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Durham University

Department of Geography

Staff Profile

Publication details for Dr Hanna Ruszczyk

Ruszczyk, Hanna A. A continuum of perceived urban risk – from the Gorkha earthquake to economic insecurity. Environment and Urbanization. 2018;30:317-332.

Author(s) from Durham


Global discussions of risk in the disaster risk reduction literature do not necessarily reflect the range of risk as understood by residents in the urban South. This intra-urban comparison from Bharatpur, Nepal, where the Gorkha earthquake struck in 2015, shows how residents in two different wards perceive risks related to themselves, their families and their urban environment. The continuum of perceived urban risk includes events such as the Gorkha earthquake and the administrative change, as well as everyday concerns such as poor quality of infrastructure provision and economic insecurity. By contrasting the views of these residents of an “ordinary” city in the urban South, and comparing them also with the views of the local authority, this paper allows for an enriched understanding of how risk is understood, highlighting the breadth of concerns involved, and the tensions in understandings of the full spectrum of urban risk. Understandings and definitions of risk matter. If perceptions of risk from the local level are not included within the broader disaster risk reduction discourse, this shapes and in effect limits the risks that are actually managed through policy and practice.