risk management. The course also covers specific topics to support disaster management in urban areas, particularly community-based disaster management methods and urban risk capacity building.


Upon completion of this course, the students will be able to:

1.   Characterize the process of urban disaster risks and planning issues relating to sustainable urbanization.
2. Assess disaster risks using supporting techniques and tools for improving the capacity of disaster risk management in the urban context.
3.   Develop mitigation measures and working procedure to cope with disaster risks and management issues in urban environmental planning.




I.          Introduction
1.         Concept of Urban Disaster Management and Mitigation
2.         Trends in Urbanization and Challenges in Risk Reduction
3.         Issues and Significance of Disaster Risk in Urban Environmental Planning

II.        Disaster Risk Assessment in the Urban Context
1.         Concepts of Risk Assessment
2.         Vulnerability Assessment
3.         Assessment Techniques and Tools in Relation to Urban Environmental Planning
4.         Improving Capacity for Disaster Risk Management

III.        Mitigation Strategies– Structural Measures
1.         Pre-disaster Mitigation Strategies
2.         Structural Measures - Provision and Protection of Lifelines and Critical Facilities Against Hazards
3.         Post-disaster Mitigation Strategies
4.         Structural Measures - Provision and Rehabilitation of Infrastructure and Services

IV.       Mitigation Strategies– Non-Structural Measures
1.         Pre-disaster Environmental Planning and Land-use Planning
2.         Post-disaster Rehabilitation and Mitigation Planning
3.         Environmental Management Measures and Tools for Disaster Mitigation

V.        Community-based Disaster Management Practices – Field-based Case Studies
1.         Strategies to Live with Disasters
2.         Coping Strategies at the Household, Community and Local Levels
3.         Integration of Different Levels for Disaster Management for City Sustainability

VI.       Urban Risk Capacity Building
1.         Strategies to Live with Urban Risks
2.         Coping Strategies at the Household, Community and City Levels
3.         Partnership and Capacity Building for Risk Management




No designated textbook, but class notes and handouts will be provided.


1.    Wamsler, C. (2009). Urban Risk Reduction and Adaptation, VDM Verlag Dr. Muller Aktiengesellschaft &Co. KG, Saarbrucken, Germany.

2.  Twigg, J. (2004). Disaster Risk Reduction – Mitigation and Preparedness in Development and Emergency Programming, Humanitarian Practice Network.

3.   Pipkin, B., Trent, D. D., Hazlett, R. and Bierman, P. (2011). Geology and the Environment, (6th Edition).

4.      Varley, A. (1994). Disasters, Development and Environment, London: University College London.

5.     Pelling, M. (2003). The Vulnerability of Cities: Natural Disaster and Social Resilience, Earthscan, London



1.         Disasters, Wiley Online Library
2.         Disaster Risk Reduction, Elsevier
3.         Disaster Prevention and Management, Emerald
4.         International Development Planning Review, Liverpool University Press
5.         Urbanization and Environment, Sage


1.         IFRCRCS. (2010). World Disasters Report 2010 – Focus on Urban Risks.
2.         World Bank (2012). Building Urban Resilience – Principles, Tools and Practice.
3.         UN-HABITAT. (2010). The State of Asian Cities 2010/2011.
4.         UNDP. (2004). Reducing Disaster Risk – A Challenge for Development.
5.         UN/International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. (2004). Living with Risk – A Global Review of Disaster Reduction Initiatives.
6.         WHO. (2002). Environmental Health in Emergencies and Disaster: A Practical Guide.


·         Lectures: 45 hours
·        Self-study: 75 hours
·        Assignments: 45 hours
·        Group project: 15 hours


The teaching and learning methods involve lectures using multimedia presentation slides, discussions and assignments. Instruction manual and lecture outline are used as a base for focus of course delivery. Additional readings are also used to improve classroom discussions and take home assignments. A group project is given to enhance the knowledge and skills of students to gain practical experience.


The final grade will be computed from the following constituent parts: assignments (20%), mid- semester exam (30%), group project (10%), and final exam 40%). The mid- semester and final exams are closed book.

An “A” would be awarded if a student can elaborate the knowledge learned in class by presenting his/her own analysis from relevant journal articles and required readings. A “B” would be awarded if a student shows an overall understanding of all topics, a “C” would be awarded if a student meets below average expectation on both knowledge and analysis, and a “D” would be given if a student does not meet basic expectations in analyzing or understanding the issues presented in the course.