Geology and Urban Planning


Following this course, it is expected that students become fully aware of the major issues concerning geology and the urban environment. After concluding this unit, and taking advantage of a strong geological/geotechnical background, they should be able to recognize, evaluate and propose methodological solutions for typical geoenvironmental problems that occur in urban areas namely, natural and man-made hazards, georesources management, urban and industrial waste management, land-use and urban planning, environmental assessment and environmental impact studies.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Paulo do Carmo de Sá Caetano


Weekly - 4

Total - 68

Teaching language



Not applicable


[1] McCall, G.J.H., De Mulder, E.F.J. & Marker, B.R. (eds.) (1996) – “Urban Geoscience”. Balkema, Rotterdam, 273 p.
[2] Culshaw, M.G., Reeves, H.J., Jefferson, I., Spink, T.W. (eds.) (2009) – “Engineering Geology for Tomorrow''s Cities”. Geological Society Engineering Geology Special Publication, London, nº 22, 400 p.
[3] Bullock, P. & Gregory, P. J. (eds.) (1991) - Soils in the urban environment. Blackwell, Oxford, 174 p.
[4] Bennett, M.R., Doyle, P. Larwood, J.G. & Prosser, C.D. (eds.) (1996) - “Geology on your doorstep”. The Geological Society, London, 270 p.
[5] Bell, F.G. (1998) - “Environmental Geology – principles and practice”.

[6] Jackson, R.E. (2019). Earth Science for Civil and Environmental Engineers. Cambridge Univ. Press, 1st Ed., 492 p.

[7] Vallejo, L.I.G. (Coord.) (2002). “Ingeniería Geológica”. Prentice Hall, Madrid, 744 p. 

Teaching method

Theoretical and practical lectures with emphasis on the presentation of case studies. Field classes to visit locations selected by the presentations (case studies) made in the classroom.

Evaluation method

Assessment is made by a final written test (FT) and by the evaluation of a report/essay (Rep) presented by the students to the whole class and on a subject chosen by each student. Calculation of the final classification (FC) is obtained by:

FC = FT (50-75%) + Rep (50-25%)

The weight of each evaluation component is defined by the student as follows:
FT (either 50 or 75%)
Rep (either 50 or 25%)

Subject matter

Introduction to Urban Geology, history and future perspectives.
Urban expansion, urban planning and geoscientific data. Geoenvironmental factors that control urban and regional development in Portugal and Europe.
Georesources. Shortage and management of resources. Construction materials. Hydrologic resources. Soils and groundwater in urban areas.
Natural and Man-made hazards in urban settings. Natural risks, land use and land planning.
Urban cultural georesources, conservation dissemination of Geological heritage.
Characterization of urban and industrial waste. Waste management. Industrial and urban waste landfills. Site selection criteria for waste landfills. Geotechnical and geoenvironmental mapping in urban areas. Rehabilitation of waste dumps and derelict industrial and mining areas.
Land use and land planning. Environmental assessment and geological criteria for environmental impact studies


Programs where the course is taught: