The Urban Risk Center (URC) is a Florida State University initiative, located in Panama with a regional focus, whose primary objective is to bridge different sectors of society (government, civil society organizations, communities, the private sector, and academia) to foster urban risk analysis to advance urban sustainability and resilience. URC defines urban risk as one engendered by natural, anthropogenic, technological and complex hazards affecting the welfare of the urban population. While this is a broad definition, the Center’s initial emphasis stems from an Urban Disaster Risk Reduction framework.


URC’s interdisciplinary and comprehensive approach abides by the terms of the following global accords and frameworks: i). UN Sustainable Development Goals; ii). Paris agreement; iii). New Urban Agenda from Habitat III; and iv). Sendai framework for Disaster  Risk Reduction.
The Center will engage in a series of activities through four components, which are listed below:

  • Bridging: Fostering dialogues and activities to bring together different stakeholders to promote synergies for better interaction, coordination and collaborative work in urban risk. Active advice at various geographic and administrative scales in land use planning for improved urban resiliency and sustainability.
  • Education and Research: Develop educational programs for capacity building in urban risk reduction and resilience at different levels: continuing education (professional certificate programs) and graduate degree programs. Applied and policy research in urban risk will be a thematic domain of the Center’s academic approach.
  • Dissemination: Active participation in academic fora and related urban risk studies.
  • Technology Innovation: Use and adaptation of the state-of-the-art regarding technological innovation for better spatial modeling and analysis of risk.

Thematic scope within research themes

Considering the interdisciplinary focus of the URC, the following research topics are considered central to the advancement of its mission. These themes will often straddle more than one track.

  • Disaster risk
  • Climate change
  • Urban health
  • Land use change
  • Communication of risk
  • Social and economic impact of disaster
  • Governance
  • Urban resilience
  • Urban risk reduction
  • Bioremediation

Additional approaches /strategies to urban risk reduction are:

  • Disaster Urban Risk reduction
  • Resilience in urban environments
  • Public-private alliances
  • Forensic risk assessment

The Center aims at working with diverse stakeholders, which include community organizations, local and national organizations (both governmental and non-governmental), international development agencies, academic institutions, and the private sector. The URC recognizes a stakeholder as any person, entity, or community participating in the Center’s sponsored activities as partners, researchers, and project sponsors.