Author Biography

Tim Prior is head of the Risk and Resilience Research Group at the Center for Security Studies (CSS). He has completed a Doctorate in Social and Environmental Psychology from the University of Tasmania (Australia), a Master's degree in Environmental Science from James Cook University (Australia), and completed his undergraduate studies in quantitative ecology. Before joining the CSS, he was a research principal at the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology, Sydney. Tim's research has focused on risk and decision making under uncertainty, particularly in relation to individual, community and organizational preparation and response to environmental risk. His most recent work has included foresighting research on natural resource security in Australia, as well as exploring new mechanisms for risk communication with respect to natural hazards like wildfire. Florian Roth is a researcher at the Center for Security Studies. He studied Political Science, History, Arts and Media at the University of Konstanz. His research interests include security risk management, risk communication as well as armed conflicts and peace operations.



Subject Area Keywords

Complex emergencies, Environment, sustainability and security, Global trends and risks, Globalization and global change, Security management


Today the majority of the globe’s inhabitants live in urban areas, and according to all prognoses, cities will continue to grow in the coming decades. Global cities are also becoming increasingly connected as a result of economic, political, cultural and demographic globalization. In the context of urban security management, the growing complexity these connections bring may present a double-edged sword: global cities can be both the most secure and the most dangerous places to be when disaster strikes. Developing appropriate mechanisms to prepare for and cope with complex crises in cities will, in the future, be a key aspect of security policy-making. In this article we explore current trends in research and practice concerning the management of disasters in eight global cities, particularly focusing on aspects of preparedness, response, urban resilience and cooperation. The results of the study indicate that cities must improve the capacity to predict new or unforeseen risk by diversifying capabilities for risk assessment and improving inter-agency collaborations. In addition, cities must adopt new approaches to disaster management that are sufficiently flexible to adapt to a changing risk environment and to safeguard urban security.