Planning for Emergencies and Disasters

URPL-GP.2645, 3 points.

Semester: Spring


The consequences of disastrous events are escalating in terms of lives lost, injuries, economic costs, adverse social conditions, and environmental destruction. Although the emergency field has a long history, it is undergoing a radical transformation given the global scale of emergencies, their diversity, and scale of their impacts requiring fundamental shifts in how information and services are developed and shared. The rapidity of action required when an emergency arises poses unique challenges to traditional planning and public service-related skills. This course gives students the capacity to understand, diagnose and develop planning and public service skills confront the causes, consequences, mitigation of and adaptation to a wide variety of emergencies and disasters. The events include natural hazards (such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, and tsunamis), accidents, terrorism, pandemics, and other extreme events such as climate change that affect and often have devastating impacts on social structures and the built and natural environments. The approach applies land use planning, risk analysis, the spatial representation of hazard areas (including tracking of disasters as they evolve), and statistical analysis of databases to the problems of understanding and reducing disaster consequences. Students will learn how to identify tipping points, i.e., when natural conditions become emergencies and the policy debates surrounding this, develop action timing, e.g., conditions for immediate action to save lives and resources, and use and interpret data on trends and patterns for the frequency, severity, and impacts of the consequences of disasters to assess hazards and their uncertainties. An understanding of effective strategies for resource allocation, social justice, public engagement and for disaster mitigation, response, and recovery are key aspects of the course. The course also includes knowledge of social and individual behaviors that are a foundation for understanding how people act in disasters, what can be done to influence behavior to save lives and property, and how to communicate risks at every stage - before, during and after disasters occur.



Semester Instructor Syllabus Link
Spring 2015Rae ZimmermanSyllabus
Spring 2014Rae ZimmermanSyllabus
Semester Instructor Evaluation Link
Spring 2014Rae ZimmermanEvaluation
Spring 2013Rae ZimmermanEvaluation
Spring 2012Zimmerman, RaeEvaluation
Spring 2011Zimmerman, RaeEvaluation
Puck with Street Sign

Zimmerman, Rae

Weekly Schedule:
Tue - 4:55 pm to 6:35 pm

Session Dates:
01/26/2015 to 05/11/2015

Bldg:GCASL Room:365