Creating a Decision Support Environment for Risk-Sensitive, Pro-Poor Urban Planning and Development of Tomorrow’s Cities

Gemma Cremen, Maria Evangelina Filippi, Suresh Chaudhary, Emin Yahya Menteşe

Tomorrow’s Cities is the United Kingdom Research and Innovation (UKRI) Global Challenge Research Fund (GCRF) Urban Disaster Risk Hub. Working internationally, the ultimate goal of the Hub is to reduce disaster risk for the poor and most marginalized in tomorrow’s cities. It is by facilitating a transition from reactive crisis management to proactive risk-informed, people-centred, and pro-poor urban planning and future development, that we will best reduce future urban disaster risk. Against a backdrop of ever-increasing human populations, urbanization, social inequality, and climate change, this ambition is critically time-sensitive.Central to our mission is the development of a state-of-practice decision support environment (DSE) that advances beyond the limits of current conventional risk models by placing knowledge co-production at the heart of risk-informed decision-making. Through a democratization of the concept of risk, we explore novel understandings of risk that recognise the life experiences of the poor and most marginalised social groups. The DSE explicitly incorporates these diverse understandings to enable the iterative assessment of different policies, urban plans, and interventions in terms of their disaster-related impact on future economic, environmental, and social objectives cooperatively agreed with relevant stakeholders. These assessments are underpinned by interdisciplinary open-source tools and processes that include: state-of-the-art physics-based multi-hazard and physical vulnerability models, innovative methods for harmonising physical and social sciences, and rigorous capacity-strengthening strategies. This Special Issue aims to showcase the research of the Hub that is contributing to the evolving development of this Tomorrow’s Cities DSE.