Ahead of the United Nations Habitat III conference, UNU-EHS expert Dr. Matthias Garschagen has co-authored an article for the leading scientific journal Nature about the importance of boosting the resilience of small and mid-sized cities.
Habitat III, the third edition of the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, will be held in the Ecuadorian capital from 17 to 20 October. Notably, the city, along with nearby Manta and Portoviejo was hit by an earthquake in April of this year, killing 660 people and injuring more than 10,000.
That earthquake served as a sad reminder of just how vulnerable urban areas are to natural hazards. The new Nature article co-authored by Dr. Garschagen, who is the head of Vulnerability Assessment, Risk Management and Adaptive Planning at UNU-EHS, argues that Habitat III needs to focus on small and medium-sized cities, and in particular those in Africa and Asia. According this latest research, a combination of rapid population growth, high levels of poverty and insufficient infrastructure and governance make them especially vulnerable to natural hazards such as earthquakes, floods and storms.
Read the article in full on the Nature website