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Description: Safe Cities

Description (selected) 

On-line Course

March 7 – April 1, 2005

The consequences of natural disasters on economic activities, property, human welfare and natural resources can be devastating. These events greatly affect the productive sectors of the economy, not to mention the impacts on communities, in particular, the poor.


In the last decades, we can observe increasing frequency and scale of natural disasters in developing world. A recent report lists the following reasons of higher disaster risks developing countries are facing: (i) geographical location in areas which are more vulnerable to climatic and geological events, (ii) population growth and urbanization that contributes to high density settlements, overexploitation of natural resources and growing number of settlements in endangered areas, (iii) lack of financial, organizational, legal and personal capacity to reduce disaster risk through prevention and mitigation measures.


Poorly designed and implemented urban development policies and investment decisions, badly selected location for a housing projects, missing or non-enforced land use regulations and construction codes all contribute to vulnerability and the consequent risk of further disasters. These factors result in increased damage inflicted during hazard events.


Safe Cities is part of the comprehensive Natural Disaster Risk Management Program developed by the World Bank Institute with support from WB Hazard Management Unit and ProVention Consortium. The objective of this specialization course is to address particular concerns of urban managers and planners. It reviews the necessary processes, regulations – related to land use, infrastructure, construction, building codes – enforcement issues and methods to reduce the exposure to hazards and limit the physical vulnerability of high density settlements. It intends to develop a wider and increased understanding of disaster risk reduction practices and enhance their effectiveness. 



The language of the course is English.



No cost to participants.


Course Format

The course consists self-paced modules, discussion forums, exercises, readings, case studies, tests and learning via interaction with program faculty and peers. The course includes 3 audio sessions of expert lectures for 40–45 minutes each.

Course Expectations

Participants are expected to commit 8–10 hours per week in order to gain the most out of this course in addition to:

·         Complete the required reading assignments

·         Participate in all online activities. Participation involves posting a minimum of two messages per week that are substantive in nature. The message can be either a new topic or a reply to someone else's message. Participants are encouraged to post more often than twice a week in order to be involved more deeply into topics.

·         Participate in videoconferencing and asynchronous chat sessions (if applicable)

·         Complete assignments and end of course project

  • Complete course evaluation at the end of the course

System Requirements of the Course

  • Hardware: Pentium 166 or faster, 64Mb Memory, CD-ROM, Sound Card
  • Software: Windows 95,98,ME,NT 4,2000 or XP Internet Explorer 4 or higher, Netscape 4 or higher Microsoft Office 2000 (Word,Powerpoint) Acrobat Reader 5


Deadline for application is February 1, 2005. Only acceptances will be communicated by February 15.


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