Current approaches for seismic risk analysis conceptualize the consequences of seismic hazards too narrowly. While they are appropriate for risk analysis and management of individual structures, they fail to capture the actual impact of seismic hazards on society. The limitations of current approaches are discussed along with a list of desiderata for a framework better suited for societal seismic risk analysis and management. This chapter proposes a capability approach that meets such desiderata, where capabilities refer to what individuals are still able to achieve or do in the aftermath of a seismic event. In the proposed framework, individual capabilities are used to capture the net societal impact, including both potential benefits and opportunities. The proposed capability approach provides the information needed for rational decisions on the acceptability and tolerability of risks, informed and fair public policies, optimal allocation of resource, enhancing the quality of life, and promoting a sustainable development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Seismic Risk Analysis and Management of Civil Infrastructure Systems
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9780857098986
ISBN (Print)9780857092687
StatePublished - Apr 30 2013


  • Capability approach
  • Risk analysis
  • Risk management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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