I am an urban planner interested in disaster risk reduction in complex city systems, societal resilience, nature-based solutions and climate change adaptation. My PhD thesis (2013, Cum Laude) at Politecnico di Milano (POLIMI) was on the societal resilience of transportation systems against environmental disasters. Since 2019, I have worked at the University of Twente (UT) as an assistant professor of strategic spatial planning.

I have vast experience in EU-funded projects. Since 2008, I have worked as a coordinator, WP Coordinator, case study coordinator, assistant coordinator and researcher in various projects. For more details please see the research section. Additionally, In February 2020, I received ‘MSCA IF, 2020, Seal of Excellence’ for my proposal entitled “Nature-Based Solutions: Web of Nature in Urban Systems’, which addressed the challenge of integration of Nature-Based Solutions within urban systems to deal with multi-hazards as well as societal challenges, such as social inequality.

I am part of a large international network involved in as an invited expert, a member of international scientific advisory boards, a project proposal reviewer, and attending in conferences as a presenter, invited young researcher and keynote speaker. I am an active member of the Integrated Disaster Risk management (IDRIM) society. I chair the IDRiM Women in Disaster Risk Science and Practice Committee. 

I have served on international scientific advisory boards in various conferences on disaster risk, climate change and resilient cities. In 2015, I was one of the Habitat III Invited Experts for the Regional Report on Housing and Urban Development for the UNECE region. I co-organized a “Disaster Recovery in Urban Areas” side event at the Habitat III conference (Ecuador, 2016). The main focus of Habitat III is the urban transformation to improve the quality of life through more equitable distribution of development benefits, planning and regulating land use, protecting the environment, empowering women and youth. Additionally, I was the project proposal reviewer for the Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation in South Asia Program (2012). 



PARATUS - Promoting Disaster Preparedness and Resilience by Co-developing Stakeholder Support Tools for Managing the Systemic Risk of Compounding Disasters'

October 2021 - Present

Role: Coordinator (together with Cees van Westen)
Funding: EU Horizon Europe (5 Million Euros)

Homepage - PARATUS (paratus-project.eu)

PARATUS is a four-year project with 19 partners in 11 countries: Netherlands, Spain, France, Austria, Italy, Romania, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Germany, Poland, and Thailand.

Disaster risk management stakeholders face the challenge of adapting their risk reduction policies and emergency plans but lack the tools to account for the cross-sectoral impacts and dynamic nature of the risks involved. The PARATUS project aims to fill this gap by developing an open-source platform for dynamic risk assessment that allows the analysis and evaluation of multi-hazard impact chains, risk reduction measures, and disaster response scenarios in light of systemic vulnerabilities and uncertainties. These services have been co-created within a unique transdisciplinary consortium of research organisations, NGOs, SMEs, first and second responders, and local and regional authorities. To gain a deeper understanding of multi-hazard impact chains, PARATUS first conducts the forensic analysis of historical disaster events, augments historical disaster databases with hazard interactions and sectorial impacts, and exploits remote sensing data with artificial intelligence. Building on these insights, PARATUS develops new exposure and vulnerability analysis methods that enable systemic risk assessment across sectors (e.g. humanitarian, transportation, communication) and geographic settings (e.g. islands, mountains, megacities). These methods analyse risk changes across space and time and develop new scenarios and risk mitigation options with stakeholders, using innovative serious games and social simulations. The service-oriented approach with active stakeholder involvement maximises the project's uptake and impact and helps increase Europe’s resilience.


March 2022 - Present

Role: Researcher and PhD Supervisor
Funding: JPI Urban Europe and NWO

COOLSCHOOLS is a three-year project that will start on the 1st of March, 2022. The consortium encompasses 16 partners from 5 countries: Spain, Belgium, Netherlands, France and Serbia. The project examines the transformative potential of nature-based solutions (NBS) to support the creation of climate shelters in European school environments. We assess how nature-based climate shelters can drive social-ecological transformations towards urban sustainability, climate resilience, social justice, and quality education at multiple urban scales and translate them into practical building capacity for school communities and beyond. Building on pioneering pilot NBS projects for urban transition in Barcelona, Brussels, Paris, and Rotterdam.


