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This book focuses upon the relationship between urban and development planning on the one hand and (i) wars, (ii) disasters and (iii) social, societal and political disintegration on the other. I suggest that certain failures in development planning are associated with or exacerbate war and disintegration. But that successfully tackling such failures tends to mitigate the causes of war and disintegration (and inadequacies in the response to disasters.)

As regards natural disasters, I mention earthquakes and flooding, Warfare is similar in many senses, and many types of ameliorative action are also the same – for example, the delivery of land plots for construction of housing, the documentation of ownership rights, the servicing of those plots, the institutional development of sustainable infrastructure agencies, and so on. By ‘disintegration’, I mean the decline of urban institutions or their growing incompetence, which has consequences frequently similar to wars or disasters. Examples here include the conflicts within Northern Ireland (and the tensions in the Republic of Ireland), or the disintegration of Albania consequent upon the collapse of empire, of monarchism and then of communism.

In reality of course, one may find it hard to distinguish between the effects of disasters, wars and the disintegration of state and society, which seem so often to be mixed up together. One can see that the ruination of buildings by war is not unlike that by earthquake - as regards progressive collapse, for example. The degeneration of infrastructure institutions, including the inability to generate income flow and the consequent inability to pay wages, maintain equipment or pay electricity bills, arises during both war, disaster and political disintegration. Both war and disintegration are typically accompanied by social collapse, when different religious or ethnic groups are set against each other.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2010

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