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Extract from the book Urban Risk Assessments:

The rapid and often 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 URA presents a flexible approach that project and city managers can use to identify feasible measures to assess a city’s risk. It provides key information needed to consider appropriate city-level responses to the risks posed by natural hazards and increased climate variability. The assessment lays the groundwork for collaboration across multilateral agencies, the private sector, and city and national governments to begin benchmarking their own progress toward reducing urban risk. The goal is to establish a common foundation upon which urban risk assessments could periodically be performed, with the ultimate objectives being to quantify risk and monitor progress toward improved resilience. The URA methodology has been piloted in four cities (Mexico City, Jakarta, Dares Salaam, and São Paulo) and will be further refined with the support and guidance of various international agencies as it is rolled out globally.