CCST9034 Science, Technology and Big Data
Living in a Hazardous World

This course is under the thematic cluster(s) of:

  • Sustaining Cities, Cultures, and the Earth (SCCE)

Course Description

We are living in an increasingly hazardous world. Since the beginning of this century we have experienced unprecedented disasters: the 2004 Asian tsunami, the 2017 European heat wave, devastating earthquakes in Sichuan (China), Japan and Haiti, the typhoons in Hong Kong in 2019 and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, to name just a few of the most notable. This course will examine the causes and characteristics of a broad range of environmental hazards and their destructive impact on human society. Spatial and temporal variation of various hazards will be examined and the impact of global environmental change on the nature and occurrence of recent and possible future hazards will be discussed. In addition, the role that technology has played in the occurrence of various hazards will be explored. Particular emphasis will be placed on who is most vulnerable to specific hazards. The responses available to different societies in dealing with these hazards, including prevention, adaptation, mitigation, and the role of science and technology in these, will be evaluated. Disaster management will be discussed.

Course Learning Outcomes

On completing the course, students will be able to:

  1. Describe and explain the origins, occurrence, and characteristics of various hazards.
  2. Compare and contrast the impacts on human society of various hazards for different regions of the world.
  3. Describe and evaluate the various measures that can be used to reduce the impact of environmental hazards.
  4. Demonstrate an awareness of information sources regarding hazards.
  5. Demonstrate critical understanding of the contrasting vulnerability of different societies to specific hazards.

Offer Semester and Day of Teaching

First semester (Wed)

Study Load

Activities Number of hours
Lectures 24
Tutorials 12
Reading / Self-study 44
Assessment: Hazard portfolio 46
Assessment: Presentation (incl preparation) 20
Assessment: Essay writing 4
Total: 150

Assessment: 100% coursework

Assessment Tasks Weighting
Hazard portfolio 35
Tutotrial presentation and discussion 20
Quiz 15
Essays 30

Required Reading

  • Keller, E. A., & DeVecchio, D. E. (2014). Natural hazards: Earth’s processes as hazards, disasters, and catastrophes (4th ed.). Pearson. [Chaps. 1-6, 9-12]

Course Co-ordinator and Teacher(s)

Course Co-ordinator Contact
Professor L.S. Ran
Department of Geography, Faculty of Social Sciences
Tel: 3917 7103
Teacher(s) Contact
Professor L.S. Ran
Department of Geography, Faculty of Social Sciences
Tel: 3917 7103