Applying multiple methods to understand and address urban risk

The inhabitants of African towns and cities face a range of hazards, which can best be described as representing a ‘spectrum of risk’ from events that can cause death, illness or injury, and impoverishment. Yet despite the growing numbers of people living in African urban centres, the extent and relative severity of these different risks and how they relate to each other are poorly understood. A wide-ranging multicountry programme of research has shown that using a ‘spectrum of methods’ is an effective way of understanding urban risk, and an essential tool for breaking the cycle of risk accumulation.