Cities Responding to Global Emergencies: Tools, Approaches, and the Case of Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Schools of Public Engagement: International Affairs

Liberal Arts

Graduate Course

Degree Students


Summer 2021

Taught By: Bart Orr

Section: A

CRN: 2354

Credits: 3

Global emergencies, like the onset of the COVID-19 disease pandemic, threaten widespread social and economic impacts that exceed the coping capacities of communities, local authorities, and city systems. Under such risks, analyzing and predicting the effectiveness and other consequences of a particular policy change, operational measure, or transition arrangement during emergency conditions is a difficult but essential task for cities and local decision makers. Data required to understand potential consequences of different options may be difficult to access. Aggregate indicators used to capture local conditions may mask disparities that characterize real circumstances on the ground, such as deep inequalities between different socio-economic groups. With the continued coevolution of urbanization and risk, new and enhanced sets of planning and policy frameworks and tools are required by cities to promote more holistic and integrated emergency management and recovery strategies. Assembling these new frameworks and tools is both a technical, organizational, and social process. Efforts under emergency conditions must contend with complex operational challenges and policy dilemmas that arise as local policy makers, managers and analysts attempt to mitigate diverse and often cascading impacts stemming from the interplay of the catastrophic shock with chronic underlying stressors like poverty, social exclusion, and other vulnerabilities. In this class, we will examine different tools and approaches to analyzing policy and planning options that can be put to use at the local level during responses to global emergencies. We will explore what kind of data and indicators are needed for local decisions compared to national and global decisions along with different approaches to assembling relevant information to support complex decision processes. By completing problem sets and developing a case of a locality’s response to the COVID-19 disease pandemic, students will build the skills required to understand the implications of different frameworks and methodologies for appraising policy options and operational measures and implementing responses.

This course is open to all Graduate students. Undergraduate students must request permission by contacting Phil Akre at

College: Schools of Public Engagement (NS)

Department: International Affairs (NINT)

Campus: Online (DL)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Max Enrollment: 21

Add/Drop Deadline: June 11, 2021 (Friday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: July 23, 2021 (Friday)

Seats Available: Yes

Status: Closed*

* Status information is updated every five minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 4:02pm 9/18/2021 EDT

Meeting Info:

Days: Monday, Wednesday

Times: 6:00pm - 7:50pm

Building: Online Course

Date Range: 6/7/2021 - 7/28/2021