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CONTRIBUTION OF GEOGRAPHY TO UNDERSTANDING NATURAL DISASTERS: RESEARCH, EDUCATION, AND SOCIETY

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Chair: Takashi Oguchi
Co-chair: Marie-Jeanne Royer

Description
Geography plays a significant role in understanding and coping with natural disasters and their social impacts. The risk of natural disasters is considered a function of three components: hazard, vulnerability, and exposure. A hazard can be defined as a dangerous phenomenon or condition of natural origin such as an earthquake or heavy rainfall, and is strongly related to Physical Geography. Vulnerability refers to the characteristics of a social community or system that affects susceptibility to the damaging effects of a hazard, and Human Geography contributes to understand this. Exposure refers to how strongly people, properties, and social systems are exposed in hazard zones subject to potential losses, which depends on the spatial relationships of geographical elements especially distance between the locations of hazard and vulnerable elements. Therefore, spatial analysis using GIS contributes to the analysis of exposure. In other words, studying natural disasters is an essentially geographical issue for which the three major components of Geography (physical, human, and GIS) should be incorporated. Relevant geographical education also needs to be developed and strengthened at various levels of education from primary to higher. This session deals with broad topics related to natural disasters, focusing on how geographical research and education contribute to understanding their risk, hazards, vulnerability, and exposure. The IGC 2020 has six key topics: Globalization vs Localization, Climate Change, Migration and Conflicts, Earth and Disasters, Eurasia and Middle East Studies, and Anthropocene. Among these, this session is directly related to Earth and Disasters, and it is also highly relevant to Climate Change and the Anthropocene. We welcome presentations of scientific outcomes from academic research, educational case studies, and interdisciplinary linkages with social aspects. We also welcome various types of research outcomes such as original studies related to local or regional phenomena, and reviews of literature to provide future perspectives.

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