Urban risk assessments

This book on urban risk assessment presents a way to assess disaster and climate risk in cities to improve decision-making, urban planning, and designing risk management programs.

World Bank book 'Urban Risk Assessments'
World Bank book 'Urban Risk Assessments'

Who wrote this?

Judy L. Baker, Eric Dickson, Tiwari Asmita for the World Bank


It was first published in June 2012.


This was written to improve risk assessment to increase our cities' resilience to disaster and climate risk.

Who should read this?

Policy makers, urban planning practitioners and technical staff, and international organizations involved in risk management for disasters and climate risk.


This paper outlines the Urban Risk Assessment (URA), which is a flexible approach based on three reinforcing pillars that collectively contribute to the understanding of urban risk: a hazard impact assessment, an institutional assessment, and a socioeconomic assessment. 

This approach seeks to strengthen coherence and consensus within and across cities in understanding and planning for risk from natural disasters and climate change. The URA is designed to allow flexibility in how it is applied dependent on available financial resources, available data relating to hazards and its population, and institutional capacity of a given city. Based on the identified needs and priorities, city governments can select the most appropriate level of risk assessment. 

Chapters 1 and 2 of the book are aimed at policy makers with information on why and how to invest in measures that strengthen the understanding of urban risk. Chapter 1 provides background information on the growing importance of disaster and climate risk management strategies at the city level and chapter 2 provides guidance on how to operationalise and mainstream the Urban Risk Assessment with ongoing urban management and development activities. Chapters 3 and 4 are aimed at practitioners and provide details on the conceptual approach, components, use, and monitoring requirements for carrying out an Urban Risk Assessment. Annexes provide detailed case studies.

For more information and questions, please contact management@ice.org.uk.

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