EO4MULTIHA - High Impact Multi-Hazards Science

September 2023 - Present

Role: Researcher

Funding: European Space Agency

The team recognises the need to enforce the role that Earth Observation (EO) can play in the multi-hazard domain to enhance either model and forecasting capacities or risk and vulnerability quantification capabilities. EO is still known within the multi-hazard scientific community, as many researchers have used EO data in one way or another, mainly under a single-event paradigm. EO has proven useful for evaluating and monitoring specific events, like geological-driven ones (subsidence, earthquakes, and volcanoes) or events with clear wet compounds (floods). In addition, some EO-related datasets can be a helpful input channel for some models. However, EO's role in the multi-hazard domain must still be clarified and fully exploited. This project aims to shed light on the potentialities so that follow-up engineering activities can be funded with reliable security of success.


Analysis of Potential Disruptions From Earthquakes in Istanbul and 3D Model Based Risk CommunicationJournal of integrated disaster risk management, 13(2), 60-89. de Vries, J., Atun, F. & Koeva, M. N.https://doi.org/10.5595/001c.%2091439Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) in spatial planning for urban flood mitigation: The perspective of flood management experts in AccraLand use policy, 133, Article 106865, 106865. Asare, P., Atun, F. & Pfeffer, K.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2023.106865Spatial multi-criteria analysis for discovering nature-based solutions location for urban flood mitigation in AccraApplied spatial analysis and policy (E-pub ahead of print/First online). Asare, P., Atun, F. & Pfeffer, K.https://doi.org/10.1007/s12061-023-09541-yDigital Twins for Physiological Equivalent Temperature Calculation Guide. Zenodo. Cárdenas, I. L., Morales, R., Koeva, M., Atun, F. & Pfeffer, K.https://doi.org/10.5281/ZENODO.8306456Nature-based solutions for climate adaptation in school environments: An interdisciplinary assessment frameworkIn Sustainable Urban Transitions (pp. 87-105). Springer. Ruiz-Mallén, I., Baró, F., Satorras, M., Atun, F., Blanc, N., Bortolamiol, S., Casas, L., Clauzel, C., Gallez, E., Grand-Meyer, E., Gras-Velázquez, A., Ivanova, I., Nawrot, T., Presser de Santana, P. B., Reckien, D. & Sekulova, F.https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-99-2695-4_6The nexus between human well-being of peri-urban communities and ecosystem services: A case study of Panju island, Mumbai metropolitan region, IndiaTrialog, 145/146, 39-45. Somadas, A., Menon, S. B., Martinez, J. & Atun, F.Measuring innovation: The current state of the artIn Innovation in Crisis Management (pp. 7-24). Taylor & Francis. Fonio, C., Widera, A. & Atun, F.https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003256977-3
Assessing potential disruptions from earthquakes in the historical peninsula in Istanbul using 3d modellingIn The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences: 17th 3D GeoInfo Conference (pp. 29-36). Copernicus. de Vries, J., Atun, F. & Koeva, M. N.https://doi.org/10.5194/isprs-archives-XLVIII-4-W4-2022-29-2022

Research profiles

I have taught since 2009 in Italy, Switzerland and the Netherlands. I co-supervised one PhD graduate (2019) on “forensic investigation of post-flood damage data to support spatial planning”. I supervised and co-supervised several MSc graduates from the ‘urban and regional planning and Geo-information Management department at the University of Twente and the Architecture, Urban Planning, and Civil Engineering departments at Politecnico di Milano.

Supervised MSc. Research (UT-ITC only)

Ghani, A.Z. (2023) ‘Environmental Justice: Assessing the scope of Small Scale Nature-based Solutions with the Capability Approach’. The thesis won the DAIDA Award 3rd place. (1st Supervisor) (UT Research Honour Program Graduate) 

Pradeepdharan, A. (2023) ‘Vulnerability Assessment of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises to Hydro-eteorological Hazards in Kerala’. (2nd Supervisor)

Kamwele, N.M., (2023) ‘Integrating Nature-Based Solutions to Mitigate the IntraUrban Heat Island using 3D Modelling. A Case Study for Zwolle, The Netherlands’. (1st Supervisor)

Ushiña Huera, D.P. (2023) ‘The effect of land tenure on the access to assistance for the long-term recovery of flood damage’. (1st Supervisor) (UT Research Honour Program Graduate)

