How to Identify Effective and Feasible Integrated Strategies for Seismic Risk Mitigation

Subramanian, Ravi


Floods, fires, and earthquakes continue to impose significant economic and social costs on society. Many technically effective strategies for reducing seismic risk have not been implemented, and so have been of little benefit to the people living on our planet. The major impediment to such implementation is political feasibility, a vague term that encompasses public awareness of the risks, the competing interests of various interest groups, and the availability of resources to meet competing societal needs.

In this thesis, we propose a methodology for comparative evaluation of proposed seismic risk-reduction strategies. The key aspects of the proposed methodology are: (1) explicitly partitioning program effects among interest groups; (2) accounting for differing risk perceptions by the different interest groups; and (3) recognition that interest groups have non-uniform influence on the policy-making process.

The methodology is applied to a hypothetical case study of the Mexican State of Colima, the site of a strong earthquake in January 2003. Although it involves only a few programs, the case study demonstrates the practical applicability of the proposed methodology, and shows how it could be applied to cases that are intractable by casual means.

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