Preservation of the hazardscape: plans and futures

Authors: Annie Hale*, Arizona State University
Topics: Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Landscape, Hazards and Vulnerability
Keywords: hazardous landscapes, hazards, preservation, decommissioned sites, performative devices,
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/14/2018
Start / End Time: 2:00 PM / 3:40 PM
Room: Grand Ballroom A, Astor, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The notion of preservation represents an attempt to envision the future as an idealized set of material configurations upon which particular political, moral, technical, and social choices of the present and the past have been inscribed. Classifying sites, giving places an identity, and assembling future conditions often serve as a memorial to what once was, but they often miss the mark in considering the current state, plausible future conditions, and what is outside of protective and often arbitrary boundaries. In this paper, I argue that preservation is a performative device that plays a critical role in developing and maintaining hazardscapes. Hazardscapes can be viewed as both a threat to society and constitutive of our perceptions of social life and order. From the expert view to the lived reality, the hazardscape lens negotiates vibrantly at the threshold between the past and future while offering new insights and ways of thinking about that which we aim to preserve and that which persists in the future. I will discuss the coastal city of Alameda Island, California and describe the transformation of a decommissioned naval base, tsunamis playbooks, community disaster imaginations, and how visible and invisible hazardscapes come to life through everyday preservation performances.

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