Bos, D.M. (2023) ‘Design principles and policies on ecotourism as a way to preserve mangrove forest and the local culture of Panju Island, India’. (1st supervisor)

Vries, J. de (2022) ‘Assessing potential disruptions from earthquakes in the historical peninsula of Istanbul using 3D models’. The thesis presentation won the second prize for the young scientist award of IDRiM Society. https://idrim.org/?page_id=14238) (1st Supervisor)

Kotecha, M. (2022) Interlinking lakes: Decision support tool for sustainable lake ecosystem, Ahmedabad, India. (1st supervisor) (UT Research Honour Program Graduate)

Begum, R. (2022) Assessing multi-hazards exposure and risk perception: A case of Rohingya refugees in Cox's Bazar and Bhashan Char. (Advisor)

Asare, P. (2021) Nature-based solutions (NBS) as an urban flood mitigation measure: the case of Ga East Municipality, Accra, Ghana. (1st supervisor) (UT Research Honour Program Graduate)

Shrestha, S. (2021) Nature-based Solution (NbS) for local adaptation of neighborhood to urban flooding: A case study of Enschede, Netherlands. (1st supervisor)

Gebremaryam, N.H. (2021) ‘Exploring the barriers of solar energy development in expansion  areas of Addis Ababa.’ (2nd supervisor)

Somadas, A.T. (2020) ‘Rethinking ecosystem services in the urban fringe, opportunities in human well-being - The case of Panju Island, Mumbai.’ (2nd supervisor)

Rahman, MD Z. (2020) ‘Relationship between multiple deprivation and disaster risk perception in Rangpur city, Bangladesh.’ (1st supervisor) (UT Research Honour Program Graduate)

Esmaiel, A.M.R.A. (2020) ‘Mainstreaming Risk Assessment into Spatial planning for Risk Reduction: Case Study of Urban Flood in Alexandria, Egypt’. (2nd supervisor)

Knauer, M. (2020), ‘Identifying obstacles for City Climate Action Planning in cities of the South – Belo Horizonte, Brazil.’ (2nd Supervisor)

Ongoing PhD candidate (co)supervision

Eneche, P.  ‘Geospatial Simulation of Urban Surface Warming in Major Landscape Characters of Nigeria and Its Implications for Strategic Green Infrastructure Planning’ (Promoter: Prof. Dr Karin Pfeffer, PGM)

Adams, E. ‘Mapping the Differential Vulnerabilities of Men and Women Farmers to Climate Change in Rural Kenya’ – NASA Servir collaboration (Promoter: Prof. Dr Wieteke Willeman, NRS)

Song, C. ‘Impact of the 2021 flood disasters on human social and mental health, focusing on elderly people in the Ahr Valley in Germany’ (Promoter: Prof. Dr Justine Blanford, EOS)

Presser, P. ‘Nature-Based Solutions As An Innovative Strategy to Create Climate Shelters in Schoolyards’ (Promoter: Prof. Dr Karin Pfeffer, PGM)

Naz, I. ‘Multi-Hazard Impact Risk Assessment through Dynamic Database Structures, Impact Chain Modelling, and Integrated Risk Assessment Modules’ (Promoter: Prof. Dr Cees van Westen, AES)

Visiting PhD – Kalkanli, D.  ‘Spatial-Behavioral Dimensions of Urban Resilience: A Comparative Evaluation in Different Spatial Configurations via Agent-Based Modelling” Istanbul Technical University (Promotor: Prof. Dr Seda Kundak, ITU) (January - December 2024)

Courses academic year 2023/2024

Courses in the current academic year are added at the moment they are finalised in the Osiris system. Therefore it is possible that the list is not yet complete for the whole academic year.

Courses academic year 2022/2023

In this section, you find information on finalised projects. For ongoing projects, please visit the research section.


BREUCOM - Building Resilient Urban Communities in India

Role: Researcher (in UT/ITC)
Funding: ERASMUS+ Programme in the field of Capacity Building in Higher Education

The BReUCom project conceives and pilots postgraduate short-term Professional Development Programs (PDPs) targeted at real-world problems. In BREUCOM, I developed and conducted a comparative case study that involved children as co-researchers.

