The UN General Assembly is encouraging countries to develop methods to make cities more earthquake proof. The reason is that earthquake deaths are on the rise – not only is there more earthquakes activity due to both manmade (i.e., fracking) and natural factors, but more people are living in earthquake-prone urban areas than ever before. The focus for creating earthquake proof cities involves building better cities from the ground up as well as retrofitting existing structures.
What an Earthquake Proof City Might Look Like
New Zealand is one of the countries at the forefront of this movement, mainly because the country seems to be in a seismic hot zone – the country experienced over 31k known earthquakes just last year alone! Japan, Columbia, Ecuador and Turkey are a few other countries that are leading the charge in this regard.
Here are some examples of what these and other countries are doing to enhance the earthquake resistance of their city structures.
- Adding exterior steel structures, known as eccentrically braced steel frames (EBFs), to reinforce existing buildings.
- Adding rods made of thermoplastic and carbon fiber to existing buildings from the roof to the ground as well as to interior partitions, as these rods are said to be 5 times stronger than an equivalent amount of steel.
- Developing information for homeowners that shows them how to retrofit their own homes for added safety.
- Creating buildings from bamboo, which is more flexible than standard building materials.
- Building structures on pads so that they are not directly attached to the ground, which results in less structural movement during seismic activity.
All of this tells me that a proliferation of earthquake proof cities is on the horizon, which is great news. Anything that can reduce structural damage during disaster scenarios can only help improve overall emergency planning, as well as enhance safety and outage restoration performance.