The Disaster Resilient City

Subject GEOG30021 (2010)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2010.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2010:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: One 2-hour lecture and one 1-hour tutorial per week
Total Time Commitment:

102 hours

(36 contact hours, 30 hours class preparation and reading, 36 hours assessment related tasks)
Prerequisites: Completion of 25 points of 200 level subjects with a social or natural science focus from the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Environments; or permission of the course coordinator.
Corequisites: N/A
Recommended Background Knowledge: N/A
Non Allowed Subjects: N/A
Core Participation Requirements: For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry. The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Dr Heidi Ellemor


Professor Ruth Fincher

Department of Resource Management and Geography

Melbourne School of Land and Environments

ph 8344 0623


Dr Heidi Ellemor

Department of Resource Management and Geography

Melbourne School of Land and Environments

ph 8344 9154


Subject Overview:

This subject examines the impacts of disasters in cities. It will explore why some groups are more vulnerable to particular hazards than others, while considering the role of social capital and adaptation for increasing the resilience of urban communities to disasters. This is important because the trend towards increasing urbanisation and larger cities is a major contributor to the rising toll of disaster losses globally. In addition climate change predictions indicate that natural hazards such as bushfires, floods, storms and cyclones are likely to increase in intensity and possibly also frequency in many places, including cities. Contemporary cases will be used to highlight key issues and policy debates. Implications for urban planning and disaster planning and management in cities and at the rural-urban interface will be considered.

Cases and examples will be drawn from around the world, primarily from developed countries. Students will have the opportunity to examine case/s of their own choosing (with approval from the subject coordinator), and will undertake locally based research in preparation of the field report. There will be a local field trip associated with this subject.


Students who complete this subject will:

  • Comprehend a range of social theories and concepts used to study disasters in an urban environment
  • Understand the complexities and dynamic relationships between cities and hazards
  • Understand the way these complex city/hazard relationships make some groups more vulnerable than others
  • Be able to critically evaluate disaster management policies and practices in an urban context
  • 500 word tutorial paper due early in semester (by week 4) (15% of final mark)
  • 1000 word field report due mid semester (30% of final mark)
  • Group research project: Group presentation towards the end of semester (10% of final mark), and individual research essay of 2000 words due in the assessment period (45% of final mark)
Prescribed Texts: Information Not Available
Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students who complete this subject will have:

  • Developed their ability to critically evaluate different theories and concepts
  • Demonstrated their capacity to transfer this knowledge to applied analysis
  • Improved their written and oral communication skills, particularly in relation to the development of their own critical arguments and communication of research findings
Notes: Students enrolled in the BSc (both pre-2008 degree and new degrees), or a combined BSc course (except for the BA/BSc) may receive science credit on the completion of this subject.
Related Course(s): Bachelor of Science
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Environmental Geographies, Politics and Cultures
Urban Design and Planning

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