Planning and disaster risk reduction

Authored by: John R. Campbell

The Routledge Companion to Environmental Planning

Print publication date:  August  2019
Online publication date:  July  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138894808
eBook ISBN: 9781315179780
Adobe ISBN:


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Great disparities in the losses from disasters exist between developing and developed countries and within countries including ‘richer ones’, which often display marked differences between wealthy and poor people. There are several approaches to reduce disasters: fighting the physical processes associated with extreme events; avoiding losses through land use planning keeping people and property away from risky areas; accepting risks and sharing losses such as through insurance; and reducing vulnerability of people by tackling the social, political and economic processes that render people at risk. Methods that that seek to keep the hazard away from people are most common, based on engineering works enabling the status quo to be maintained. Land use measures have considerable potential to reduce losses but struggle to be accepted in current neoliberal environments. Insurance remains a measure largely suitable for those who can afford it. The least adopted approach is reducing vulnerability, which involves tackling the everyday social processes that give rise to differential exposures to extreme events. Until such measures are incorporated into planning for disaster reduction, losses will continue to grow as will disparities in their distribution.

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