Last edited 08 Jan 2021

After Mexico - earthquakes and resilient cities


As the rescue efforts in Mexico City after the devastating earthquake of September 2017 draw to a close, comparisons continue to be drawn between how the city fared now and after a similar earthquake more than 30 years ago.

Many have pointed out that while both fatalities (fewer than 300 people) and damage (40 buildings collapsed and nearly 4,000 declared severely damaged) were considerably less, there are still questions that remain regarding the resilience of Mexico City’s infrastructure.

According to the New York Times:

‘Tighter building codes, better construction materials and a robust public awareness surely played a role in limiting the carnage this time around.

‘What spared this metropolitan area of 21 million was, at least in part, luck…In a 2016 study of a random sample of 150 buildings constructed after 2004, when the new codes were adopted … many failed to meet city standards. In many cases, the buildings reviewed did not even have enough necessary paperwork to conduct a full assessment

With these concerns in mind, a collection of Building Research & Information articles has been assembled about earthquakes and reducing the risks to the built environment.

A key finding of one research article 'Evaluation of Building Code Compliance in Mexico City: mid-rise dwellings' was published in 2016 and found that the regulations (on paper) are fine, it is lack of enforcement which is the major problem.

The aim is that by contributing leading scholarship, help can be given to cities to heal, learn and become better prepared for future earthquakes.

This collection will be free to access until 31st October 2017.

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