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Simulating historical earthquakes in existing cities for fostering design of resilient and sustainable communities

  • Babič, Anže
  • Dolšek, Matjaž
  • Žižmond, Jure
Publication Date
Oct 04, 2021
University of Ljubljana
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The seismic exposure of urban areas today is much higher than centuries ago. The 2020 Zagreb earthquake demonstrated that European cities are vulnerable even to moderate earthquakes, a fact that has been known to earthquake-engineering experts for decades. However, alerting decision-makers to the seismic risk issue is very challenging, even when they are aware of historical earthquakes that caused natural catastrophes in the areas of their jurisdiction. To help solve the issue, we introduce a scenario-based risk assessment methodology and demonstrate the consequences of the 1895 Ljubljana earthquake on the existing building stock. We show that a 6.2 magnitude earthquake with an epicentre 5 km north of Ljubljana would cause many deaths and severe damage to the building stock, which would likely lead to direct economic losses higher than 15% of the GDP of the Republic of Slovenia. Such an event would be catastrophic not only for the community directly affected by the earthquake but for the entire country. We have disseminated this information over the course of a year together in addition to formulating a plan for enhancing the community seismic resilience in Slovenia. Hopefully, local decision-makers will act according to their jurisdiction in Slovenia and persuade decision-makers across Europe to update the built environment renovation policy at the European level.

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