Inclusion of Resident Knowledge in Development and Hazard Management
AuthorColes, Ashley Rae
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractDespite recent trends toward more participatory processes within development and hazard management, technical expertise remains privileged compared to other forms of knowledge. This dissertation explores the epistemological and material consequences of an urban renovation and landslide management project that has excluded residents from participation in planning and execution. The municipal government of Manizales, Colombia intends to resettle thousands of impoverished families from the landslide-prone hillsides of the city into subsidized apartments. While commendable for an enormous investment in the safety of residents, the focus on physical vulnerability will likely enhance socio-economic dimensions of vulnerability and leave many residents in more difficult living conditions, even to the point of settlement on other slopes. The municipal government relies on rational ordering to develop economic and land use policies associated with the renovation project, but simplification leaves important components of livelihood strategies and well-being illegible. As a result, the efforts will likely exacerbate both socioeconomic and physical vulnerability of an already marginalized population. As residents negotiate for greater influence over the process and outcomes, they must challenge the hegemonic epistemological structures or work within them. This dissertation discusses some of the strategies used by residents and the challenges they face, as well as the implications of this work for other topics dominated by technical expertise. Understanding why people live in hazardous areas in the first place is critical for developing a more complex and more effective urban hazard management strategy, which should include consideration of livelihoods, social interactions, and non-technical knowledge.
Degree ProgramGraduate College