Stanford University
Vulnerability in Production: A case study of the Rockridge neighborhood in Oakland, California
Vulnerability in Production: A case study of the Rockridge neighborhood in Oakland, California

Authors: Emily Kizzia, Melissa Wiggins and Gregory Simon

This visualization uses a case study -- the historic development of the mostly residential Rockridge neighborhood in Oakland, CA -- to illustrate the production of vulnerability to wildfire in the Oakland hills. Vulnerability has accumulated over time in this area due to a complex history of land use practices and development policies. This visualization shows many of the ways that vulnerability has been produced over time, from logging and reforestation activities to real estate speculation and planning initiatives designed to create "Rockridge -- a part of the city below, yet apart from it."

The case study begins with logging in the 19th century, then focuses on the division of property ownership, the development of roads, afforestation practices, marketing of parceled land, fire risk-area designation, and finally the consequences of these land uses, planning histories, and social/ecological changes on the area during the 1991 Tunnel Fire.

This case study emphasizes the regional and historical context of vulnerability to the 1991 Tunnel Fire while highlighting this vulnerability as more than just a static condition or outcome. Rather, it is a condition of effect stemming from regional development decisions that accumulate wealth for certain individuals, and also a state of affect that engenders further land use responses and produces new and enhanced levels of vulnerability. In this way, vulnerability is shown to build momentum and accrue over time.

This visualization is best explored from start to finish. As you click on each topic, use the forward and backward arrows to view related slides.

Water Vulnerability in the Oakland Hills: Oakland Firestorm, 1991
Spatial History