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The VISUS methodology for the multi-hazard safety assessment of learning facilities: ten years of applications under UNESCO coordination

S. Grimaz and P. Malisan


Safety and resilience of learning facilities are critical issues in disaster-prone areas, in which natural hazards can pose significant risks to students, staff, and infrastructures. To address these issues, the SPRINT-Lab researchers at the University of Udine, under the UNESCO umbrella, conceived and developed the Visual Inspections for defining Safety Upgrading Strategies (VISUS) methodology. VISUS consists of visual inspections of school facilities, with the aim of providing decision-makers with evidence-based recommendations for upgrading safety and resilience in learning environments. This paper summarises the key features of the VISUS methodology and illustrates the progression of its application in the last decade, achieved through its implementation in pilot projects promoted by the UNESCO Unit on disaster risk reduction (DRR). In particular, the paper showcases the results achieved from the application of VISUS in various projects worldwide, and provides examples on how these results can be used to support decision-makers in formulating plans and strategies to improve school safety. Furthermore, the paper highlights the knowledge acquired and conclusions drawn from the various VISUS projects and provides insights into the practical implications of its implementation within the UN DRR policies, so as to improve the safety of learning facilities.