Interdisciplinary Research Center on Urban Risks and Crisis

Interdisciplinary project

To propose an experimental and evolving system that brings out innovative and interdisciplinary research

Urban Risks and Crisis

The project works across the risk and crisis continuum, adopting a multi-risk perspective and on several geographical scales (from the individual to the collective)


To bring out projects by proposing new approaches and methods that meet the needs of partners


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URL: it’s over!

Founded in 2018, UrbaRiskLab (URL) came to an end in June 2023.

Five rich and sometimes tumultuous years (the COVID19 pandemic came and went ...). But the latter also turned into an opportunity: the decision was taken to create an internal Project call to mobilize the consortium on pandemic-related issues, which resulted in the funding of 5 research projects. The ambition of the URL project was twofold: to generate projects that would take a "step aside" from standard research practice in the field of risks and crises, which is essentially characterized by a siloed, rather mono-disciplinary study of risks, and second, to build a research community in an institutional environment characterized by the creation of the Gustave Eiffel University (UGE).

A complete success, in a few figures.

  • 4 minilabs have been created ("Data analysis and processing", "Sensors and uses", "Information flow in degraded situations" and "Visualizations"): their aim is to connect researchers and socio-professional partners (public, private and mixed) around common and structuring projects (such as PhD thesis, internships, research missions) meeting the specific needs of both communities, in order to promote interdisciplinarity.
  • 17 internships and 3 theses were financed.
  • All in all, more than 30 projects were carried out, enabling us to renew certain risk-related issues, as well as to test technology transfers.

Of course, there were also a few regrets: the project demonstrated the difficulty of setting up "radical" interdisciplinary situations. Secondly, the specificity of the urban context within risk studies, as well as multi-risk and multi-scale perspectives, were not sufficiently addressed by the projects, even though they represent a major challenge for our contemporary societies.

This is why additional work was carried out in the final year of the project, with the ambition of proposing a conceptualization of these aspects, the relevance of which was sadly demonstrated by recent events in the summer of 2023: the aim was to reflect on new types of risk and their management, taking, as Anna Tsing suggests, "non-scalability, not only as an object of description but also as an incentive for theory", which was explored through the notion of compound risks.

This piece of work has been published in the Journal of Risks Research in autumn 2023:

Facing nonscalability: Are risks still 'risks' when compound and catastrophic?

Christine Fassert, Valérie November, and Cassandre Rey-Thibault.

A more detailed report on the URL program can be found here.

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AAP internal URL award-winning projects

Following the launch of an internal URL call for projects on the theme of the health crisis, COMEX decided to select and fund five interdisciplinary research projects. The winners were:

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Newsletter #3 (July 2020) is available

The third URL Newsletter is available! Find out about what’s happening at URL, including the launch of its internal AAP and life in the MiniLabs.

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Analysis and data processing

Data qualification, optimization and reliability

Captors and uses

Innovative solutions to prevent and manage crises


Representation of complex data

Information flow in a degraded conditions

Information issues before and during a crisis

The Team

Valerie November

(CNRS/LATTS), Director

Alice Azémar

(UPE), Responsible for the strategic steering

Alexandre Geffroy

(UGE), Data management and analysis - Coordination aid