As a result of repeated experiences with devastating
earthquakes, storms, floods, and wildfires, places like Tokyo,
Mexico City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles are already identified
with catastrophe in both scientific literature and popular culture.
Similar prospects face less obvious urban candidates like Dhaka,
Miami, London, Lima, Seoul, and Sydney. In this collaborative study
of environmental risks in ten of the world's major cities,
geographers, planners, and other experts examine the hazard
experiences of case study cities and analyze their future risks.
They conclude that the natural disaster potential of the biggest
cities is expanding at a pace which far exceeds the rate of
urbanization. In addition to tracing hazard trends and arguing in
support of management reforms that can be implemented quickly,
Crucibles of Hazard directs attention to long-term issues of safety
and security that must be resolved to sustain urban areas.
Opportunities for such innovative policymaking include:
capitalizing on the role of hazards as agents of urban
diversification; broadening the scope for employing hazard-based
contingency planning models in other urban governance contexts; and
mobilizing hazard myths and metaphors as unifying sources of
inspiration for diverse and sometimes fractious metropolitan
constituencies. This study was led by the International
Geographical Union's Study Group on the Disaster Vulnerability of
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