Inderscience Publishers

Being close to risk. From proximity to connexity

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Courtesy of Inderscience Publishers

The relationship between urban spaces, associated risk, and the notion of proximity has until now been subject to very little critical examination. It is, however, crucial to conduct a discussion on the subject, especially in view of the latest disasters that have made the headlines (notably in New York and Toulouse in September 2001, in Madrid in March 2004). On the one hand, it is widely understood that the consequences of risk tend to be more severe in urban environments; on the other, the categorisation of different risks (industrial, social, environmental risks, etc.) within a space reinforces the probability of all kinds of disaster occurring. This line of reasoning will be questioned through a case study. By observing the practices amongst the different parties involved in identifying and managing the risk of fire in Geneva (Switzerland), we will propose the notion of connexity as a complement to that of proximity, as it is more closely related to the practices in action in this field.

Keywords: connexity, concentration, density, Geneva, geography probability, spatial proximity, fire risk, urban risk, Switzerland, risk management, disasters, disaster management, spatial dynamics, urban environments

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