Catastrophes resulting from natural causes like earthquakes, fires, and floods have destroyed significant parts of many cities in Europe and North America. Contributions to this volume explore how cities experienced these disasters, how cities coped with the emergency, and how they tried to make sense of what had happened. To illuminate common themes, the book includes examples from Poland, France, Italy, Germany, Finland, Greece, Great Britain, and its Caribbean colonies. Some cities never recovered while others managed to turn their physical destruction into an opportunity for spatial, economic, and political reform. Catastrophes have played an important role in urban history because they represent major turning points that shatter conventional aspirations and open new avenues of development. Essays are presented with abstracts in English, French and German.