skip to content

MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Disaster Risk Management and urban planning practices: The case of Greece

The nature of cities as concentration hubs for populations, socio-economic activities, infrastructure, and development, has increased their vulnerability and exposure to disasters, positioning them at the forefront of Disaster Risk Management (DRM). The highly contextual character of disaster occurrences shifts this research’s focus towards a specific case study: Greece. Greece’s exposure and vulnerability to multiple disasters, the high concentration of the country’s population in urban areas (approximately 80%), and the higher Disaster Risk (DR) that characterises Greek cities, underscore the need for measures that increase the resilience of urban areas in the face of disasters. This research will therefore attempt to establish how urban policy has evolved in Greece in light of increasing and intensifying disasters occurrences. To guide this research’s analysis, a conceptual framework is developed to enable the identification of DRM measures in Greece’s built environment, which is applied to the country’s major urban agglomerations: Athens and Thessaloniki. Through desk-based research, hazard mapping, document reviews, and a stakeholder analysis, this research explores whether DRM and urban planning approaches in Greece reflect the strong interplay between disasters and cities. On one hand, the application of the framework indicates that disaster occurrences are increasingly considered within the country’s urban/spatial plans. On the other hand, while disaster management approaches have evolved to address specific disasters, these plans do not necessarily reflect the higher DR in the country’s urban areas. Therefore, the development of local urban DRM plans is recommended, which will address the higher vulnerability and exposure of cities and enable a shift towards the development of urban/spatial plans which are risk informed.


Course Overview


The need to engage in better problem definition through careful dialogue with all stakeholder groups and a proper recognition of context.


An ability to work with specialists from other disciplines and professional groups acknowledging that technical innovation and business skills also must be understood, nurtured and combined as precursors to the successful implementation of sustainable solutions.


An understanding of mechanisms for managing change in organisations so future engineers are equipped to play a leadership role.


An awareness of a range of assessment frameworks, sustainability metrics and methodologies such as Life Cycle Analysis, Systems Dynamics, Multi-Criteria Decision making and Impact Assessment.