Reformation of the Curricula on Built Environment in the Eastern Neighbouring Area



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Introduction


Principles of Disaster Mitigation and Reconstruction module addresses capacity gaps and shortcomings in current disaster management practices that were exposed by recent disasters, with particular emphasis on the role of the built environment. The module provides an opportunity for students to study contemporary issues surrounding disaster management theory and practice, including disaster risk reduction and disaster resilience, combined with the wider study of built environment applications across the disaster management lifecycle, thus providing a unique and intellectually challenging module of study. Students will be equipped with the skills needed to practice disaster mitigation, preparedness, response and long-term reconstruction of disaster affected built environments.

The module is designed for professionals working with, or who anticipate having responsibilities for increasing built environment’s resilience to disasters, and who wish to critically evaluate and improve their working knowledge of both theory and practice. These professionals may be working with or for local and national government agencies, relief agencies, private sector companies, public sector agencies, UN organisations, national and international aid agencies, civil and military services, and insurance appraisers and investigators.


  1. Module details


Programme title/s: Resilience Management

Level: PhD

Module title: Principles of Disaster Mitigation and Reconstruction

Module credits: 30

Semester(s) in which to be offered: Semester 1

Indicative learning hours: 150



Module tutors: ________________ (to be updated)
  1. Aims and intended learning outcomes of the module

    1. Aims of the module


The module aims to develop the skills and knowledge of the built environment professions and other professions working in disaster mitigation and reconstruction, so that they may reflect on and strengthen their capacity in strategic and practical aspects of disaster risk reduction and disaster resilience to mitigate the effects of disasters nationally and internationally.
    1. Learning outcomes

      1. Knowledge and Understanding


On successful completion the student will be able to:

  • Critically examine existing theories and practices of disaster risk reduction and disaster resilience to assess problems and evaluate alternative solutions

  • Apply in a systematic and creative manner participatory and socially responsible approaches to disaster risk reduction in the built environment

  • Manage effectively knowledge transfer and integration practices between relevant stakeholders

  • Apply recognised research strategies and techniques to produce sustained and logical arguments in order to address real world problems in disaster affected regions

  • Apply judiciously a broad array of analytical and problem solving skills to focus on resolving complex problems or issues in the practice of disaster mitigation and reconstruction in the built environment

  • Recognise and appreciate the professional and ethical responsibilities of the practising built environment professional in a disaster situation
      1. Key Skills


On completion the student will have had the opportunity to:

  • Think critically and creatively through argument and peer debate, and reflect critically on current practice and research on disaster mitigation and reconstruction of the built environment

  • Synthesise information from a number of sources in order to gain a coherent understanding of relevant theory and practice

  • Communicate effectively with non-specialist as well as built environment professionals at a range of levels

  • Consider user interaction with the built environment

  • Prepare and deliver coherent and structured verbal and written strategies, plans and reports

  • Apply problem solving and lateral thinking in a variety of disaster situations

  • Adopt a methodological approach to problem solving

  • Collect, analyse and record data, and present findings of research

  • Use web technology for research and on-line discussion boards in a synchronous and asynchronous way
  1. Semester dates and module structure


This Module is studied within one semester which has duration of 12 weeks. The module is sub-divided into learning packages with a typical duration of 2 weeks per each package. There are 6 learning packages which attract 30 credits in total. A clear schedule for the delivery of study materials and for assessment of work will be distributed at the commencement of the module. Students will also be provided with a schedule for learner support available to them through timetabled activities, for example tutorial sessions.

Week No

Learning package topic

1

Understanding disaster resilience

2

3

Phases of the disaster management cycle

4

5

Reducing risk and continuity management

6

7

Reinstating and supplying temporary services and shelter

8

9

Restoring major infrastructure and rehabilitating communities

10

11

Linking reconstruction to sustainable economic development

12


  1. Teaching methods


This module will be delivered using a combination of following teaching and learning methods.

Lectures: A lecture will comprise a discourse in which the lecturer introduces new material or expounds on material already presented. Visual aids will be used as appropriate. Students will be encouraged to ask questions and to take part in short discussions within the lecture context.

Tutorials: In tutorial periods, students will work on assignments under the supervision of the lecturer. During such periods, the lecturer will give personal instruction to individual students or to the class as a whole as appropriate. Students will be encouraged to identify problems with subject material and to initiate ideas relating to the topic.

Coursework: Students will be required to undertake coursework as part of the module. This coursework will fulfil two major functions:

  • form the basis of continuous assessment and contribute to the grade of the module

  • provide the basis for demonstrating integration and cohesion across different subject areas

At the beginning of the semester, students will be given their coursework tasks and a schedule of hand-in dates.

Project Work: A feature of the module is the use of project work. These periods of individual or group work on a prescribed topic will require students to interpret and respond to a task briefing, and initiate and control research and other techniques to develop a solution. Guidance from staff is available throughout project work, but students are encouraged to take personal responsibility for the learning process, thereby refining personal development and problem solving skills.

