How can cities build resilience through Risk Modelling?

Akala Haron, Tom Randa, Victoria Chengo and Joanes Atela
Tomorrow's Cities
May 2021

Disasters and their associated risks have continued to evolve in complexity, forms, frequencies, and severity. The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the complexity of disaster risks while exposing the need to plan and prepare for potential risks adequately. Like many other disaster risks, COVID-19 has presented unfamiliar evolution characteristics that have made it difficult to contain. However, risk models and scenarios can be utilized to help understand the dynamics of risks as they interact with populations and the environment, providing useful recommendations for planning for disaster risks with considerable levels of certainty.

The World Economic Forum predicts that one-third of the global population will live in urban settings by 2050, with a majority of this shift expected in developing cities. Rapid urbanization will likely implicate significant transition and transformations on urban risks. The projected increased urbanization rates also point to increased exposure to urban disaster risks and enhanced vulnerabilities to the already struggling developing cities. In order to prepare and build the desired city resilience through improved disaster risk proof development, models can be used to understand the baseline scenarios and the possible future risks and their characteristics. This blog provides some useful insights for African countries on investing in risk modeling to understand future risks and inform preparedness.