Demonstrating the Need to Integrate City Planning and Emergency Preparedness: Two Case Studies

August 1995 (VOL. 13, NO. 2)

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City planners need to consider aspects of emergency management, risk assessment and hazard vulnerability in their planning and development deliberations. Planners need to recognize that urban hazards, especially from technological sources, are more prevalent than may at first be apparent. An emergency management focus is particularly necessary when urban renewal and redevelopment is being considered. Of special importance is the need for planners to understand that projects like this can exacerbate the plight of existing ‘at-risk’ groups, and may even create a more hazardous social environment. Planners also need to be made aware that their professional actions have a direct impact on both the task-set and performance capabilities of disaster managers and emergency service operatives. In this paper two case studies are presented to demonstrate how these issues translate into practice. The first explores the consequences of a “classic” medium-scale technological emergency in Australia. The second study, from Canada, illustrates the ubiquity of small-scale industrial hazards in the modern city, and epitomizes the extent to which city-dwellers are vulnerable.