UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Establishing a seismic retrofit policy : Implications for buildings with historical significance in the lower mainland of British Columbia Keenan, Kathleen Marie


Earthquakes, such as the ones capable of affecting the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, can have a devastating effect on the environment that people live and work in. The purpose of this thesis is to examine methods of dealing with the hazards and problems created by existing, often historically significant, unreinforced buildings in earthquake-prone areas. Gaining an understanding of the complexity of this problem and the issues involved in establishing hazard mitigation policies gives insight into the policy-making process. The research indicates that a number of internal and external factors affect the formulation, adoption, and implementation of hazard mitigation policies. Despite limited awareness of the problem, low political salience of the issue, and limited resources in most communities, there are many steps that can be taken that will reduce the public's exposure to the risks created by unreinforced buildings and strengthen historically significant buildings that hold value, socially, economically, and culturally. Establishing more extensive mitigative measures, such as implementing a seismic retrofit policy, requires a decision-making process that must involve the people who live and work within that community. Each community, through a process of consultation with the stakeholders, needs to decide if it is in their interest to pursue hazard mitigation strategies to reduce the seismic risk. There is a need to integrate hazard mitigation strategies into the daily decision-making process of politicians and planners. The thesis concludes with some points for stakeholders to consider in designing policy to reduce the earthquake hazard that all the communities in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia face.

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