Here in Los Angeles, we live with the certainty that at any given time the ground will shift dramatically. What has been famously coined a “coast of dreams,” is also one riddled with a web of faults that could rupture any day and without any warning, to produce an earthquake of catastrophic consequences. We live in earthquake country and this post-election November, we are about to experience an unprecedented call to action for earthquake preparedness throughout the region with the Great Southern California ShakeOut. It’s our future, a major earthquake occurring along the San Andreas Fault. The questions are not if it will happen, but when, and will we be ready?
Aligned with ShakeOut, The Los Angeles Earthquake: Get Ready is a multifaceted communication project led by Designmatters at Art Center College of Design that has allowed us to investigate the contributing role of design in disaster mitigation and public awareness. Our point of departure three years ago when we launched the research phase of the project was to ask ourselves, what would it take for our creative community to anticipate a natural disaster of catastrophic scale, instead of responding to one? Essentially, we wanted to be ahead of the destructive quake that all experts agree is inevitable. Our key questions were: How do we act now, before the big earthquake? What can we do to lessen the impact after it occurs?
Canvassing the Expertise
When we conceived the project with Art Center forme...