Identifying Urban Flashpoints

A Delphi-Derived Model for Scoring Cities' Vulnerability to Large-Scale Unrest

Published in: Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, v. 31, no. 11, 2008, p. 981-1000

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2007

by Christopher Paul, Russell W. Glenn, Beth Grill, Megan McKernan, Barbara Raymond, Matthew Stafford, Horacio R. Trujillo

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Although great strides have been made toward forecasting state-level instability, little progress has been made toward the prediction of outbreaks of urban unrest. This article presents a method for the assessment of cities' vulnerability to large-scale urban unrest. Forty-five factors correlated with urban unrest are identified and weighted by an expert panel. Based on expert elicitation through an iterative Delphi exercise, the explicitly methodological discussion describes both the process and the resulting assessment framework. Results include a tool that will allow users to rank cities on their vulnerability to large-scale urban unrest.

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