A growing necessity to respond efficiently and effectively to the challenges that result from the unexpectedness of the environmental and technological risks and catastrophes faced by the contemporary societies calls for additional efforts in the human resources qualification and for scientific understanding and interpretation of these matters.
In this context, the overall objective of the Research Area "Natural and Technological Hazards" has been to conceptualize, implement and disseminate policy- and planning-oriented research in the area of civil protection and territorial management, in order to:
- To promote international networking and cooperation in research and education in the area of civil protection (see International Projects).
- To broaden and strengthen the competences and professional qualifications needed for the civil protection in Portugal, the Portuguese Speaking Countries in Africa (PALOP). and in other countries through university education (see Department of Geography).
The specific research objectives have been:
- Understand and predict the risk-related factors and circumstances, as well as identify and frame the preventive and reactive measures.
- Identify vulnerabilities associated with the occurrence of risks and their impacts on the territory.
- Strengthen the functioning of GIS with the need to create devices to prevent and minimize risks.
- Promote the monitoring, prevention and mitigation of features related to the natural and technological risks.
- Integrate the issues of natural and technological risks in the spatial planning policies.
- Contribute to the discussion and dissemination of issues related to natural risks.
Geography can provide important contribution in the accomplishments of the objectives of civil protection in several areas, such as:
- In the biophysical assessment of the territory, focusing on the study of the natural phenomena such as floods, earthquake, forest fires, etc., in the evaluation of landscape, geomorphology, vegetation and population patterns (flows, concentration, activities), as well as in the environmental monitoring and identification of the elements at risk (e.g., infrastructures, built heritage).
- In the application of the GIS, with an emphasis on the necessity for the spatial referencing of the phenomena, simulation scenarios and prediction of incidents, definition of the warning systems, territorial zoning procedures and, consequently, for the production of cartography aimed at the forecasting/management of emergencies.
- In the spatial planning that integrates definition of areas at risk, areas of specific interventions, localization of equipments, activities, accessibilities, and production of legal documents (e.g., emergency plans, municipalities' spatial master plans).
Geographers can acquire a variety of competences needed for efficient functioning and continuous strengthening of the civil protection, such as:
- To make part of the multidisciplinary teams carrying out studies and projects in the area of civil protection, especially those applied to the spatial planning.
- To perform in-depth evaluation of the levels of efficiency and effectiveness in the application of the programmes aimed at the implementation of policies with impact on civil protection.
- To carry out planning based on technical and professional rules, as well as on national and UE directives, related to the issues of the development of spatial planning that integrates the civil protection dimension.
- To apply the methods of strategic spatial planning as an integral part of the carrying out of the Strategic Impact Evaluation.
- To appreciate public polices and to master processes of their elaboration, implementation and evaluation from the point of view of their relevance to the civil protection.
- To participate in the design and evaluation of sectorial planning projects.
- To operationalize and integrate the objectives and norms of civil protection in the strengthening and (re)valorization of territorial identity in policies and interventions aimed at promoting local and regional development.
As regards dissemination, the objective has been to promote and strengthen activities such as:
- Publication of scientific articles and conference papers (see Publications).
- To promote development of university education in Geography and Territorial Management (see Department of Geography).
- Establishment of academic and technical-operational partnerships.
NATIONAL RESEARCH PROJECTS - CURRENTLY ONGOING
InterNATIONAL RESEARCH PROJECTS - CURRENTLY ONGOING
[2010-2015]: "LOCAL CAMPAIGN UN-ISDR 2010-2015 ALWAYS ON MOVEMENT AMADORA IS RESILIENT!â (Financial support: UN-ISDR âWorld Disaster Reduction Campaign / Making Cities Resilient: My City is Getting Readyâ) in collaboration with Amadora Municipality