GCRF Urban Disaster Risk Hub

Lead Research Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Department Name: Sch of Geosciences


The Hub will reduce disaster risk for the poor in tomorrow's cities. The failure to integrate disaster risk resilience into urban planning and decision-making is a persistent intractable challenge that condemns hundreds of millions of the World's poor to continued cyclical destruction of their lives and livelihoods. It presents a major barrier to the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals in expanding urban systems. Science and technology can help, but only against complex multi-hazard context of urban life and the social and cultural background to decision-making in developing countries. Science-informed urbanisation, co-produced and properly integrated with decision support for city authorities, offers the possibility of risk-sensitive development for millions of the global poor. This is a major opportunity - some 60% of the area expected to be urban by 2030 is yet to be built. Our aim is to catalyse a transition from crisis management to risk-informed planning in four partner cities and globally through collaborating International governance organisations.
The Hub, co-designed with local and international stakeholders from the start, will deliver this agenda through integrated research across four urban systems - Istanbul, Kathmandu, Nairobi and Quito - chosen for their multi-hazard exposure, and variety of urban form, development status and governance. Trusted core partnerships from previous Global Challenge Research Fund, Newton Fund and UK Research Council projects provide solid foundations on which city based research projects have been built around identified, existing, policy interventions to provide research solutions to specific current development problems. We have developed innovative, strategic research and impact funds and capable management processes constantly to monitor progress and to reinforce successful research directions and impact pathways.
In each urban system, the Hub will reduce risk for 1-4 million people by (1) Co-producing forensic examinations of risk root causes, drivers of vulnerability and trend analysis of decision-making culture for key, historic multi-hazard events. (2) Combining quantitative, multi-hazard intensity, exposure and vulnerability analysis using advances in earth observation, citizen science, low cost sensors and high-resolution surveys with institutional and power analysis to allow multi-hazard risk assessment to interface with urban planning culture and engineering. (3) Convene diverse stakeholder groups-communities, schools, municipalities private enterprise, national agencies- around new understanding of multi-hazard urban disaster risk stimulating engagement and innovation in making risk-sensitive development choices to help meet the SDGs and Sendai Framework.
Impact will occur both within and beyond the life of the Hub and will raise the visibility of cities in global risk analysis and policy making. City Partnerships, integrating city authorities, researchers, community leaders and the private sector, will develop and own initiatives including high-resolution validated models of multi-hazard risk to reflect individual experience and inform urban development planning, tools and methods for monitoring, evaluation and audit of disaster risk, and recommendations for planning policy to mitigate risks in future development. City partnerships will collaborate with national and regional city networks, policy champions and UN agencies using research outputs to structure city and community plans responding to the Sendai Framework and targeted SDG indicators, and build methods and capacity for reporting and wider critique of the SDG and Sendai reporting process. Legacy will be enabled through the ownership of risk assessment and resilience building tools by city and international partners who will identify need, own, modify and deploy tools beyond the life of the Hub.

Planned Impact

The Hub will reduce disaster risk for the poor in tomorrow's cities. It will catalyse a step change in the relationship between science, decision-making and planning for pro-poor, risk-sensitive development in expanding urban systems worldwide and has been built entirely in response to this GCRF call. It has been co-produced with trusted city teams to provide research support for identified, existing policy implementation initiatives: Istanbul [the Istanbul Urban Transformation Master Plan]; Kathmandu [the National Strategy for Resilient Urban communities]; Nairobi [the Nairobi City Disaster Management Plan and Mukuru Special Planning Area]; Quito [the Risk Management Directorate and Quito Resilience Strategy]. The Hub is precisely tailored to the needs of our partners and their cities. Guided by the Hub Theory of Change and Pathways to Impact, interdisciplinary and coproduced research delivered through partnerships and aligned capacity building programmes will deliver evidence and experience based outputs including high resolution, multi-hazard risk assessment, associated governance frameworks and management decision-making capacity. This theory of change will enable cities to meet their SDG and Sendai Framework commitments. Through partners involved in global SDG and SF processes the Hub also aims to influence global policy.

Management: A Hub Impact Committee (HIC) chaired by Hub Co-Director and including a partnership advisory team will meet every six months to review Hub performance against a MEL framework including milestones confirmed by City teams and Hub Research Colleges in the Inception period, it will review applications and output reports for Impact Acceleration Fund and for Exchange Fellowships.

City level impact will be coordinated by the City Impact Lead (CIL) including work in secondary small cities and other regional collaborations and interactions with other Hub cities and their networks. The CILs (see Case for Support) are responsible authorities, ensuring access to official decision-making and targeted impact on City Risk, Adaptation or Resilience Plans and planning processes. Wider impact and the promotion of city level ownership of the Hub will be delivered through city partnerships including city government, research, civil society and private sector interests. Each city Research Inception Project will include a City Conference to gain early stakeholder involvement, with the CIL coordinating engagement, collaboration, exchange, training and dissemination to maximize Hub integration and uptake of output tools and analysis. This will be supported by the City Hub Office.

