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Identifying Urban Flashpoints: A Delphi-Derived Model for Scoring Cities' Vulnerability to Large-Scale Unrest

NCJ Number
Studies in Conflict and Terrorism Volume: 31 Issue: 11 Dated: November 2008 Pages: 1032-1051
Christopher Paul; Russell W. Glenn; Beth Grill; Megan P. McKernan; Barbara Raymond; Matt Stafford; Horacio R. Trujillo
Date Published
November 2008
20 pages
This article presents a method for the assessment of cities’ vulnerability to large-scale urban unrest.
The Delphi-Derived Model produced an excellent first cut tool for the assessment of vulnerability to unrest. Interested analysts can choose a set of cities, evaluate the presence or absence of the selected factors, and rank order the cities on their prospects for instability. In addition, the priority given to certain factors suggests monitoring changes in State for those factors might be useful for evaluating trends in cities and whether they are becoming more or less prone to unrest. The Delphi method was developed at RAND in the 1960s. Experts individually make assessments or provide input and then offer written justification for those assessments. The result is a consensual set of expert assessments based on more information than any single expert initially considered. 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 goal of this article was to assess the vulnerability of selected cities to large-scale urban unrest (people engaged in a range of activities in defiance of and/or resistance to established authority, convention, and/or government). Tables, figure, notes and appendix


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