Healthy cities continuously grow by driving economic development while protecting their cultural heritage. Success, in part, depends on a healthy built environment that is rooted in contemporary urban planning, sustainability and disaster resilience. When disaster strikes, they have a plan, a place and the ability to govern. Their power, water, and communication networks begin operating within hours, and people can stay in their homes, travel to where they need to be, and resume a fairly normal living routine within weeks. The return to a “new” normal can then occur within a few years.
The San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR) Resilient Cities Initiative defines what San Francisco needs from its seismic mitigation policies so it can move in this direction. Their recently published papers define resiliency in a deterministic manner based on what the city needs from its buildings and lifelines to support response, recovery and rebuilding post-disaster. Successful implementation will depend on new policies, community support, and solid, unified support from the science and engineering communities that support design.
Chris Poland’s structural engineering career spans 30 years and includes a wide variety of new building designs and rehabilitation projects. A passionate seismic safety advocate, he actively participates in the academic, ethical and social advancement of his field. He currently presides as Chair the congressionally mandated Advisory Committee on Earthquake Hazards Reduction the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program. He served as President of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute EERI) from 2001 to 2002, and is a member of Boards of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association. He is the 2006 recipient of the Alfred E. Alquist award from the California Earthquake Safety Foundation.