Shifting our standards, improving our building
codes, and generating community support
for new resilience policies won’t be possible
without clearly defined and unified support
from all facets of the community, including the
risk management community and those with
the most to lose in the event of catastrophe.
to ensure that our metropolitan areas are capable of rebounding
from catastrophe. Our cities need to be resilient and supported
by infrastructure and lifelines that are designed well. This means
that our legislators, regulators, and civic leaders are aware of new
developments in urban planning, are supportive of 21st-century
social issues, and are organized in a way that will allow them to
govern effectively before, during, and after a major event.
Achieving the first element depends solely upon us and
our own willingness to spend the time and resources neces-
sary to make the structures we own safer and stronger. The
second element requires a holistic approach to resilience that
must have community support and may require changes in
government focus and policies.
We have the events of the recent past to remind us of the
need to take action, and we have the experiences of other
countries to serve as a warning of what will happen if we don’t
make needed changes. These changes include modifying cur-
rent building codes to embrace resilience performance and
realigning lifeline systems around critical restoration times.
Public support is vital if we are going to upgrade weak build-
ings, build new buildings to resilient standards, and evaluate
and retrofit the lifeline systems upon which we depend so
they will function in the event of catastrophe.
Shifting our standards, improving our building codes,
and generating community support for new resilience poli-
cies won’t be possible without clearly defined and unified
support from all facets of the community, including the risk
management community and those with the most to lose in
the event of catastrophe.
Those of us in the risk management business must engage in
conversations about achieving resiliency in our communities,
incorporate it into our research, persuade building owners to
consider improvements, and speak with a unified voice about
necessary changes in our construction codes.
CHRIS POLAND, chairman and senior principal of Degenkolb
Engineers, is chairperson of the Department of Veterans
Affairs Advisory Committee on Structural Safety, the Seismic
Mitigation Committee of the San Francisco Planning and Urban
Research Association, and the Standards Committee on Seismic
Rehabilitation of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
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