Integrating City Planning and Emergency Preparedness: Some of the Reasons Why

March 1995 (VOL. 13, NO. 1)

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When proposing urban redevelopment and renewal schemes, what responsibility does the city planner have to ensure citizens are not placed at risk? How can the practical integration of emergency planning and city planning principles be achieved? While their importance is not contested, questions such as these are not part of the contemporary planner’s creed, even though the industrial hazardscape of cities and towns, in particular, is increasing. There is a compelling need for a closer integration between disaster and city planning. Planners need to consider aspects of emergency management, risk assessment and hazard vulnerability in their planning and development deliberations. An emergency management focus is particularly necessary when urban renewal and redevelopment is being considered. Of special importance is the need for the planners to understand that large-scale urban and industrial projects can exacerbate the plight of existing ‘at-risk’ groups, and may even create a more hazardous social environment for both existing and future populations. These issues are examined in two articles. This first paper examines the issues in the context of emergency management and other relevant literature. In the second paper, two case studies are presented to demonstrate how these issues translate into practice.