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How Good Design and Building Codes Saved Lives During Chile's Earthquake
Photo by REUTERS/Marco Fredes
Our good friend over at ArchDaily and Platforma Arquitectura, David Basulto, has been reporting live from his home in Chile, and he says, “The country was seriously affected, especially in the southern part… several old buildings collapsed, and even new buildings collapsed. It could have been way worse, if compared to Haiti… This was due to the country’s seismic design code, recognized as one of the best in the world.” Of course buildings were destroyed, roads and bridges did collapse, and lives were lost, but it could have been so much worse.
Haiti, unfortunately, was not prepared for a 7.0 earthquake. Their poverty, lack of earthquake-resistant architecture, and inability to enforce what seismic code they had led to the mass destruction of property and life that occurred. The point really is that preparedness through planning, creation of adequate building codes, designing for disaster and enforcement of those codes makes an incredibly significant impact. Our hearts go out to the people of Chile and Haiti and their loss, but we are encouraged that quality architecture and infrastructure can actually save lives.
Pictures found at The Big Picture
*Author’s Note: Having spent three weeks this last December touring Chile, I saw some of the area that was destroyed. My husband and I were exceedingly impressed by the architecture, their efficient bus transportation, the speedy metro system in Santiago, and their overall progressiveness. The loss and devastation is tragic for the wonderful people of Chile. Our hearts go out to you. It is also exceedingly ironic that while the tsunami was speeding across the Pacific Ocean, we were on a flight to the big island of Hawaii, for what we didn’t know awaited us. Congrats to Hawaii for being prepared and ready for an event that thankfully didn’t occur.
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