This article examines the seemingly incongruous ways in which Shelter-in-Place (SIP) practices have been sold, deployed and discussed in Southern California to battle wildfire. In particular, this will be a critique of the technical literature and application of fire safety in housing, as well as the anthropocentric hubris that humans can outsmart wildfire. Rather than focus on the success or failure of SIP, I am situating the SIP within the context of architecture, the history of fire safety, and the push of neoliberalism. The purpose of this approach is to make SIP and fire safe home design less about technology and know-how, and more about broader social issues such as privatization and social inequality.
(2013) “The Façade of Safety in California’s Shelter-In-Place Homes: History, Wildfire and Social Consequence.” Critical Sociology. Vol. 39. No 6. pp. 833-849. DOI: 10.1177/0896920512455936