Document / Publication
Urban Africa Risk Knowledge (Urban ARK)
This brief describes the Urban ARK multi-country research programme's approach to assessing the range of risks facing urban populations in sub-Saharan Africa. A 'spectrum of methods' approach was identified as an effective way of understanding urban risk, and an essential tool for breaking the cycle of risk accumulation. This entailed addressing the data deficit through a range of methods including documentary and institutional analysis, household surveys and participatory mapping, and remote sensing techniques.
The brief notes that studies of disaster risk focus primarily on large single hazard disasters that cause substantial damage to property or loss of life and therefore fail to account for dispersed and recurrent occurrences of small and medium scale impacts that cumulatively erode coping capacities and livelihoods. Adopting a mixed methods approach (quantitative and qualitative, deductive and inductive) helps to bridge technical, historical, social, health, and other perspectives and data, and increases the understanding of a broader range of urban risks in Africa.