Earthquake Risk and Engineering towards a Resilient World

9 - 10 July 2015, Homerton College, Cambridge, UK


SECED 2015 was a two-day conference on Earthquake and Civil Engineering Dynamics that took place on 9-10th July 2015 at Homerton College, Cambridge.

This was the first major conference to be held in the UK on this topic since SECED hosted the 2002 European Conference on Earthquake Engineering in London.

The conference brought together experts from a broad range of disciplines, including structural engineering, nuclear engineering, seismology, geology, geotechnical engineering, urban development, social sciences, business and insurance; all focused on risk, mitigation and recovery.

Conference themes

  • Geotechnical earthquake engineering
  • Seismic design for nuclear facilities
  • Seismic hazard and engineering seismology
  • Masonry structures
  • Risk and catastrophe modelling
  • Vibrations, blast and civil engineering dynamics
  • Dams and hydropower
  • Seismic assessment and retrofit of engineered and non-engineered structures
  • Social impacts and community recovery

Keynote speakers

SECED 2015 featured the following keynote speakers (affiliations correct at the time of the conference):

  • Peter Ford and Tim Allmark, Office for Nuclear Regulation, UK
  • Don Anderson, CH2M HILL, Seattle, USA
  • Bernard Dost, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, The Netherlands
  • Anne Kiremidjian, Stanford University, USA
  • Rob May, Golder Associates, Australia
  • Tiziana Rossetto, University College London, UK
  • Andrew Whittaker, University at Buffalo, USA
  • Mike Willford, Arup, The Netherlands

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The focus of this paper is on decision-making after a disaster. Based on case studies of recovery after 10 major disasters three fundamentally different processes, types of decision and decision-making groups are distinguished:

1. Meta decisions by politicians and policy makers, preferably made pre-disaster, but in many cases made in the first week or so after the disaster strikes.

2 Operational decisions made by disaster managers responsible for response, relief and early recovery, for the first 6-18 months after a disaster and who may also be concerned with preparedness, awareness raising and training issues before pre-disaster.

3. Planning decisions made by policy makers, urban planners, economists etc. responsible for physical, economic and social recovery and reconstruction from a month after the disaster for 1-5 years. (They may also be responsible for pre-disaster mitigation measures designed to reduce the impact of future disasters.)

The paper discusses the relevance of theories of rational and “irrational” decision-making for disaster management and presents a model of recovery based on four sets of factors: Information, Construction, Governance and Resources, The model is used to assess recovery after the 10 major disasters. It is suggested that it might also be used as a checklist in assessing the preparedness and “resilience” of countries at risk from natural hazards.

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