Vision

City scene

"Our mission is to reduce disaster risk for the poor in tomorrow’s cities"

Globally, more than 2 billion people living in cities of low-to-middle income countries are exposed to multiple hazards such as floods, earthquakes, landslides, volcanoes and fires, which threaten the cyclical destruction of their lives and livelihoods. With urban areas expanding at unprecedented rates, this number is expected to reach 4 billion by 2050.

Failure to integrate multi-hazard disaster risk into urban planning and decision-making presents a major barrier to sustainable development, including the single greatest global challenge of eradicating poverty in all its forms.

But this global challenge is also major opportunity: as ~60% of the area expected to be urban by 2030 remains to be built , we can reduce disaster risk in tomorrow’s cities by design.

Research objectives 

Our aim is to catalyse a transition from crisis management to multi-hazard risk-informed planning and decision-making that strengthens the voice and capacity of the urban poor.

Tomorrow’s Cities will enhance risk-sensitive urban development through a global network of integrated research programmes led by local teams in low-to-middle income countries. Research teams in each city will work to reduce risk for 1-4 million people by:

  • Co-producing forensic examinations or root causes, drivers of vulnerability and trend analysis of decision-making culture for key, historic multi-hazard events.
  • Combining quantitative, multi-hazard risk assessment to interface with urban planning culture and engineering.
  • Convening diverse stakeholder groups – including communities, schools, municipalities, private enterprise and national agencies – around a new understanding of multi-hazard risk, stimulating engagement and innovation in making risk-sensitive development choices to help meet the Sustainable Development Goals and Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

All activity is aimed at bringing together communities at risk, community leaders, city authorities and researchers to support momentum towards inclusive, sustainable and resilient urban futures. It is through the combination of new data, understanding, voice and relationships that cities can move from places of risk accumulation to places of risk reduction.

Further information on our research approach can be found here.

The UN’s Sendai Framework and Sustainable Development Goals

Disaster risk reduction is inseparable from sustainable development. To respond to the Sendai Framework and targeted Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicators, city partnerships will collaborate with national and regional city networks, policy champions and UN agencies using research outputs to structure city and community plans. Through this process, we will build methods and capacity for reporting and provide a wider critique of the SDG and Sendai reporting process.

Specific contributions to the SDGs include building resilience of the poor (Indicator 1.5.4), including strengthening gender equality (Target 5.c), making cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable (Target 11.5 and Indicator 11.b.2), taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts