You are here: Home Knowledge Base Smart Urban Planning for Megacities Virtual Library Mind the risk: A global ranking of cities under threat from natural disasters
Symposium 2014

Virtual Library File - Mind the risk: A global ranking of cities under threat from natural disasters

The Challenge

Projections say that by 2050, the world will have undergone the largest and fastest period of urban expansion in human history. The urban population is estimated to double, while at the same time, the ...

Projections say that by 2050, the world will have undergone the largest and fastest period of urban expansion in human history. The urban population is estimated to double, while at the same time, the total urban area is projected to triple. City dwellers in emerging and developing countries, and their resource-intensive lifestyles, are increasingly going to create challenges in supporting many aspects of daily life. More urban dwellers require more resources such as water, land, food, and energy. These increases in demand put pressure on natural ecosystems in supporting cities. In addition, climate change, rising sea levels, or extreme weather events pose additional threats to cities. Infrastructure failure, such as electricity grid disruptions, flooding, diseases, and large-scale pollution, are some of the potential consequences.

Based on the risk-assessment expertise and technical support of a major re-insurance company, this report depicts a number of potential disasters, such as floods, storms, earthquakes and other natural hazards, and which cities would be hit most. It calculates a global risk index that is used to compare cities around the world with respect to human and economic exposure. Unsurprisingly given the authors’ background, the report argues that, while protecting lives should be the highest priority for city authorities, being able to cope with the financial consequences of disasters is an important aspect of disaster preparedness.