Unleashing the power of planning to create Disaster-Resistant communities

Raymond J. Burby, Timothy Beatley, Philip R. Berke, Robert E. Deyle, Steven P. French, David R. Godschalk, Edward J. Kaiser, Jack D. Kartez, Peter J. May, Robert Olshansky, Robert G. Paterson, Rutherford H. Platt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Artist Vita Marie Lovett's art quilt Toto, I've a Feeling We're Not in Miami Anymore includes debris found in her south Florida yard after Hurricane Andrew struck in 1994. She describes it as a “photo documentary of Hurricane Andrew's destruction whirling against a background of broken fabric roof trusses and window frames.” It is dedicated to her friend Jackie Parker Koger who lost her life as a result of the storm, which was the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history to that time. After the hurricane, Lovett relocated to Marietta, Georgia, where she creates art quilts with architectural themes from her home studio. Human suffering and losses of lives and property in natural disasters can be reduced with appropriate planning for hazardous areas. Federal policies addressing these problems, however, have yet to recognize the importance of planning as the cornerstone of effective local hazard mitigation. In fact, federal programs make planning more difficult because they encourage the intensive use of hazardous land and shield local governments and private decision makers from financial losses in the disasters that inevitably follow. To unleash the power of planning for hazard mitigation, federal policies must be revised so that they help build local understanding of risk, commitment to hazard mitigation, and support for planning. A number of actions can be taken now to begin moving in this direction. In the long term, however, new legislation is needed to reduce subsidies that sustain and encourage development in hazardous areas and to increase assistance for planning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-258
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the American Planning Association
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Urban Studies


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