As many readers know, the Diva has been tracking the progress of the city of Christchurch, NZ after the two major earthquake a few years ago because it is a useful example of the reconstruction and recovery of a central business district.
Thanks to one of my Kiwi friends, Ian McLean, here are some recent articles about earthquake matters in NZ:
Wellington Business Owners Get a Sticker Shake Up.
Earthquake-Prone Buildings List.
Earthquake Strengthening Help a Moral Duty.
Personally, I’m not sure about the moral obligation, but it does make good business sense to protect what is iconic in the city. Wellington is fortunate enough to have the resources so that it can – and will – protect at least some of the city’s structures.
However, the bigger question is what should a responsible city with relatively few resources do? There are many second and third world cities that sit on or near fault lines. Ljubljana in Slovenia has developed an impressive program that should be a model for these cities. Starting about 15 years ago, the University and the city’s emergency management department teamed up in an ambitious effort to reduce the city’s seismic risk. They developed a complete inventory of all of the buildings in the city, including both date built and type of construction. Using a model of seismic response developed by the University, they then identified the expected damage expected FOR EACH BUILDING. This was communicated to each building owner and is available to them on the web. It also served as the basis of planning for emergency and social support services after an earthquake and for upgrading building codes as needed.
The damage “profile” was also superimposed on the city’s demographics to determine the city’s seismic risk as accurately as possible. This in turn was used to develop “triage’ forms and instructions for initial assessment of damage – the forms contained the types of damage expected for each building so that the initial assessment could proceed as rapidly as possible.
Ljubljana is still prone to earthquake damage but this comprehensive program should ensure that response and recovery proceed as rapidly and as effectively as possible.