On Shaky Ground
This chapter focuses on the invention of the “zone of high risk” and on the everyday work required to render the uncertain future the basis for governmental intervention. It discusses the establishment of risk management on a national level beginning in the 1980s and the subsequent incorporation of calculative predictions of environmental hazards into urban policy, planning, and government in Bogotá. This demonstrates how risk management became a governmental framework through which to address problems ranging from crime and violence to landslide and flood while encompassing different political objectives and ends. The focus of the chapter then shifts to the municipal government agency whose ongoing responsibility it is to define and measure disaster risk. Following the daily routines of its staff reveals that risk management, far from a closed domain of technical expertise, is a contingent field of social interaction between government officials, governed populations, and the urban environment.