When the next big one hits Seattle

When the next big earthquake hits Seattle, chances are we’ll be out and about, whether at work, school, or an evening event.

There are over a thousand reinforced brick buildings in Seattle that the city is targeting for retrofitting. Which buildings, where, and how risky are they? Here they are, courtesy of the city Constructions and Inspections Department (original data set).


Schools are deemed especially critical – here are more details about how the district is handling seismic retrofits.

I’m personally a bit obsessed with this information, because I saw the devastating effect a 7.6 earthquake had on buildings in Taiwan when I was living there in 1999. Whole city blocks became rubble due to lax building codes and developer corruption. Some building walls were simply filled with garbage: they crumbled in the initial quake and the daily aftershocks. I came back to my apartment building after weeks away to find a man cheerfully plastering over the deep fissures in the stairwell (I moved).

So I find it perversely reassuring that the city knows its weak spots and is moving to reinforce them – hopefully quickly enough.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: