As Robert Muir-Wood sees it, there’s a basic flaw in how cities perceive disaster risk.
City leaders tend to look back at recent history to understand how well prepared they are for big storms, earthquakes, tsunamis or volcanic eruptions. Instead, they need to get better at predicting, planning and managing around what’s likely to happen in the future.
Applying this sort of catastrophe modeling is Muir-Wood’s specialty. He’s the chief research officer for Risk Management Solutions, a company that develops catastrophe-risk software models for the insurance industry, and advises other businesses and governments on managing disaster risks. He’s also recently published a book that explores the science of disasters and how humans do and don’t prepare for them: “The Cure for Catastrophe: How We Can Stop Manufacturing Natural Disasters.”