The Resilience by Design program adopted by Los Angeles to address earthquake vulnerabilities brought together the earth science, earthquake engineering and public policy professions and worked with hundreds of community organizations to get approval for sweeping seismic resilience legislation. The process elucidated the disconnect between what well-informed members of the community and local governments understand about the earthquake risk and the goals and objectives of mitigation measures like building codes, and what has been implemented in most communities. Since their inception, building codes have been based on a principle that safety is the only valid concern of government. If an owner chooses to build a building that is a total financial loss, that is his prerogative but he cannot kill someone in the process. A key factor is that building codes consider buildings in isolation with impacts only on their owners and tenants. But the reality of a major earthquake is that the failure of a building impacts the whole community through economic disruption, population decreases, and cascading failures of engineered and social systems. This talk will explore a conceptual framework for creating a building code that reflects the realities of earthquake losses and the social dynamics of shared economic decisions.
The EERI Distinguished Lecturer for 2017 is Dr. Lucy Jones (M. EERI, 2001), seismologist and founder of the Dr. Lucy Jones Center for Science and Society, with a mission to foster the understanding and application of scientific information in the creation of more resilient communities. She is the author of the forthcoming book, The Big Ones Doubleday, April 2018) and is also a Research Associate at the Seismological Laboratory of Caltech, a post she has held since 1984.
Working with both the public and private sectors, Dr. Jones seeks to increase communities’ ability to adapt and be resilient to the dynamic changes of the world around them. The aim is to understand and communicate where the greatest vulnerabilities lie and what actions can be taken to reduce the risk that are the most cost-effective. With a Bachelor of Arts in Chinese Language and Literature from Brown University and a Ph.D. in Geophysics from MIT, Dr. Jones has been active in earthquake research for decades, furthering earthquake risk reduction through seismological research and integrated disaster scenarios.