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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/P015506/1
Title: Newton Fund (Invitation Only): DISASTER RESILIENT CITIES: FORECASTING LOCAL LEVEL CLIMATE EXTREMES AND PHYSICAL HAZARDS FOR KUALA LUMPUR
Principal Investigator: D'Ayala, Professor DF
Other Investigators:
Rossetto, Professor T Malki-Epshtein, Dr L Saunders, Professor MA
Aktas, Dr YD
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Civil Environmental and Geomatic Eng
Organisation: UCL
Scheme: Newton Fund
Starts: 03 January 2017 Ends: 31 December 2019 Value (£): 198,042
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Climate & Climate Change Regional & Extreme Weather
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Environment Construction
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Recent natural disasters in Malaysia, such as the wide-spread floods in 2014/15 and the flash flooding of Kuala Lumpur in 2007, have revealed that improvements are required in the prediction of damaging natural hazards and in the capacity to manage the associated risks and consequences.

Appropriate to the theme of 'future cities', the focus of this project is the prediction and management of physical risks relevant to Kuala Lumpur, which is the Malaysian capital and the most populated city in Malaysia with around 8 million inhabitants. The particular hazards to be targeted in this project, that are common in Kuala Lumpur, are floods, landslides, sink holes, strong winds, urban heat and air pollution.

A consortium of 16 research and business partners from the UK and Malaysia has been assembled for this project. The basic strategy is to adapt and combine existing technologies to enhance hazard forecasting ability, and the main objective is to develop a prototype multi-hazard information platform suitable for communicating risks. The primary beneficiaries will be risk managers and decision-makers in Malaysian local government and the insurance sector. The project objectives relate to the Malaysian Science to Action initiative, which has an aim of mobilising science for societal well-being.

University College London is one of the main UK academic partners and contributes to WP2 on both the simulation urban flood risk and urban heat islands in Kuala Lumpur.

With relation to urban flood risk, UCL's role is to contribute to the determination of rainfall scenarios in the hazard assessment, and to propose and test approaches for loss estimation from the rainfall and urban flooding scenarios. This work will be carried out in close collaboration with JBA and Met Malaysia.

In the context of the urban heat island simulations, UCL will modify an existing software platform to account for the specifics of tropical climates and better characterise the effects of varying building materials on the heat absorption and heat storage of the built environment. The new version of the software will be used to assess the susceptibility to heat-related hazards of several pilot areas in Kuala Lumpur, selected to have different land use features and urban characteristics. This work will be carried out in collaboration with CERC and Met Malaysia, and will involve field investigations.

Benefits of the project will include improved information regarding the risks of occurrence of natural hazards that will enable Malaysian local authorities to make better contingency plans to mitigate the effects of such hazards. This will in turn provide economic benefits and improve the quality of life for Malaysian citizens. Improved information about geophysical and atmospheric hazards will also aid the development of insurance services.

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