Non classé

A systemic approach to fire prevention: a case study of rural fires in Portugal

Aalto University
sous la direction de Turkka Keinonen


As fires become more intense and faster spreading, national and local governments, civil protection, and fire-fighting forces become less effective in protecting society. Future policies should promote a more preventive, less reactive attitude in this new era of severe conditions. Therefore, a holistic understanding is needed: living in the age in which fires are rising as a global concern, it is crucial to study, analyse, and propose interventions to tackle the problem through an integral approach.

This thesis addresses the issue by exploring how a systemic approach can contribute to an understanding of the prevention of rural fires by investigating the rural fire management system in Portugal. The study provides an overview of natural hazards, disasters, and disaster management, focusing on rural fires. Furthermore, it presents the case study adopting a systemic approach bridging the knowledge from strategic design and actor-network theory literature, considering the role of the non-human actors in the Portuguese rural fire management system.


The interest in disasters started in January 2019, when I participated in the Sustainable Global Technologies (SGT) Studio course at Aalto University. In this course, I joined a multidisciplinary team of students from various backgrounds, including design, architecture, engineering and business. As part of this course, I worked on a project focused on the sustainable reconstruction of communities after the 2015 Nepal earthquake. The 2015 earthquake resulted in almost 9000 casualties and left hundreds of thousands of people homeless. The objective was to research the current situation of a rural settlement north of Kathmandu, Dhungentar, regarding community cohesion and how that could improve disaster resilience. During the two-week field research (Image 1), different social cohesion factors present in the community were identified and analysed, resulting in two future scenarios: 1) the network scenario and 2) the committees’ scenario (Santos et al., 2019). The future scenarios aimed to address social cohesion issues from different perspectives through collaboration and knowledge-sharing.