Urban Africa: Risk Knowledge – A Research Agenda

Policy Pointers

  • Sub-Saharan Africa’s population is urbanising, but so too is urban risk. Smaller urban centres will become an increasingly important priority area for risk reduction given their demographic importance, rapid growth, high poverty levels, and weak urban governance.
  • Detailed local data on losses and damages are required to understand the nature and scale of urban risk, and how urbanisation is shaping its social and spatial distribution. New methodologies, such as DesInventar, need to be scaled-out to inform urban risk reduction policy tailored to local needs and priorities (see Box 1).
  • It is critical to address urban risk across a spectrum, encompassing everyday hazards and small disasters (‘extensive risk’) and large disasters (‘intensive risk’). Reducing extensive and intensive risk requires coordinated approaches involving urban planning and environmental management, public health, disaster management, and climate change adaptation.
  • Urban risk reduction policy is required to tackle access to safe water and sanitation, solid waste collection, safe and secure land for housing, information on risk and its reduction, inclusive decision-making processes and planning procedures, among other factors that mediate between hazard outcomes and dynamic risk governance processes.