Dr. Ebru Gencer

Founding Executive Director, Center for Urban Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience

Dr. Ebru Gencer is the Founding Executive Director of the Center for Urban Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience (CUDRR+R), a non-profit research center based in New York City. She is also an Adjunct Associate Professor of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University; Co-Chair of the Urban Planning Advisory Group (UPAG) to the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative on Disaster Risk Reduction; and a member of the Steering Committees of the Making Cities Resilient Campaign and the Global Alliance for Urban Crises.
Dr. Gencer has a Ph.D (2007) and MPhil from the Urban Planning Program at Columbia University. She also holds a MSc in Urban Preservation and a Diploma in City and Regional Planning from Mimar Sinan University in Istanbul. In 2016, she was a nominee for the AXA Foundation Award for Urban Vulnerability on the Global South. She was formerly a recipient of World Bank (ProVention Consortium’s) Applied Research Grants on Disaster Risk Reduction (2003-2005) and a Fellow of the UNU-EHS and Munich RE Foundation’s Academy on Social Vulnerability (2007).

Dr. Gencer has worked on disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation, and urban design projects in South-Eastern Europe, Turkey, Latin America and the Caribbean regions including with positions at Columbia University’s Earth Institute and the Euro-Mediterranean Climate Change Center in Venice, Italy, as well as consultancies for the United Nations system. With her role as the Co-Chair of UPAG, Dr. Gencer participated in the development the New Ten Essentials and the local/urban indicators to facilitate the implementation of Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction at local level. At CUDRR+R, she recently undertook a project on participatory planning for inclusive and climate resilient development in small to medium sized cities in Colombia, El Salvador and Argentina together with project partners IIED-AL and ALTERRA.

Ebru Gencer has presented extensively at conferences and is the author of several books and articles on the nexus of disaster risk reduction, climate resilience and sustainable urban development, among others: The Handbook for Local Government Leaders: How to Make Cities More Resilient (UNISDR 2017), the Local Government Powers for Disaster Risk Reduction: A Study on Local Level Authority and Capacity for Resilience (UN 2017), A Compendium on Disaster Risk Reduction Practices on Western Balkans and Turkey (UNISDR and WMO 2014), The Interplay Between Urban Development, Vulnerability and Risk Management: A Case Study of the Istanbul Metropolitan Area (Springer 2013), and Natural Disasters, Vulnerability and Sustainable Development (VDM 2008). She is also one of the Coordinating Lead Authors of the Urban Climate Change Research Network’s (UCCRN) Second Assessment Report on Climate Change and Cities (Cambridge University Press, 2018) and of the “Local Disaster Risk Reduction Strategies in Urban Areas” chapter of the 2019 Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction (UN 2019).