DRIVER+ - Enhancing European Resilience and Response to Threats and Crisis Situations

Role: Researcher (in EC JRC Ispra, Unit E1)

Funding: EU FP7 (€ 43 240 053,20)

DRIVER+ starts from the experience that neither successful R&D nor strong end-user demand always leads to innovation in the Crisis Management (CM) domain. This is a problem since, as societies become more complex, the increasing scope and unpredictability of potential crises and faster dynamics of major incidents put increasingly stringent demands on CM. European CM capabilities already constitute a mature System of Systems; hence, wholesale redesign would often be too costly and might critically destabilise existing CM capabilities. Therefore, DRIVER+ focuses on augmenting rather than replacing existing capabilities. DRIVER+ has three main objectives: 1) Develop a pan-European Test-bed for crisis management capability development; 2) Develop a well-balanced comprehensive portfolio of crisis management solutions; and 3) Facilitate a shared understanding of crisis management across Europe.

EDUCEN - European Disasters in Urban Centres: A Culture Expert Network

Role: WP Coordinator (City and Infrastructure) and Case Study Coordinator (Milan Expo Mega Event: Safety, Security and Resilience) (in Politecnico di Milano)

Funding: EU Horizon 2020  (€ 1 741 905,00)

EDUCEN is a consortium consisting of 10 participant organizations from 7 different countries. Central to the EDUCEN project is the idea that cultures, the ’soft infrastructure’, hold important assets to disaster-affected communities, disaster managers and disaster-affected people. Our premise is that culture and cultural diversity are not just challenges creating barriers but are, in fact, reservoirs of assets that people have to prevent, mitigate, prepare for, cope with and adapt to disaster risks– cognitively and practically. The overarching aim of the EDUCEN project is to build on existing European networks and identify actions to develop and support culture and cultural diversity. The networking and support actions, which are central to EDUCEN’s approach, increase the effectiveness of DRR design by including culture as a valuable component in all phases of disaster risk management: prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and reconstruction. This contributes to more resilient cities that can meet the needs of their various cultures and subcultures during disaster relief, hopefully leading to a lower number of fatalities while also reducing reaction time when disaster strikes. 


Role: Principal Investigator (in Politecnico di Milano)

Funding: Prime Ministry of Turkey Presidency for Turks Abroad.

The aim of the research is threefold: 1) to understand the socio/demographic frames of the Turkish community living in the area; 2) to raise awareness of disaster risk among the Turkish migrants about environmental disasters, 3) to investigate the adaptation capacity of immigrant communities to suddenly changing conditions. The study covers ten administrative regions located in Northern Italy. These regions are 1) Lombardia, 2) Valle d’Aosta, 3) Liguria, 4) Piemonte, 5) Veneto, 6) Trentino Alto Adige, 7) Emilia Romagna, 8) Marche, 9) Friuli Venezia Giulia. The results show that the immigrant community's adaptation capacity to suddenly changing conditions is higher than expected. 

During this project, we reached out to 20% of the Turkish migrants living in Northern Italy by conducting household questionnaires (545 households) and six focus group meetings (49 participants). After completing that post-doc project, I set up an NGO in Milan in 2016 with my students, school teachers and lawyers to reach a wider public and increase the research's societal impact. In ‘the Others and Disasters’ (Gli Altri ed I Disastri) NGO, we conducted projects with children 4-16 years old to raise awareness of disasters. In 2016, we involved 90 children in 10 workshops to increase those children’s awareness of flood disasters. We prepared a flood education kit that includes a book and games prepared by children for children to teach them how to behave before, during and after a flood event. The book, which children prepared, was translated into five languages (Italian, Turkish, English, Spanish, Marathi). I have confidence in the societal transformation we created in this group in a limited time and with limited resources.

In 2022, I was selected as one of the three young talents at the University of Twente. If you want to see my Ted Talk during the event Dies Natalis 2022 ''Every Connection has a story, please visit the YouTube link.

Here, you can read the interview with me on my research interest, ''Societal Resilience''.

Videos for the KIDWISE research: Rising Water Safer Shores on Vimeo and ENABLE CHILDREN on Vimeo.


PARATUS project in media:

Making a difference before, during and after a disaster with ITC project PARATUS – 21 September 2023 (U-Today)

How a landslide Early Warning System could look like – 13 September 2023 (Austrian Press Agency)

PARATUS Project nominated for Polish Smart Development Award: Project of the Future – 6 June 2023 (University of Twente)


University of Twente

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