USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development
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Contents of Recent Issues

Volume 13, No. 1 (March 1995)


Articles by:

    Thomas E. Drabek, "Disaster Responses within the Tourist Industry," pp. 7-23.

      Reflecting a series of converging international trends, the tourist industry represents a vulnerability of catastrophic potential. Interview and questionnaire data obtained from 185 owners or managers in nine U.S. communities provide answers to five questions: (1) what is the extent of disaster evacuation planning?; (2) what factors account for the variations in this planning?; (3) what behavioral patterns occur during actual evacuations?; (4) what factors account for these pattern variations?; and (5) what are the policy implications of these behavioral assessments? While many larger firms managed by more professional staff have completed extensive disaster evacuation planning, the overall record is very spotty. Hence, major initiatives both within the industry, and by emergency managers at all levels of government, are needed to reduce this rapidly expanding vulnerability. (AA)

    Hélène Denis, "Coordination in a Governmental Disaster Mega-Organization," pp. 25-43.

      Disasters, natural or technological, involve an interorganizational response that can take a structural form called the disaster mega-organization (DMO). The discussion will show how this concept is related to others in the field, and how the DMO coordination can be problematic, as illustrated by a PCB fire in Quebec, Canada. This case study also demonstrates that coordination is negotiated by those who must respond to a disaster. Finally, the mega-organization in a used-tire dump fire, also in Quebec, two years later, shows that there can be organizational learning and organizational changes in the DMO. (AA)

    David Alexander, "Newspaper Reporting of the May 1993 Florence Bomb," pp. 45-65.

      On 27 May 1993 a powerful bomb exploded in the center of Florence, Italy, killing five people in doing severe damage to art and architectural treasures, including the Uffizzi Galery and Accademia dei Georgofili. It was the first disaster since the floods of 1966 simultaneously to cause victims and damage the city's cultural heritage. In this study local and international newspaper coverage of the bomb outrage is analyzed and compared with reporting on the 1966 floods. Once again, questions of artistic damage and the safety of tourists occupy the foreign papers while human interest stories dominated the Florentine ones. Indeed, the English and American newspapers treated the damaged art treasures almost as if they were human casualties. But since 1966 (and the collapse of the Eastern Bloc) Western news reporting has become depoliticized and dominated by new contexts, such as the preeminence of commercialism and, in the case of Italy, the struggle against the Mafia. It is concluded that the nature and extent of newspaper coverage of the bomb outrage was determined, not by objective or moral assessments of newsworthiness, but by a mixture of ad hoc considerations and snap assessments of what the readership what to learn about. (AA)

    B. E. Aguirre, Dennis E. Wenger, Thomas A. Glass, Marceline Diaz-Murillo, and Gabriela Vigo, "The Social Organization of Search and Rescue: Evidence from the Guadalajara Gasoline Explosion," pp. 67-92.

      The Guadalajara gasoline explosion of 22 April 1992 is examined to show the importance of social organization in search and rescue activities. Interviews were conducted with forty-three victims that had been buried alive by the explosion and twenty-two volunteers who had participated in the direct rescue phase. They reported on their experiences during SAR and those victims and rescuers near them. Most of the people that were rescued alive were rescued by these volunteers. Volunteers’ social identities in peer groups, extended families, the neighborhood, and the Catholic Church structured their search and rescue activities. Chances of people surviving the blast were directly proportional to the presence among searchers of a person or persons who cared for the victim and who knew the victim’s likely location. The behavior of the victims was marked by the continuation of pre-existing motivational, normative, and value orientations. Victims acted co-operatively during entrapment. Most of the living victims were rescued during the first two hours after the explosion. (AA)

    Neil R. Britton and John Lindsay, "Integrating City Planning and Emergency Preparedness: Some of the Reasons Why," pp. 93-106.

      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 are being considered. Of special importance is the need for 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. (AA)

Book reviews by:

    Douglas C. Nilson on Susan Stacy, When the River Rises, pp. 107-108.

    Jeanne S. Hurlbert on David Gillespie, Richard Colignon, Mahasweta Banerjee, Susan Murty, and Mary Rogue, Partnerships for Community Preparedness, pp. 109-111.

    Ralph B. Leonard on Martin Silverstine, Disasters: Your Right to Survive, pp. 113-114.



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