Resilience and the Fragile City

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    Project Manager :
    John de Boer

    Humanitarian, security, and development actors are witnessing two distinct but intertwined trends that will have a dramatic impact on their policies and operations. The first relates to the fact that the locus of global poverty and vulnerability to disaster are increasingly concentrated in fragile and conflict-affected situations. The second trend is associated with the notion that the world has entered a period of unprecedented urbanization. For the first time in history, more people live inside urban centers than outside of them. As the world continues to urbanize, global emergencies will increasingly be concentrated in cities, particularly in lower income and fragile and conflict-affected situations (FCS) where the pace of urbanization is fastest. What these trends mean for development and peacebuilding actors is that they are increasingly going to be called upon to work in urban contexts that are prone to interlocking crises characterized by violence, poverty, and disaster. Yet, despite the growing risks facing urban populations living in FCS countries, there is very little understanding of what can be done to reduce the risks posed to these populations. This project seeks to address this gap by breaking down the institutional barriers and technical silos that exist between political, security, development, and humanitarian efforts in FCS. It will do so by engaging in a joint UN-World Bank analysis of how to promote resilience in cities that are prone to recurrent crises of violence, poverty, and disaster. This research project has two key objectives: 1) to provide an accurate analysis of the vulnerability and resilience in disaster and violence prone cities; and 2) to identify feasible options to reduce the vulnerability and enhance the resilience of urban populations most at risk to multiple and interlocking crises. To that end, this project will document how cumulative risks can exacerbate vulnerability in cities, making them fragile; outline capacities and assets that can be harnessed to mitigate these risks; and describe how practical and targeted investments in protective factors by donors and governments can help diminish these risks and reverse fragility.