Urbanization and Resilience Program

Rapid urbanization concentrates risks and hazards to health, wellbeing and crises. Urban crises also challenge the humanitarian ecosystem in unprecedented ways necessitating a radical change from business as usual. Yet, this demographic shift opens new opportunities for innovation in program and policy to protect individual and planetary health. This program investigates urban environments and crises to disaggregate cumulative risks, interrogate the drivers and interactive effects of those risks and study protective factors that allow individuals, households, communities and cities to thrive.

Randomized Controlled Trial of Small Business Disaster Microinsurance in Urban Slums for Local Market and Livelihood Recovery

Investigating Gender Based Insecurity and Mobility in Dhaka, Bangladesh; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Port-au-Prince, Haiti

The City Fragility and Resilience Framework

Featured Publications


Humanitarian actors have long used the Sphere Handbook and its minimum standards to guide operational practice. The new revision attempts to...


Systematic Review

Individuals and organizations responding to humanitarian crises recognize the need to improve urban emergency response and preparedness – including the need to devise better methods for assessing vulnerability within urban populations. 

This systematic review represents the first ever attempt to systematically search, sort and synthesize the existing evidence in order to consolidate findings on the tools, methods and metrics used to identify and prioritize vulnerable people, households and communities, including those displaced within and to urban areas

Systematic Review


Shelter Self-Recovery and Urban Response

Listen to Dr. Patel on the Humanitarian Evidence Webinar discussing the program’s systematic review of targeting in urban humanitarian crises here

Urban Humanitarian Emergencies Course

The Urban Humanitarian Emergencies Course is a four-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 2021
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA