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Fear is good and necessary. It helps us avoid taking unnecessary risks and keeps us safe. It seems a paradox of our modern society, that while our life expectancy and general health have improved dramatically in recent times, we have become hypersensitive to environmental risks. We have many things to worry about, but we must recognize that our resources are limited. We will never create a risk-free environment and taken to an extreme, our efforts may be counterproductive or could lead to unintended consequences.

“When the world is made to be idiot-proof, the world will become overpopulated with idiots.” —Anonymous

The amount of media coverage of an environmental risk topic is unrelated to the seriousness of the risk. The media focus on big controversies, not what constitute big health risks. We tend to worry about the “hazard du jour,” which diverts the public’s attention away from real risks. As a result, we may make the wrong decision or spend large sums of public funds on a minor issue, when our focus should be on the “low-hanging fruit” of hazards where we can do the most good for most people.

Risk science is a huge field and there are many web sites and other resources available. This site is focused on the issues of risk that relate to urban development and the planners, decision-makers, government officials, citizens, developers, and other stakeholders who must make judgment calls on these issues on a regular basis. In particular, this site is dedicated to the notion that science has two parts—the doing and the communicating—and that communication has two parts, substance and style.

Sponsored by: PlaceWorks