Vulnerability, Risks and Territory


It pretendes to demonstrate the importance of diagnosis and assessment of risk and vulnerability to extreme natural and technological disasters at different scales, for effective planning. Particular attention will be given to the use of indices and models that can contribute to a risk and vulnerability analysis in order to be able to implement strategies of adaptation and mitigation.
This course aims to provide the necessary skills:
• To discuss and understand concepts such as risk, vulnerability, etc.
• To identify and understand the phenomena that can cause risk and disaster being its nature, natural and/or anthropogenic activities
• To assess the factors that may contribute to the vulnerability degree of a certain territory to extreme events
• To implement methods of diagnosis, with the elaboration of risk and/or susceptibility cartography
• To Integrate accurate planning and management measures to prevent and minimize the catastrophic effects

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Carlos Alberto Russo Machado


Weekly - Available soon

Total - 84

Teaching language





Beck, U. (1992). Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity. London: Sage Publications.
Chaline, C., & Dubois-Maury, J. (1993). La ville et ses dangers. Paris: Masson.
Dauphiné, A. (2001). Risques et catastrophes: observer, spatialiser, comprendre, gérer. Paris: A. Colin.
Dennis, H. (1998). Comprendre et gérer les risques sociotechnologiques majeurs. Montréal: Presses Internationales Polytechnique.
ENISA. (2006). Risk Management: Implementation principles and Inventories for Risk Management/Risk Assessment methods and tools. Herakleon: European Network and Information Security Agency.
Fairman, R., Mead, C. D., & Williams, W. P. (1999). Environmental Risk Assessment: Approaches, Experiences and Information Sources . Copenhagen: European Environment Agency.
Guha-Sapir, D., Hargitt, D., & Hoyois, P. (2004). Thirty years of natural disasters 1974-2003: the numbers. Louvain: Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters Disasters & Presses Universitaires de Louvain.

Teaching method

Expository lectures with the participation of guests to present cases-studies on the program themes.
Presentation by the students and class discussion of their proposed research topics (work).
Monitoring the development of tutorial work, individually or in groups.

Evaluation method

a) Continuous evaluation of participation in presentations and discussions in class b) Preparation of a written essay, based on independent research with oral presentation and discussion of results.(100%)

Subject matter

1. Introduction
1.1 Natural phenomena vs. Catastrophes
1.2 Some numbers and sources of information
2. Environmental catastrophes: concepts
2.1 The frequency increase and the unequal distribution
1. 2.2. Risk factors and complexity
2.2 The notion of acceptable risk
3. Risk Classification: Natural
3.1 Climatic and hydrological
3.2 Geophysical, geomorphological and biological
4. Classification of Risks: Anthropogenic
4.1 Social and technological
5. Urbanization and environmental disasters
5.1 Megacities and coastal cities
5.2 Environmental risks in an urban context in Portugal
6. Integrated Risk Management and Civil Protection


Programs where the course is taught: