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​Anne Kiremidjian: Cities built to endure disaster

​​Wind, water and quakes can destroy years of valuable development in an instant, but there are ways to build more resilient cities.


Illustration of a tsunami rising next to a cityscape

Factors including financial capital, a healthy workforce and political will contribute to a region's resilience. | Illustration by Kevin Craft

Like clockwork, every time a large natural disaster hits and wipes out billions in built infrastructure, public officials, developers and private citizens cry, “never again.”

And every time, equally like clockwork, very little gets done, says Stanford civil engineer Anne Kiremidjian, one of the world’s foremost authorities on constructing buildings that can withstand major natural disasters.

She says there are technologies available that could move us toward stronger, safer buildings, but a lack of political and economic will is holding us back. What’s needed, Kiremidjian says, is the culture of resilience that has helped certain major metropolitan areas bounce back from disaster stronger than ever. That spirit is lacking in other cities and the result is months or even years of recovery. Join host Russ Altman and civil engineer Anne Kiremidjian for a look inside cities that are built to last.

You can listen to the Future of Everything on iTunes, Google Podcasts, SoundCloud, Spotify, Stitcher or via Stanford Engineering Magazine.