Publication: Urban Risk Assessments : Understanding Disaster and Climate Risk in Cities

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Dickson, Eric
Hoornweg, Daniel
Tiwari, Asmita
The rapid and oft en unplanned expansion of cities is exposing more people and economic assets to the risk of disasters and the effects of climate change. For city governments, increased climate variability imposes additional challenges to effective urban management and the delivery of key services, while for residents it increasingly affects their lives and livelihoods due to more frequent floods, landslides, heat waves, droughts, and fires. There is an urgent need for cities to consider disaster and climate change by streamlining assessments of related risks in their planning and management as well as delivery of services. This paper proposes a framework for carrying out urban risk assessment, and seeks to strengthen coherence and consensus in how cities can plan for natural disasters and climate change. The Urban Risk Assessment (URA) was developed by drawing on lessons from existing efforts to assess risk in cities as well as urban planning literature. It was vetted through consultation and collaboration with international development agencies, the public and private sectors, and nongovernmental organizations. It minimizes duplicative efforts, and brings convergence to related work undertaken by the World Bank and other key partners. The target audience for this report includes: (1) decision makers such as city managers, mayors, and those involved in developing national and local policies related to urban development; (2) urban practitioners and technical staff at the municipal, regional, and national levels; and (3) international organizations. The assessment methodology focuses on three reinforcing pillars that collectively contribute to understanding urban risk: a hazard impact assessment, an institutional assessment, and a socioeconomic assessment. The URA allows flexibility in how it is applied, depending on available financial resources, available data relating to hazards and its population, and institutional capacity of a given city. Through the URA's sequencing, which is linked to complexity and required investment, city managers may select subcomponents from each pillar that individually and collectively enhance the understanding of urban risk.
Dickson, Eric; Baker, Judy L.; Hoornweg, Daniel; Tiwari, Asmita. 2012. Urban Risk Assessments : Understanding Disaster and Climate Risk in Cities. Urban Development;. © Washington, DC: World Bank. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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