Disasters Are Never Natural: Emerging Media to Map Lives and Territories at Risk

  • Gonzalo Bacigalupe


Disasters are never natural; they reflect and sustain social inequality. Earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, volcano eruptions, landslides, and floods, among others, put the most vulnerable populations at the greatest peril. Vulnerable individuals, families, and communities often live in territories characterized by marginality—the lack of access to basic goods for survival and of security. In these communities, a community disaster risk reduction strategy cannot be only about humanitarian interventions after a disaster occurs. Despite the unequal impact of disasters, the dominant approach to intervention is militaristic—even those that have humanitarian intentions—with professionals and institutions often focused on the emergency or the palliation of the aftereffects of an extreme event rather than in strengthening the ability of communities to develop a disaster risk strategy based on their needs. This exchange between experts and communities is also often fraught by a lack of understanding of how risk is construed in these territories. Emerging media (social networks, co-design thinking, aerial robotics, and digital cameras) offer new ways of engaging in the assessment of risk and points of resilience. This chapter explores the experiences of communities in Chile that utilize emerging media to develop and maintain rich conversations about risk and resilience.


Disaster Community participation Drone Risk Resilience Media 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gonzalo Bacigalupe
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Counseling and School Psychology, College of EducationUniversity of Massachusetts BostonBostonUSA
  2. 2.National Research Center for Integrated Natural Disaster Management (CIGIDEN), CONICYT/FONDAP/15110017SantiagoChile

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