City evidence, tools and their champions will be promoted and shared widely with other cities and networks as demonstration cases; and with national agencies to build monitoring and reporting capacity for the Sendai Framework (SF) and SDGs. Each city will lead a network of like-cities to extend impact through tool exchange, training and testing. This will be supported in each city, by annual workshops for city administration and civil society with scope for international participation. Beyond city legacy, global civil society and UN partners will facilitate legacy impact past the Hub's life-time. Enhancement of procedures and metrics for SF reporting (with direct influence on monitoring for SDG urban and resilience indicators) will be enabled by partnership with UNISDR. GNDR and ADPC provide worldwide networks influence to test and deploy tools for community led resilience planning and advocacy (including women and children). International partners and the Advisory Board members will collaborate on side-events, policy briefs and through bilateral meetings to ensure the Hub science and impact outputs are fed into the mid-term reviews of the SF, the New Urban Agenda, the Global Platforms for DRR in 2019, 2021 and 2023, and the High Level Political Forum for the SDGs. Research provides multiple entry points to the IPCC process.



John McCloskey (Principal Investigator)
Gabriel Bernal (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0002-3826-0188
Eliana Fernanda Jiménez Alvaro (Co-Investigator)
Margarita Segou (Co-Investigator)
Simon Marius Mudd (Co-Investigator)
MABEL CRISTINA MARULANDA FRAUME (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0003-0228-8012
Mark Pelling (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0002-6472-9875
Hugh Sinclair (Co-Investigator)
Hediye SIBEL Kalaycioglu (Co-Investigator)
Colm Jordan (Co-Investigator)
Joel C. Gill (Co-Investigator)
Andrew Maskrey (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0003-0007-0853
Kezban Çelik (Co-Investigator)
Maxwell John Hope (Co-Investigator)
Andrew Forbes Bell (Co-Investigator)
Iain Simpson Stewart (Co-Investigator)
Maria Teresa Armijos Burneo (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0003-1020-6056
Basanta Raj Adhikari (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0001-8156-0875
Gordon McGranahan (Co-Investigator)
Joanes Atela (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0001-5794-7658
Alexandra Alvarado (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0003-4901-8175
Romanus Opiyo (Co-Investigator)
Alistair George Borthwick (Co-Investigator)
Alex Barbat (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0002-3649-8053
Jeremy Charles Phillips (Co-Investigator)
Maria Alejandra Escovar (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0003-2724-2379
Omar Dario Cardona (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0001-8233-5450
Elizabeth Ann Holcombe (Co-Investigator)
Susanna Kathryn Ebmeier (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0002-5454-2652
S. Daniel Andrade (Co-Investigator)
Jonathan Edward Ensor (Co-Investigator)
Siân Bayne (Co-Investigator)
Murat Nurlu (Co-Investigator)
David Dodman (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0002-1304-3283
Tiziana Rossetto (Co-Investigator)
Emily Clare Wilkinson (Co-Investigator)
Eser Cakti (Co-Investigator)
Noel Gourmelen (Co-Investigator)
Vedat Ozsarac (Co-Investigator)
John Ross Elliott (Co-Investigator)
Garima Jain (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0001-7991-4865
Sezin Yilmaz (Co-Investigator)
David Rush (Co-Investigator)
Mark Naylor (Co-Investigator)
Timothy John Wright (Co-Investigator)
Lars Otto Naess (Co-Investigator)
Daniel Weru Ichang'i (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0001-8208-812X
UFUK HANCILAR (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0002-9180-7816
John Twigg (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0003-4910-8090
Allan Michael Lavell (Co-Investigator)
Bruce D Malamud (Co-Investigator)
Ian Graham Main (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0001-7031-6746
Alfredo Miguel Santillán (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0001-9823-7396
Karin Sesetyan (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0001-5109-6477
Dina Francesca D'Ayala (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0003-3864-2052
Philip Osano (Co-Investigator)
Robert Michael Baxter (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0002-3693-8725
Tri Ratna Bajracharya (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0003-3364-0488
Carmine Galasso (Co-Investigator)
Bhola Nath Sharma Ghimire (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0002-7862-031X
Mikael Attal (Co-Investigator)
Sangeeta Singh (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0002-3334-4390
Christine Susan Grimmond (Co-Investigator)
Musyimi Mbathi (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0003-3720-099X
Erdal Safak (Co-Investigator)
Ramesh Guragain (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0002-3852-2483
Netra Prasad Timsina (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0003-0157-8878
Arabella France Fraser (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0003-3869-328X
Juan-Carlos SINGAUCHO-ARMAS (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0001-6959-8109
Peter Ngau (Co-Investigator)
Nagendra Raj Sitoula (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0002-7113-700X
Amy Rosamund Donovan (Co-Investigator)
RAJANI PRAJAPATI (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0003-2142-0162
Aromar Revi (Co-Investigator)
Andrew Elvin Collins (Co-Investigator)
Jane Marina Apgar (Co-Investigator)
Jennifer Barclay (Co-Investigator)
Elisa Sevilla (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0001-7268-8973
Francesca Medda (Co-Investigator)
Ekbal Hussain (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0001-6921-2843
Paul Joseph Vardanega (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0001-7177-7851
Deepak Chamlagain (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0002-5603-6921
Sophie Blackburn (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0003-1959-5465
Martha Liliana Carreno Tibaduiza (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0003-1914-2992
Brian William Golding (Co-Investigator)
Ryerson Christie (Co-Investigator)
Ganesh Kumar Jimee (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0001-8580-3678


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