Self-directed Independent Study: A considerable emphasis is placed upon the importance of private study in the development of both knowledge and personal study skills, including the capacity for personal and independent thought, and this may include the study of syllabus topics or wider related industry issues.

Guest Lecturers: Experts in the field of disaster mitigation and reconstruction will be brought in to deliver some lectures.
  1. Module assessments and assessment procedure


The module will include both formative and summative assessment. Timely formative assessment on academic performance will be provided to all students. The learning packages of the module will contain formative assessment exercises, including objective and subjective. Objective assessment, frequently self-assessed, will provide means for students to confirm understanding of core principles and concepts. Subjective assessment, including extended-response questions and essays, will encourage reflective learning, analysis of case studies and consideration of practical applications in the field. Students will be encouraged to submit subjective work for feedback. Regular tutorials (typically one per Learning Package) will provide opportunities for students to reflect upon and discuss such exercises with the tutor and other students.

The module will include a single summative assessment that addresses the specific learning outcomes of the module. The precise nature of the assessment will vary, but typically include a portfolio that may encompass a report, essay, problem, or case study. The brief will encourage students to reflect on their own area of practice, experience or interest. Learning package lectures, tutorials and formative assessment will usually take place during weeks 1 to 12 of the semester. A briefing for the summative assessment will take place in week 1, with submission in week 15.

The assessment is designed to evaluate the student's abilities in achieving the intended learning outcomes for the module. At the start of the module students will be provided with details of learning activities and assessment dates. Students will participate in learning activities and non-assessed formative feedback will be provided to them during the module to assist with motivational reinforcement.

Students should submit their work by the published submission date. Work submitted or posted after the hand-in date will be recorded as late. A penalty system operates for the management of work which is submitted late.


  1. Assessment feedback


Students are entitled to have feedback on all assessed work, including presentations and examinations. The purpose of the feedback is to promote student learning and help students to improve performance. Written feedback for the assessment of this module will be provided in electronic format within 15 working days of the submission deadline. Academic staff will provide students more specific information regarding how and when feedback will be provided. Please note that all marks are provisional and subject to change until ratified by the Board of Examiners.
  1. Staff details and sources of help


The Programme Leader is responsible for this PhD programme. The programme leader should be contacted for the programme details such as module details, timetable, and assessments requirements. The Programme Leader for PhD in Resilience Management is ____________ (to be updated).

Contact Details for Academic and Support Staff: (to be updated)



Name

Location

Phone

Email

Academic Staff


































Support Staff



































  1. Syllabus outline and teaching materials

    1. Learning Package 1- Understanding disaster resilience

      1. Introduction to the learning package


It is widely acknowledged within the disaster community that hazard and disaster terminology are used inconsistently across the sector, reflecting the involvement of practitioners and researchers from a wide range of disciplines. This learning package focuses on introducing several key terms, providing a list of definitions, and explaining in detail the most prominent terms that will be used in this module.
      1. Aim of the learning package


To provide opportunity for students to critically examine existing theory and practice in disaster mitigation and reconstruction of the built environment to assess problems and evaluate alternative solutions
      1. Key learning outcomes of the learning package

        1. Knowledge and Understanding


On successful completion of this learning package, a student will be able to:

  • Critically evaluate the concept of disaster resilience in the context of the built environment

  • Transferable/Key Skills and other attributes

  • On completion of the module a student will have had the opportunity to:

  • Develop critical thinking, creativity and innovation related to disaster mitigation and reconstruction of the built environment

  • Synthesise information from a number of sources in order to gain a coherent understanding of relevant theory and practice

  • Work within an appropriate ethos and can use and access a range of learning resources

  • Consider the role of the built environment in society

  • Apply judiciously problem solving and lateral thinking in a variety of disaster situations

  • Adopt a methodological approach to problem solving
        1. Transferable/Key Skills and other attributes


On completion of the module a student will have had the opportunity to:

  • Develop critical thinking, creativity and innovation related to disaster mitigation and reconstruction of the built environment

  • Synthesise information from a number of sources in order to gain a coherent understanding of relevant theory and practice

  • Work within an appropriate ethos and can use and access a range of learning resources

  • Consider the role of the built environment in society

  • Apply judiciously problem solving and lateral thinking in a variety of disaster situations

  • Adopt a methodological approach to problem solving


      1. Lecture notes and hand outs

        1. Lecture 1- Risk, hazards and vulnerability


Table 1 provides a list of definitions for terms that will be used throughout this module.

Table 1: Common terms associated with disasters



A natural hazard is a geophysical, atmospheric or hydrological event (e.g., earthquake, landslide, tsunami, windstorm, wave or surge, flood or drought) that has the potential to cause harm or loss.

Vulnerability is the potential to suffer harm or loss, related to the capacity to anticipate a hazard, cope with it, resist it and recover from its impact. Both vulnerability and its antithesis, resilience, are determined by physical, environmental, social, economic, political, cultural and institutional factors.

A disaster is the occurrence of an extreme hazard event that impacts on vulnerable communities causing substantial damage, disruption and possible casualties, and leaving the affected communities unable to function normally without outside assistance.

