Dr. Robert Muggah


Security, Smart Cities, Data Visualization

Request Robert for Your Event

Areas of Expertise

GGC-Governance  •  Smart Cities  •  GGC-Security

About Robert

Robert Muggah is a specialist in cities, security, migration and new technologies. He co-founded the Igarapé Institute – a think and do tank working on data-driven safety and justice across Latin America and Africa, where he is currently the director of research. He also co-founded the SecDev Foundation and Group – organizations devoted to cyber security and the digital economy, especially in the Middle East and Eurasia, and South Asia regions. He consults with governments, the UN, World Bank and firms ranging from Google to McKinsey. He is known for designing award-winning interactive data visualizations that track the global arms trade, homicidal violence, fragile cities, and climate change. He has also developed open source body cameras for police accountability and predictive crime dashboards.

In addition to his work at Singularity, Robert is also associated with the University of Oxford, the University of San Diego, the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro and the Graduate Institute Switzerland. He is the co-founder and executive editor of Stability and is on the editorial boards of several prominent journals. Dr. Muggah serves as a senior adviser to the Inter-American Development Bank, UN agencies, and the World Bank. He routinely advises national and city governments, international organizations and civil society groups on security and development. Between 2012 and 2013 he was an adviser to the High Level Panel on the post-2015 development agenda and in 2016 he was nominated by the UN Secretary General to serve on an expert panel for Youth, Peace and Security.

Previously, Robert was research director at the Small Arms Survey (2000-2011), a lecturer at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva and an adviser to a number of multilateral and bilateral organizations on issues of arms control, security sector reform, humanitarian issues, and post-conflict recovery and reconstruction. He has led research and evaluations in over 30 countries across Latin America and the Caribbean, Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and the Middle East, South Asia and the South Pacific on related themes. He has overseen chapters for a range of international publications, including UN Human Development Reports, the World Bank´s Development Report, the World Economic Forum´s Global Risk reports and others.

Robert has published seven books and hundreds of policy and peer-reviewed articles. His latest volumes include Open Empowerment (Ottawa: IDRC, 2016), Stability Operations, Security and Development (New York: Routledge, 2013) and co-editor of the Global Burden of Armed Violence (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011 and 2008). He is also the author of Security and Post-Conflict Reconstruction: Dealing with Fighters in the Aftermath of War (New York: Routledge, 2009), Relocation Failures in Sri Lanka: A Short History of Internal Displacement (London: Zed Books, 2008), and No Refuge: The Crisis of Refugee Militarization in Africa (London: Zed Books 2006) and several editions of the Small Arms Survey (Cambridge University Press) since 2001.

Robert´s research is featured regularly in the international media, including the Atlantic, BBC, Bloomberg, CNN, FastCompany, Financial Times, Guardian, Economist, El Pais, Financial Times, Foreign Affairs, o Globo, LA Times, New York Times, Newsweek, USA Today, and Wired. He is regular speaker at Global Smart City Expo, Chicago Council, World Economic Forum (Davos), and TED in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Robert is also a member of several international networks, including the World Economic Forum´s Council on Cities and Urbanization (fellow), Global Parliament of Mayors (co-chair), Know Violence in Childhood (co-chair), the Transnational Organized Crime Initiative (fellow), the RESOLVE network (board of directors) and others. Robert received his Dphil from the University of Oxford, his MPhil from the University of Sussex.

The biggest risks facing cities — and some solutions

What Makes Cities Fragile, and What Can We Do About It?, a Conversation with Dr Robert Muggah

Robert Muggah: The Greatest Problems Facing Modern Cities

Social Technology | SingularityU Brazil Summit

Speaking Topics

  • Redesigning Our Cities Will Shift Us from Urban Fragility to Resilience

    Cities are key to our surviving the twenty-first century. If we design them right, we just might make it. We get them wrong, and humanity is in deep trouble. The biggest challenges are not just faced by the world´s global cities in advanced economies, but especially in fast-growing urban agglomerations in Africa and Asia where 90% of future population is set to take place. A precondition to moving from fragile to resilient cities in the coming decades is good information.

    In this session, we’ll review the global threats to our cities and explore some of the strategies urbanites are deploying to address them. We will explore a Big Data visualization that tracks literally dozens of climate and anthropomorphic risks. In this session you will:

    – Better understand how fragility is affecting thousands of cities, especially in the Global South where most urban population growth is taking place;
    – Explore a number of climate-related challenges facing cities such as drought, rising sea levels, and deforestation;
    – Examine trends in rapid urbanization, migration and political violence in cities around the world; and
    – Review key design principles that can help build cities that both mitigate and adapt to gravest challenges of our era

See All Faculty