Disaster Risk Management and Environmental Assessment for Spatial Planning

Event Organisers: 

Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation ITC, University of Twente, the Netherlands




There is an urgent need to integrate hazard assessment and disaster risk management into strategic planning and sustainable development. Our exposure and to extreme events - including both natural and human-induced hazards - continue to increase. Worldwide the impact of disasters is rapidly growing. However, many countries and development agencies so far do not consider hazard and disaster risk in development planning, and lack sufficient strategies to plan, assess, prevent or mitigate the effects of extreme events.

Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) are decision-making tools for mainstreaming hazard and disaster risk reduction strategies and measures into policies, plans and projects. They can be applied at national, regional and local level and in different sectors. Environmental assessments should provide guidance in analysing hazard and disaster risk-related consequences of proposed activities via their impact on the environment. And they should also take into account the potential threat of (natural) hazards to plans or projects.

This course provides a unique opportunity to integrate a multidisciplinary assessment of hazard and risk into spatial planning.

Course objectives

In this course you will learn to integrate hazard and disaster risk challenges and considerations into strategic spatial planning processes. The course provides you with new knowledge and skills applicable to multi-hazard risk assessment and environmental assessment within a clear context of spatial planning routines. You will work with a set of modern techniques and tools (satellite image interpretation, dynamic modelling and scenario development within a GIS environment, amongst others) to provide geo-information as a basis for policymaking and spatial planning for sustainable development.

Course content

The course consists of two main components. The course approach involves task-based learning that blends theory and practice.  At the end of the course you will carry out a realistic case study that deals with a practical situation involving either environmental or human-induced (industrial) hazards.

Component 1: Geo-information for multi-hazard risk management

  • Risk management framework: hazards, hazard assessment, elements-at-risk mapping, vulnerability assessment, risk assessment, risk mitigation
  • Role of geo-information in disaster risk management (with examples from recent disasters)
  • Users and providers of risk information; spatial data infrastructure for risk management
  • Methods for vulnerability and risk assessment (incl. HAZUS, CAPRA and other international methods for loss estimation)
  • Disaster risk reducing strategies and measures
  • Risk perception, risk governance, risk communication
  • Use of geo-information in early warning, emergency preparedness planning, post-disaster damage assessment.

Component 2: Environmental assessment using spatial decision support tools

  • EIA and SEA: concepts, principles, process and interaction with the planning process
  • Stakeholder involvement: Participatory GIS and community based modelling
  • Alternatives: development and analysis of alternatives and scenarios
  • Environmental assessment methods and techniques: application of GIS, indicators and metrics
  • Spatial Decision Support tools in EA: spatial multi-criteria evaluation for site selection and vulnerability analysis
  • Integration of hazard and risk in EA: vulnerability and risk assessment, mitigation and adaptation, risk zoning
  • Biodiversity inclusive EA: Ecosystem services in the context of hazard and risk assessment
  • Cost-benefit analysis and economic valuation of disaster risk reduction strategies and measures
  • Final project dealing with the integration of (multiple) hazard and risk into environmental assessment for spatial planning.


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