Posted by: Jeff | May 11, 2011

Earthquake Proof Cities

Painting depicting the Istanbul earthquake of 1754.

Leaving aside whether it is really possible to create an urban center completely and 100% resistant to earthquakes, this strikes me as a good idea:

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced that he plans to build two earthquake-resistant “cities” in the Istanbul area to encourage people to leave the capital’s earthquake-prone areas. The AP explains that Istanbul sits near a major fault-line and suffers from overcrowding and shoddy city planning and construction. In 1999, two earthquakes in northwestern Turkey killed 18,000 people.

There are a surprising number of cities – predominantly in developing countries – that are poorly positioned to deal with the prospect of a large earthquake and its aftermath.  I’ve read a lot about Tehran and Seattle, in particular, being severely at risk for widespread destruction in the event of projected quakes.  There are so many cases where we can’t predict disasters before they happen, so it seems to me that when we know in advance that a place is at higher risk for catastrophe, that planners and developers take all necessary precautions.  One only need to look at the difference between Tokyo and Port-au-Prince to see that good planning can save thousands of lives.

Via The Atlantic Wire.

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