Spring 2020 - 58298 - PA 388K - Advanced Topics in Public Policy
Planning for Disaster Resilient Cities
Background and Purpose of the Course
According to the World Health Organization, more than 3.5 million people have been killed and another million have been injured or left homeless as a result of natural disasters over the last three decades. Nationally, we have seen natural hazard related property losses escalate geometrically over the last 4 decades where billion dollar plus losses are now common place. An increasing body of scientific evidence suggests that climate change will only aggravate many of these destructive trends. Unless action is taken to reduce the toll of natural disasters, loss figures will only get worse as populations continue to concentrate in vulnerable urban and coastal areas. The goal within the US and the international community is to integrate hazard reduction policy and practice into the mainstream of community planning and development to create more disaster resilient societies and urban forms.
This course familiarizes students to natural hazards policy, planning and management so they can incorporate hazard reduction policies into their professional practice. Students will develop an understanding of how geologic, climatic and physical factors combine to produce selected natural hazards and their damage functions. We will examine the history of natural hazard events in the
U.S. and abroad. Students will also learn about the full spectrum of hazard reduction measures that can and should be employed for mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. However, the primary course emphasis will be on mitigation and recovery measures as these approaches offer the greatest promise for improved resilience in the long term. We will evaluate how various hazard reduction measures have performed through case studies of recent hazard events.
Lectures, guest speakers, class discussions, field work, individual and team projects, videos and assigned readings provide an array of learning opportunities. The class research project will look at the issue of climate change impacts to natural hazard risks, focused specifically on Austin’s adoption of the Atlas 14 flood data update. For the class project, we will work as a team to collectively assess changes to Austin’s flood hazard risk profile specially focused on vulnerable areas and populations. This will be followed by an assessment of resilience in the most at risk districts and neighborhoods. Building on the foregoing analysis, we will suggest planning and design options to help Austin enhance its flood disaster resilience in the face of climate change impacts.
Presentation of the class project will occur at the end of the semester.
The course is open to all graduate students in Community and Regional Planning, Latin American studies, Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Engineering, Geology, Geography, Government, Public Affairs, Sociology, and Business. Maximum enrollment is sixteen students.
Individual case study & seminar discussion (50%)
Each student will write a mitigation or disaster recovery best practice graduate research paper on a topic of specific interests to the student. The paper requires primary data collection and a presentation to the class on lessons learned in a brief PowerPoint led discussion.
Class team project / participation (35%)
The final project will be in the form of an integrated report with maps, findings and recommendations. We will create a powerpoint presentation and be prepared to present the findings to a guest panel. We will have class research meetings for part of class every two
weeks. The last three weeks of class are research time to meet in computer lab or in the class room.
Class participation (15%) – You are expected to attend all sessions, having completed all readings and be prepared to participate in class discussion. Students should come ready to talk about readings or be prepared to discuss guest speakers materials. I will seek volunteers for specific readings where students will lead off discussion with a brief summary of key insights of the article and one or two discussion points that would like to follow up on with the class as a whole – this applies to the class participation grade.
Islam, Tanveer and Jeffrey Ryan, 2016. Hazard Mitigation in Emergency Management, Waltham, MA: Butterworth-Heinemann.
Clements, Bruce W., and Julie Ann P. Casani. 2016. (2nd ed). Disasters and Public Health: Planning and Response, Waltham, MA: Butterworth-Heinemann.
Schwab, James, 2011. Hazard Mitigation: Integrating Best Practices into Planning. PAS Report, Chicago: APA Books.
John C. Pine, 2009. Natural Hazards Analysis: Reducing the Impact of Disasters, Boca Raton, FL. CRC Press.
Burby, Raymond J. (ed). 1998. Cooperating with Nature: Confronting Natural Hazards with Land- Use Planning for Sustainable Communities, National Academy of Sciences, Joseph Henry Press.
(*- signifies Supplemental Textbooks/Reports for additional background)
Additional articles are posted on Canvas by Topic for Each Week of the Class