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University of Colorado Denver College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

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The Production of Urban Vulnerability: A Focus on Urban/Wildland Interface Wildfires


Production of Urban Vulnerability

GREGORY SIMON

This research aims to explicate (1) how conditions of vulnerability are more than indicators of risk and exposure but are also produced over time through complex planning histories; (2) how urban vulnerabilities are produced through alliances between conservation and economic development interest groups; and (3) how conditions of vulnerability contribute to and shape the management of urban environments through strategies of exploitation, accumulation, politicization and resistance.

Currently, I am applying this analytic framework to assess why cities in the U.S. West have historically sprawled into fire prone areas. Using historical and spatial data, this project analyzes the production of vulnerable places and populations to urban/wildland interface wildfires around the West. (I am currently focusing on the Oakland/Berkeley Hills region.) Research details how landscape change, institutional use of scientific knowledge, ecological management practices and urban growth policies converge to establish vulnerability-inducing development trajectories.