Disaster risk is a function of the characteristics and frequency of hazards experienced in a specified location, the nature of the elements at risk and their inherent degree of vulnerability or resilience.

Mitigation is any structural (physical) and non-structural (e.g., land use planning, public education) measure undertaken to minimise the adverse impact of potential natural hazard events.

Preparedness is activities and measures taken before hazard events occur to forecast and warn against them, evacuate people and property when they threaten and ensure effective response (e.g., stockpiling food supplies).

Relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction are any measures undertaken in the aftermath of a disaster to, respectively, save lives and address immediate humanitarian needs; restore normal activities; and restore physical infrastructure and services.

Climate change is a statistically significant change in measurements of either the mean state or the variability of the climate for a place or region over an extended period of time, either directly or indirectly due to the impact of human activity on the composition of the global atmosphere or due to natural variability.


‘Natural’ disasters

A trio of scholars, Ben Wisner, Ken Westgate and Phil O’Keefe (1976), published a paper in Nature, called “Taking the naturalness out of natural disasters”. It laid the groundwork for something now widely agreed: that nature makes volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, landslides, floods and windstorms, but humans are responsible for the deaths. And the humans most likely to die are the poor and the outcast. In every phase and aspect of a disaster – causes, vulnerability, preparedness, results and response, and reconstruction – the contours of disaster and the difference between who lives and who dies is to a greater or lesser extent a social calculus.

Current thinking has it that there are no ‘natural’ disasters. Hazards (both man-made and with natural origins) give rise to disasters when they coincide with vulnerable populations or infrastructure and hence all disasters, to some degree, are man-made.

The denial of the naturalness of disasters is in no way a denial of natural process. Earthquakes, tsunamis, blizzards, droughts and hurricanes are certainly events of nature that require knowledge of geophysics, physical geography or climatology to comprehend. Whether a natural event is a disaster or not depends ultimately, however, on its location. A large earthquake in the Hindu Kush may spawn no disaster whatsoever while the same intensity event in California could be a catastrophe.

The term natural disaster is commonly used and we employ it in these programme workbooks on the understanding that it refers to disasters that arise out of the conjunction of man-made conditions with natural hazards resulting from weather-related or geophysical events. The intensity or frequency of such events can be heavily influenced by human activity such as human-influenced global warming affecting the pattern of droughts, storms and floods, or deforestation, resulting from agricultural activity, forestry or urbanisation increasing the likelihood of land or mudslides (DFID, 2005).


Climatic hazards

About two thirds of disasters are caused by climatic hazards. There is growing evidence of the links between climate change and disaster risk. Global warming is expected to increase levels of variability and extreme events (DFID, 2006). While the number of geophysical disasters – earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions –has remained steady, the number of hydrometeorological (weather-related) events – including droughts, windstorms and floods – has more than doubled since 1996. This could be linked to climate change, and scientists predict global warming will result in more extreme weather patterns – stronger and increasingly violent storms, more rain, longer dry spells, more ferocious hurricanes (Christian Aid, 2005).
Man-made disasters

Man-made disasters are events which are caused by man, either intentionally or by accident, which can, directly or indirectly, cause severe threats to public health and/or well-being. The built environment frequently contributes to or is affected by man-made hazards. Man-made hazards may include sociological, technological, material and transportation hazards.

Crime, arson, civil disorder, terrorism, and war are all referred to as sociological hazards, while structural collapse of buildings and infrastructure, hazardous industrial outputs, negligent behaviour induced bush and forest fires (as opposed to, for example, lightning induced) are categorised as technological. Hazardous materials may include radiation contamination and a catch all initialism: CBRN (Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear). The term is used to describe a non-conventional terror threat that, if used by a nation, would be considered use of a weapon of mass destruction. Finally, transportation, such as aviation and shipping, can also result in man-made disasters.


Risk, hazard and vulnerability

Risk is a function of the hazard and vulnerability of a population to that hazard. Risks from hazards are defined by the type and severity of the hazard and its frequency of occurrence. Vulnerability to hazards is expressed as the degree of exposure of the population and its capacity to prepare for and respond to the hazard (UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, 2004). Understanding and assessing risk is fundamental to enhancing the resilience of communities.

Risk = Hazard (frequency and severity) x Vulnerability (Exposure/Capacity)



For example, the risk from coastal hazards (as shown in case study 1: community vulnerability to coastal hazards) is characterized by the frequency of occurrence and severity of the hazard (Figure 1). Tsunamis are typically infrequent events with moderate to severe consequences. Mild flooding may occur frequently, while severe flooding may be an infrequent event. Coastal erosion may be a chronic event with mild consequences or, coupled with other hazards, may result in severe impacts on the shoreline. Infrequent events with limited predictability pose the greatest risk of disaster and the longest time needed for disaster recovery. Frequent or ongoing hazards such as resource or environmental degradation processes can be monitored to reduce risk.

Figure 1: Risks from coastal hazards as a function of hazard frequency and severity




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