Urban Emergencies Program

The world is rapidly urbanizing with the majority of the world’s population now living in urban areas. In many rapidly urbanizing states, the slum population now makes up over 60% of the urban populace. This demographic transition is creating complex urban landscapes with disproportionately large slums that concentrate hazards and vulnerabilities to natural and man-made disasters. As a result, humanitarian emergencies will increasingly affect urban populations. Governments will need to proactively create development and planning policies for their urban areas and preparedness plans based on evidence. Humanitarian actors must learn to respond to the unique challenges of urban contexts while exploiting the advantages.

HHI is taking the lead on these complex topics by determining how to appropriately prepare for and respond to urban humanitarian emergencies and the chronic crisis facing urban slum populations. Through the Urban Emergencies Program, we advance knowledge on the chronic and acute needs of urban populations, address these challenges and investigate program and policy solutions. We partner with local actors, government authorities, international agencies and non-government organizations that have the ability to scale up our work and have an immediate impact.

Featured Publication

March, 2012

Rapid urbanization represents the most significant demographic change of the twenty-first century. 2008 marked the first time in human history that over half of the world population lived in urban settings. The process of urbanization, fueled by economic and social foreces, has particularly accelerated in countries in the Global South. By the year 2050, it is predicted that 70% of the world's population will live in urban settings. 

Urban Humanitarian Emergencies Course

The Urban Humanitarian Emergencies Course is a three-day training organized by the Academy's Lavine Family Humanitarian Studies Initiative to train humanitarian professionals on the current issues and practices involved in this unique and expanding area of research and practice.

Summer 2016
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA