After pinpointing the most likely and severe risks, we must then begin to think about the interrelationships between risks. These connections are revealed through a look at the strongest risk clusters. The Dynamic Risk Assessment helps uncover the COVID-19 related risk clusters which could potentially impact cities.

As mentioned previously, most risks do not exist in a vacuum. Instead, they form complex relationship networks. Overall impacts on the entire risk network pose the greatest threat to cities as strongly connected risks can set in motion a series of events with severe and catastrophic consequences.

Most interconnected risks graph

As uncovered through Dynamic Risk Assessment, without intervention to fracture the existing linkages, the following seven risks (from a total of 18) create the strongest clusters:

  • Economic crisis
  • Civil unrest
  • Individualism vs the Common Good
  • Trust, leadership and politics
  • Funding availability
  • Tax
  • Inequitable effects of the pandemic

Collectively, the clusters increase the likelihood and severity of the related risks. With this in mind, it’s important to think about the overall network and how each risks fits within it. While some risks, such as individualism and the common good, might not have ranked among the top risks in terms of severity and likelihood, their place within the clusters amplifies their potential impact on cities.

The clusters also shed light on the potential timeframes for when risks might materialize. For the strongest city risk clusters, the timeframes vary between seven to eight months. Understanding which risk are likely to occur along with their timelines is critical in developing effective contingency plans. What happens however when unlikely risks with devastating impacts come to fruition? How can we best plan for these ‘black swan’ scenarios? Read the following article from this series: Weakly-linked risks with severe outcomes (Black Swans).

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