Urban Theme


Prof Jan Lindsay

Programme Co-Leader

University of Auckland


Prof David Johnston

Programme Co-Leader

Massey University



The urgency for future urban resilience solutions is increasing. Our urban areas are growing rapidly, with increasingly diverse populations; greater loads on our infrastructure; and increased exposure to natural hazards including the effects of climate change. In this Theme, we will extend our Auckland-centred urban resilience work from Phase 1 of the Challenge to focus on “all of New Zealand” urban resilience. We will seek evidence and solutions to address challenges and opportunities for resilience that are emerging due to population changes, technological advancements, densification of our built environment, and a growing understanding of disaster risk to our cities.

At the end of our work programme, we will have a thriving Community of Practice of urban resilience researchers and practitioners that are linked into and benefit from key international and national networks. Local and national government, communities, businesses, Māori organisations and major research programmes will be applying and adapting co-created, multi-hazard, resilience solutions for our cities.



Smart Cities

Emerging technology and data processing tools, such as self-configurable Sensor Networks, Internet of Things technologies, Next Generation Mobile and Broadcasting platforms, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence are transforming the cities that we live in, and the way we live in them. The Smart Resilience Cities workstream explores how the Smart City model could be used for pre-disaster recovery planning and post-disaster recovery operations.

Project lead: Prof David Johnston (Massey University)


Inclusive Urban Communities

How to most effectively enable our diverse communities to become advocates for resilience.

Project lead: Dr JC Gaillard (University of Auckland) and Loïc Le Dé (Auckland University of Technology)


Pathways to Urban Resilience

Whether our existing hazard, risk and other resilience research is being adequately integrated into plans and policies, and through these insights, developing best practice approaches for linking our research to urban governance.

Project lead: Prof Jan Lindsay (University of Auckland)


Recipients of the Urban Resilience Innovation & Collaboration Hub contestable funding

The Urban team have announced the recipients of the Urban Resilience Innovation &  Collaboration Hub, a round of contestable funding with the purpose of supporting research that promotes urban resilience in New Zealand. The fund provides up to NZD $10,000 for projects that add value to the existing work within the Urban programme.

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Urban Programme Tikanga

We are excited to share our Tikanga (a commitment to values and practices) for the Urban programme. Our Tikanga is informed by a combination of the overarching goals of the Resilience National Science Challenge; the priorities highlighted during our Values Hui (held in 2019); and several key academic works emphasising the importance of including indigenous ways of understanding in disaster studies, as well as developing respectful, reciprocal and genuine relationships between local and external researchers. Researchers involved in the Urban Theme project are expected to carry out their mahi (work) in line with our Tikanga.

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Student profile: Hamed Khatibi

Hamed is from the famous and ancient city of Damghan in Iran, and has studied and lectured in Civil Engineering in Malaysia. Now he is taking up a PhD position through our Urban programme, at The University of Auckland with Prof Suzanne Wilkinson. Hamed is exploring new frameworks to establish and further the Smart and Resilient Cities concept.

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Smart Resilient Cities launch new website


The Smart Cities project will explore how the Smart City model could be used for pre-disaster recovery planning and post-disaster recovery operations. A new website and postcard have been launched to share the project’s activities.

Smart Cities website > 

Smart Cities postcard >

Urban theme: 2019 workshop reports

Over the course of 2019, the Urban theme conducted five workshops with researchers and stakeholders, as part of planning and setting agendas for the research programme.

You can find the reports from the workshops below:


Q & A with Prof Jan Lindsay

We get to know Professor Jan Lindsay of the University of Auckland, who co-leads our Urban programme as well as the DEVORA research programme.

I started by congratulating Jan on becoming the first woman Professor of Volcanology in Aotearoa New Zealand. 

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