Learning from Los Angeles: Disaster and Prediction


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Essay #: 071041
Total text length is 5,973 characters (approximately 4.1 pages).

Excerpts from the Paper

The beginning:
Learning from Los Angeles: Disaster and Prediction
The Los Angeles area has faced natural disasters throughout its history. Built over a number of fault lines, across a floodplain, and amid a chaparral, the city sits in a vast danger zone. Even without human settlement, the region would still be faced with a pattern of drought and flood, earthquakes, and fires. With a huge influx of people, though, the financial and human toll of the disasters has increased exponentially. In his Ecology of Fear, Mike Davis investigates the ways in which people’s actions have worsened the damage of “ordinary disasters” such as earthquakes, fires, and floods. The civic decisions related to planning and development, while not the cause of the disasters...
The end:
.....rid climate may have been attractive to people wishing to escape the humid areas of the East Coast, but they would prove to be, quite literally, the calm before the storm. By using methods of prediction that were ill-suited to California’s climate, the developers and governments responsible for the rapid growth of Los Angeles were largely unaware of the likelihood of disaster striking. As Davis correctly points out, though, the true failing has been in the ways in which these disasters have been managed. While it is impossible to predict every storm, quake, or fire, it is possible, and necessary, to ensure that there is a minimum level of damage when they do strike.
Davis, Mike. Ecology of Fear. New York: Metropolitan Books, 1998.