Meeting the Urban Challenge

This document provides an overview of current thinking and emerging good practice related to humanitarian action in an urban environment. It is based on the discussions held at the 27th Meeting of the Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action (ALNAP) Meeting the Urban Challenge and on a review of recent literature on humanitarian responses to urban crises. It considers how the nature of urban space and of urban populations influences disasters in cities; it outlines how the humanitarian community is adapting to address the challenges posed by urban areas; and it proposes some ˜next steps' for the humanitarian community.
ALNAP's members have conducted preparedness, relief and early recovery work in urban environments for many years, in contexts as diverse as Huambo, Kabul and Kolkota. In many cases, this work has been seen as a relatively small part of larger programmes, or as ˜atypical' or a ˜one off '. As a result there has been comparatively little analysis of urban humanitarian action as a category.