Crisis management as an evolutive and adaptable infrastructure: a figure of the urban nexus?

Authors: Valerie November*, LATTS/ENPC, Servane Gueben-Venière, LATTS/ENPC
Topics: Urban Geography, Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Hazards and Vulnerability
Keywords: Infrastructure; crisis management; hazards; urban studies; STS
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Jackson, Marriott, 5th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Crisis management is a field of research that transects several disciplines (sociology, organization studies and, notably, disaster studies). As such, reaching a general consensus regarding its definition is not an easy task. However, there is agreement as concerns its two principal dimensions: 1) technical tools and infrastructure coordination efforts during emergencies and out of the ordinary situations, without which coordination simply would not work; 2) crisis management activates a more or less extensive network of actors depending on the scope of the crisis. However, the urban complexity that characterizes Parisian metropolitan area upsets this dominant concept of crisis management, since the interdependencies are numerous and dense. In other words, in a crisis situation, the urban environment is particularly vulnerable because it exacerbates the multiple interdependencies that constitute it. Their complexity is part of a nesting of spatial and temporal scales which oblige us not to restrict the study of crisis management according to the punctual and localized entry of the triggering event. This paper proposes to consider crisis management no longer as a centralized coordination based on technical tools and/or infrastructures, but as an evolutive and adaptable, sociotechnical infrastructure. To do this we will mobilize three research areas: crisis management studies, urban studies and infrastructure studies. We will develop our argument by analyzing the articulation of these domains with each other in order to see to what extent crisis management, in this urban context, "acts as infrastructure".

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