Cities are extremely complex physical and human systems that can be severely disrupted by acute human-caused events such as war. However, the natural world can also have a severe impact on cities over brief intervals. This course concerns itself with four well-known phenomena that can and have influenced the evelopment, sustainability and even the survival of cities. Meteorological catastrophes, such as hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons, are discussed in detail. Also covered are less violent but equally destructive flooding by river and ocean; earthquake damage and its relationship to population density and the permanence of towns and cities throughout history; and volcanic eruptions, which, though rare, have disrupted cities and determined their initial locations. Finally, biological catastrophes, both macro and micro, such as pestilence and infestations, are discussed.
Prerequisites: Completion of first year writing requirements. Co-requisites: None. Notes: Satisfies a HuSS Elective.