19th International CODATA Conference
Category: Economic Development

Multi-hazard assessment at the national and local levels: Case studies in developing urban regions

Klaus Jacob and Art Lerner-Lam
Columbia University, USA

Cities are centers of economic opportunity and culture, and are a natural focus for investment and development.  The important role of cities is manifested globally in the trend toward increasing urbanization in most countries.  However, the increased concentration of physical and cultural assets that accompanies urbanization also increases their exposure to geographically limited natural hazards.  Urban assets can be fragile, especially in developing urban regions.  Thus risk management in developing metropolitan areas must be a component of development policy.

This paper summarizes the findings of a preliminary study of the natural hazards faced by Caracas, Venezuela, and proposes ways in which urban planning and design can incorporate a qualitative natural hazards risk assessment.  The report is designed to be illustrative, rather than comprehensive, since the development of an urban plan is a complicated and organic task with many stakeholders.  However, the methodological approach described in this work can serve as the basis for such a plan, and can be made transportable to other cities and regions.  Specific applications in Istanbul, Turkey, and Accra, Ghana, will be discussed.