Cities at Risk: Planning for and Recovering from Natural Disasters, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Cities at Risk

Planning for and Recovering from Natural Disasters, 1st Edition

By Pierre Filion, Gary Sands


232 pages

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As levels of urbanization increase around the world, the growing concentrations of population and economic activity increases vulnerability to natural disasters. Interdependencies among urban populations mean that damage to the built environment, including water, sewer and energy infrastructure, can affect millions. Even if there is no change in the rate of occurrence of natural disasters (an unlikely prospect in the face of ongoing climate change) the potential for human and economic loss will continue to increase, along with the time required to recover. How do cities prepare for and recover from natural disasters? In this book, the authors provide a broad overview of the issues related to the impacts of disasters on cities around the world, from assessing risks to accounting for damages. The comparative approach across different types of disasters in a range of urban locations is useful in identifying opportunities for policy transfer. While there is no ’one size fits all’ solution to hazard mitigation, valuable lessons can be learned from the experiences of others. The chapters emphasize different modes for assessing hazard risk, as well as strategies for increasing the resiliency of vulnerable populations.


’Cities at Risk distils critical lessons from responses to disasters in developed and developing countries, in recent years and in historic circumstances. Its authors offer keen insights into the factors that increase vulnerability and undermine effective action. Moreover, they expose the political economy within which state agents plan to reduce risk and manage disaster response. An impressive contribution!’ Jill L. Grant, Dalhousie University, Canada ’Disaster has become an increasingly recurrent aspect of everyday life. In this important collection Filion, Sands and Skidmore show why this is so, and explain the emergence of various forms of state and civil society responses over recent years. Their analysis of diverse case studies guides the creation of resilient modes of urban planning and governance, and is essential reading.’ Ian Skelton, University of Manitoba, Canada

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction: urban resilience efforts in the face of natural disasters, Pierre Filion, Mark Skidmore and Gary Sands; Enhancing hazard resilience among impoverished urban communities in Ghana: the role of women as catalysts for improvement, Robin L. Ersing, Osman Alhassan, Jesse Sey Ayivor and Kiki Caruson; An analysis of governmental performance during urban disasters: Fukushima and Hurricane Sandy, Saundra K. Schneider and Marty P. Jordan; Urban disaster recovery: considerations for damage reduction and sustainability, Zhila Pooyan; The earthquakes in Lisbon (1755) and Angra do Heroismo (1980): reconstruction processes and actual risk, Artur Feio, Roberto Bologna, Daniel Monteiro and Daniel Felix; From disaster to opportunity: reviving urban function after the Canterbury earthquakes, Joanne Stevenson, Sonia Giovinazzi, Erica Seville, Charlotte Brown, Yan (Alice) Chang-Richards and Suzanne Wilkinson; Adaptive strategies of urban disaster recovery planning, Mark Kammerbauer; Urban vulnerability and resiliency to natural disasters: an integrative tourism planning perspective, Hyun Kim and David W. Marcouiller; Computing the aggregate cost of a disaster: national and regional issues, Charles Steindel; Conclusion: stages and scales of urban resilience strategies, Gary Sands, Pierre Filion and Mark Skidmore; Index.

About the Authors

Pierre Filion is Professor of Urban Planning at the University of Waterloo in Ontario Canada. Gary Sands is Professor Emeritus of Urban Planning at Wayne State University in Detroit. Mark Skidmore is Professor of Economics at Michigan State University where he holds the Morris Chair in State and Local Government Finance.

About the Series

Global Urban Studies

Global Urban Studies

This series is published in conjunction with the School of Planning, Design, and Construction at Michigan State University, USA.

Providing cutting edge interdisciplinary research on spatial, political, cultural and economic processes and issues in urban areas across the US and the world, books in this series examine the global processes that impact and unite urban areas. The organizing theme of the book series is the reality that behavior within and between cities and urban regions must be understood in a larger domestic and international context. An explicitly comparative approach to understanding urban issues and problems allows scholars and students to consider and analyse new ways in which urban areas across different societies and within the same society interact with each other and address a common set of challenges or issues. Books in the series cover topics which are common to urban areas globally, yet illustrate the similarities and differences in conditions, approaches, and solutions across the world, such as environment/brownfields, sustainability, health, economic development, culture, governance and national security. In short, the Global Urban Studies book series takes an interdisciplinary approach to emergent urban issues using a global or comparative perspective.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
NATURE / Natural Resources
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / City Planning & Urban Development