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Risk and Disaster: Arguments for a Community-Based Planning Approach

  • Author(s): Simpson, David M
  • et al.

Using recent natural disasters in the San Francisco Bay Area as illustrative examples, this paper examines the general nature of disaster planning and traditional approaches that emphasize response and recovery aspects. For strategies focused on preparation, this process is for the most part cen­ tralized, located within structured government or organiza­ tional response networks, and neglects the individual and neighborhood levels.

The author argues that planners must go beyond a focus on the traditional land-use mitigation strategies in pre-disaster planning stages, and give equal attention to the value of a bottom-upplanningprocess. Amodelforthistypeofplan­ ning, using community andneighborhood-levelgroups as the primary vehicle for disaster preparedness activity, is briefly described. Examples of this process emerging in the Bay Area are also identified. Rnally, given the scant attention to com­ munity-basedmodels ofdisasterpreparedness, an agenda for further research is proposed.

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