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A Critical Appraisal On The Article By John A. Cross Titled, Megacites And Small Towns: Different Perspectives On Hazard Vulnerability.

1154 words - 5 pages

MEGACITIES AND SMALL TOWNS: DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES ON HAZARD VULNERABILITY"In a world of uncertainty, the only constant is change and rapid change produces amultitude of diverse facts." Risk is an integral part of life and it is based on a combination ofhazard and vulnerability. Over the past couple of decades, considerable attention has been placedupon the studies of hazards and their mitigation processes. While no country in the world isentirely safe, the lack of capacity to limit the impact of hazards remains a major burden for manycountries. Since the world has witnessed an exponential increase in human and material lossesdue to natural and technological disasters, a need to reverse trends in hazard vulnerability exists.The journal article by John A. Cross titled "Mega cities and small towns: different perspectiveson hazard vulnerability" closely reflected the idea of how small towns are more vulnerable tohazards compared to megacities, due to their lack of resources, money, government interest andnumerous other factors. At first glance, the article seemed well researched and discussed,but further consideration proved otherwise. John Cross's failure to consider recent eventssurrounding hazard vulnerability such as changing population demographics, the emergence ofnew un-natural hazards and the current discussions on hazard mitigation created a major flaw,which subsequently diminished the quality of his article.CHANGING POPULATION DEMOGRAPHICSJohn Cross's argument defined small towns as being more vulnerable to hazards thanmegacities. He argued this statement by reflecting on the sense that disasters can result in equallyhigh percentages of deaths and economic losses among the populations of small towns comparedto those of megacities. Remoteness, isolation, openness, limited diversification, poverty andlimited capacity are factors that characterize rural communities as vulnerable. Thus the extent ofthe town's vulnerability is determined by the frequency and impact of shocks and their resourcebases to cope.John Cross did a satisfactory job explaining his beliefs on this argument, however didnot touch sufficiently on the fact that population demographics on a global scale have beenchanging substantially over the past couple of centuries. At the beginning of the 19th century, just3% of the world's population lived in towns. However, after the Second World War, largenumbers of people began migrating to urban areas at rapid rates. By 2015, approximately 20% ofthe urban population in developing countries will be living in 27 megacities with populationssurpassing 500,000. Thus today's megacities are unlike any that existed in the past, and wecannot expect our experience with historical disasters to guide us in the future. Cities are largerthan ever before and growing in size at an unprecedented rate. Thus, given their growing surfaceareas and increasing populations, megacities are susceptible to a larger number of hazardousevents as opposed to...

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