WP2 – Hazards Assessment

WP 2 focusses on the physical processes of natural hazards and their interaction with human systems. This is done in two parts: (i) multi-hazard interactions impact on infrastructure networks and (ii) climate downscaling for urban planning and incorporation into decision making. This research requires original ways to collect and interrogate data on hazards and impact in an African development context; and novel approaches to modelling hazard impact upon the built environment. Work will target Karonga, Nairobi and to a lesser extent Ibadan. 

WP2.1 Single and multi-hazard impacts on infrastructure: 

Work will be performed in partnership with local city teams to:

  1. Explore physical and technological hazard interactions that have occurred in the past (through published literature, grey literature, interviews).
  2. Assess the impact of hazard interactions on networked infrastructure by studying what properties of the built environment may intensify or lessen the impacts of a hazard.
  3. Develop and use computer simulation models that use the properties of infrastructure networks for some of the case study cities to simulate multiple combinations of hazards and events of different size for alternative scenarios of vulnerability based on local assessments (e.g., population densities, presence/adherence to building codes).
  4. Explore with local partners how simulated impacts on infrastructure networks may be mitigated to reduce the impacts of event sizes in the future (e.g., under changed climates or different sized infrastructure topologies). These mitigation measures might include changes to infrastructure networks or repositioning of emergency and/or heath care service centres to more resilient points in the network. 

The research and modelling will use spatial data and be implemented within a Geographical Information System (GIS) framework to enable the production, and visualization of probabilistic risk maps.  

WP2.2 Climate and Risk in Urban Settings: 

Research will: 

  1. Supplement existing archives of climate data from the University of Cape Town Climate Systems Analysis Group (CSAG) for local case study sites with existing Archives (e.g., using local Meteorological Services). 
  2. Supplement observed climate data with other anecdotal or official information about historical disasters or extreme events related to climate extremes.  
  3. Produce future climate projections using both global model data, which is already available in the form of theCMIP5 model Archives, and downscaled data.  

In order to better understand and model the impact of hazards in urban Africa, datasets such as records of the past incidences of hazard events, infrastructure maps and environmental observations are required. Yet, access to data is a major limitation in many developing countries (Leidig and Teeuw, 2015). To partially address this issue, Urban ARK WP2.1 have complied a database of 73 datasources relevant to understanding urban risk in Africa, most of which are freely available to download for many locations across Africa and the globe. A list of these datasources, some metadata and notes about uncertainties/limitations is available to view at: http://tinyurl.com/africa-datasets. We are keen to receive feedback and suggestions for additions to this database - if you use this database, or have comments, please contact faith.taylor@kcl.ac.uk to let us know your thoughts. We hope this living document is a useful resource to many working in the fields of disasters, infrastructure, environmental science and cartography, and welcome you to share and collaborate in this work.

SUMMARY:  The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) has led a move to encourage and support governments to greatly improve the accuracy and detail in their records o


David Satterthwaite, David Dodman, Mark Pelling

This paper examines the availability of data on disaster losses in urban areas in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and what this data tells us. 


Emmanuel Osuteye, Cassidy Johnson and Donald Brown

The purpose of this background paper is to describe recent trends in African urban centres, review potential future trajectories of these, and examine their possible implications for risk accumulat


David Dodman, Hayley Leck, Maria Rusca and Sarah Colenbrander

This diagnostic report for the city of Ibadan provides important overview insights and data on city population and growth, urban pattern, urban challenges such as unemployment and poverty, inadequa


Ibidun Adelekan

The main urban issue that sub-Saharan Africa is facing is a rapid growth in its urban population (or in the population of particular cities) without the urban governance structures in place that ca


David Satterthwaite

Populations and assets, in African cities, small and large, are among the most vulnerable to disaster risk globally. Climate change and demographic shifts add urgency and uncertainty.



Ibidun Adelekan, Cassidy Johnson, Mtafu Manda, et al


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