Ebru Gencer is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University. She is also a Senior Urban Resilience Adviser at the World Bank, and an Associate Editor of the Progress in Disaster Science Journal.
Previously, Ebru Gencer was the Founding Executive Director of the Center for Urban Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience (CUDRR+R), a non-profit research center based in New York City; the Chair of the Urban Planning Advisory Group (UPAG) to the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative on Disaster Risk Reduction; and a member of the Steering Committees of the Making Cities Resilient Campaign and the Global Alliance for Urban Crises.
Ebru Gencer is a graduate of the Urban Planning Program at Columbia University (Ph.D, 2007; MPhil 2001). She also holds a MSc in Urban Preservation and a Diploma in City and Regional Planning from Mimar Sinan University in Istanbul. Her doctoral dissertation, which received a Young Scientists Grant from the World Bank, examined “The interplays between Natural Disasters and Sustainable Development.”
Dr. Gencer has worked on disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation, and urban development and design projects in South-Eastern Europe, Turkey, Latin America and the Caribbean regions including with positions at Columbia University’s Earth Institute and the Euro-Mediterranean Climate Change Center in Venice, Italy, as well as consultancies for the United Nations system. She also taught at the Master of Science in Emergency Architecture Program at the International University of Catalonia, in Barcelona.
With her role as the Chair of UPAG, among others, Dr. Gencer led the development of local/urban indicators for assessing local government actions for reducing risk and building resilience. At CUDRR+R, she undertook a climate resilient development project in small- to medium-sized cities in Colombia, El Salvador and Argentina.
Ebru Gencer has presented extensively at conferences and is the author of several books and articles on the nexus of disaster risk reduction, climate resilience and sustainable urban development, among them: Learning Modules on Resilient Cities and Territories (UCLG, UN-Habitat and UNDRR 2020), The Handbook for Local Government Leaders: How to Make Cities More Resilient (UNISDR 2017), the Local Government Powers for Disaster Risk Reduction: A Study on Local Level Authority and Capacity for Resilience (UN 2017), A Compendium on Disaster Risk Reduction Practices on Western Balkans and Turkey (UNISDR and WMO 2014), The Interplay Between Urban Development, Vulnerability and Risk Management: A Case Study of the Istanbul Metropolitan Area (Springer 2013), and Natural Disasters, Vulnerability, and Sustainable Development (VDM 2008).
She is also one of the Coordinating Lead Authors of the Urban Climate Change Research Network’s (UCCRN) Second Assessment Report on Climate Change and Cities (Cambridge University Press, 2018), and a co-author of the Words into Action Guide on Traditional Knowledges for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR and ICCROM – in process).