Course Profile: Planning for Natural Hazards and Climate Change Adaptation
Emphasis is placed on the connectivity between planning for natural hazards and disasters and climate change adaptation, emphasizing the principles of sustainability and disaster resilience.
Planning for Natural Hazards and Climate Change Adaptation PLAN 590(1)
Dr. Gavin Smith
Associate Research Professor, Department of City and Regional Planning
Executive Director, Department of Homeland Security – Coastal Hazards Center of Excellence
This course provides a graduate-level introduction to hazards management planning, including climate change-induced hazards. Specific areas of study include the practice of planning and its application to disaster response, hazard mitigation and disaster recovery. Emphasis is also placed on the connectivity between planning for natural hazards and disasters and climate change adaptation, emphasizing the principles of sustainability and disaster resilience.
While the course is grounded in planning principles and practice, and involves the evaluation of plans, it is not limited to planning students. Rather, the course is intended for students that seek to gain a better understanding of how planning plays an important role in the larger issue of natural hazards management, including our ability to adapt to a changing climate and create more sustainable, disaster resilient communities.
Course objectives include:
1)To identify and explore key planning principles and assess the degree to which they are applied in hazards management planning through the evaluation of the quality of disaster response, hazard mitigation, and disaster recovery plans at the federal, state and local level;
2)To gain a sound understanding of hazards management as understood through the lenses of disaster response, hazard mitigation, and disaster recovery;
3)To explore the relationship between sustainability, disaster resilience and climate change adaptation; and
4)To identify and assess different types of hazards management governance frameworks, including how existing policies and programs facilitate or hinder pre-and post-disaster planning and the creation of sustainable, disaster resilient communities that are able to better adapt to changing climactic conditions.
Dr. Smith is the Executive Director of the Center for the Study of Natural Hazards and Disasters ( ) and the Department of Homeland Security’s Center of Excellence – Coastal Hazards Center. The UNC Hazards Center research focus areas include modeling, land use planning, technology applications, the social implications of hazards and disasters, environmental hazards management, law and policy, public health, business and economics. The Coastal Hazards Center research focus areas include: hazard modeling, engineering, human behavior, and land use planning. Dr. Smith is currently engaged in planning-related research within the center, focused on a national evaluation of local and state hazard mitigation plans as well as the study of disaster recovery plans and policies.