In this course concepts and tools related to risk and crisis management will be illustrated, discussed and analysed. The main objective is to provide students with basic notions regarding the definitions of hazard, risk, vulnerability, resilience, and mitigation. Such introduction will prepare them to confront with the challenges ahead in the master program, such as preparing a contingency plan or a spatial plan embedding prevention as one of its main goals.
International organisations devoted to disaster prevention and management as well as organisational models of civil protection existing in various countries will be presented in order to make students aware of the tremendous complexity involved in any risk and crisis situation. Fundamental requirements established in international agreements, national and international directives, laws that can be considered as relevant references in the field of risk mitigation and reduction, will be analysed as well.
Besides, it will be shown how technical, organisational, juridical, social, economic, and political perspectives are inevitably blended in any serious decision regarding long or short term mitigation measures, the latter to be distinguished upon the time needed to develop their efficacy and to be fully implemented. The difference between structural and non structural measures will be also discussed, proposing criteria to find the best combination of the two tailored, to the specific situation at stake.
Real case studies will complement the theoretical approach of the course, to show how the latter has been developed by scientists in different fields observing and reflecting on processes and development of real events.
The exam consists in an oral discussion of the following issues: concepts and definitions discussed during lessons, exercises carried out during the semester, and readings suggested by the teacher.
Knowledge and understanding: knowledge of theories and tools for multi-risk vulnerability and risk assessment, based on both a probabilistic and a scenario approach. Knowledge of the main mitigation measures, both structural and non structural, that may be blended in different ways according to contexts and institutional capacity in different countries.
Applying knowledge and understanding: Exercises are proposed so as to apply concepts and tools of risk assessment and scenario modelling so as to make the entire subject less theoretical and more tangible in terms of planning and decision making implications.
Making judgments: the optimal result of this course should be developing a critical understanding of the results of risk assessments and the recognition of the value of multidisciplinary work. However this is not a compulsory requirement of this course, it is appreciated but not required.
Communication skills: students are required to interact in group to carry out their exercises and they must present the result of one assignment in particular that has to be developed over a number of weeks to their colleagues.
Learning skills: students are encouraged to go beyond the information that is provided during lesson, blending class material with their previous experience and studying and with exercises and reading. It is required that students develop their own understanding of what a risk assessment is, what are the main limitations to any risk assessment effort.
Required preliminary knowledge