Mapping convergence points in the initial emergency response to 9/11


  • This paper was presented at the Annual Meeting of the Midwest Sociological Society on 5 April 2007 in Chicago, Illinois. The research is supported by National Science Foundation Grant No. IIS0331707 and by a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) supplement to National Science Foundation Grant No. CMS0408499.

Christine A. Bevc, University of Colorado at Boulder, 327 UCB, Boulder, Colorado, 80309-0327, United States. Telephone: +1 303 492 6311; e-mail:


In response to extreme events, researchers have recognised the convergence of volunteers, emergency responders, and other individuals and organisations. In 2000, geographer Paul Routledge presented the concept of convergence spaces as a theoretical means to explain social movements. In applying this concept, this paper explores the geographic space in which organisations and individuals converged immediately following the 11 September 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center. The paper begins to answer the question of whether there were in fact any patterns of convergence among the locations utilised by organisations responding to the attacks. Using data collected from field documents, these geographic locations are mapped over 12 days to help identify possible patterns of clustering. Results of this analysis will begin to provide researchers, policy makers and practitioners with a better understanding of how emergency response evolves geographically following an event.