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ESD E360 Resilience and Hazard Mitigation in Future Cities

Leader:           Professor Dick Fenner

Timing:            Michaelmas Term

Structure:        Eight 2-hour sessions in Weeks 1 to 8: plus coursework assignments.


This course will look at the role of engineering and infrastructure in enhancing the liveability of future cities, whilst enhancing resilience and preparing for increased levels of risk associated with issues such as climate change and other natural hazards.

Building from fundamental principles, which can guide engineering practice, and using mega-cities as a context for the design and management of infrastructure, this course will explore the strategies and tactics for delivering liveable and resilient cities of the future.

This will include an exploration of adaptation pathways, disaster preparedness and response, and cover key concepts such as liveability, resilience and hazard mitigation, with specific focus on earthquakes, floods and hurricanes.”


•      To examine how a variety of sustainable principles and flexible design approaches can help deliver resilient infrastructure systems, whilst avoiding technical lock-in

•      To explore how people are served by engineering interventions in urban settings when the future is uncertain

•      To understand resilience frameworks in disaster planning and recovery

  • To appreciate the role of modeling and smart technologies in planning and maintaining future cities under a range of contexts and constraints


Principles of Sustainable Design (e.g. 5 capitals model, Natural Step, precautionary principle etc) and practical applications of Absolute Principles, Operational Principles and Individual Principles to different delivery stages of  infrastructure projects based on a sustainable  hierarchy  of project options.

Definitions and concepts of liveability ( vs sustainability) in urban environments focusing on service delivery , rather than narrow performance of critical infrastructure . Understanding different city archetypes; impact of  land use and urban densities on service delivery. Approaches to infrastructure resilience ; Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction

Discussion  of Adaptation pathways, flexible design and design for uncertainty , with real options evaluation of projects. Triggering flexibility. Case studies in urban flood resilience

Envisioning cities of the future (e.g Vancouver). Model A vs Model B approaches to infrastructure planning and delivery; multi functional infrastructure and measuring multiple benefits. The rise of mega cities context sensitive design, solutions for urban mobility. City scale case studies and hazard mitigation strategies 

Post disaster reconstruction in cities, concepts of “build back better”;  how sustainability, resilience and uncertainty factors influence r reconstruction programme outcome. Evaluation of responses  to Christchurch , New Zealand Earthquake.  Hurricane resilience strategies in the Carribean.. Lessons from Hurricane Katrina (New Orleans) and Hurricane Sandy (New York/New Jersey)

Disaster recovery: Understanding and supporting post disaster decision making using scenario planning . Improving post earthquake humanitarian response . Earthquake risk mitigations and designing for seismic safety

Mitigating air pollution and heat island effects in future cities; envisaging a world with greener cities.

The use of smart monitoring, information and systems  in future cities; whole-life approaches  to infrastructure management.  Futureproofing of assets; new methods of modelling and analysing the behaviour of cities

Assessment:          100% Coursework

Indicative (may vary from year to year): 4000 word report: metrics of liveability in different city archetypes


NB: Modules and structure of the MPhil are subject to change year on year. This information is representative of the 18-19 structure but options may not be available in future years.