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Segal, Negev, Feitelson & Zaychik (2017). Devising ‘policy packages’ for seismic retrofitting of residences

Bibliographic details:

Segal, E., Negev, M., Feitelson, E., & Zaychik, D. (2017). Devising ‘policy packages’ for seismic retrofitting of residences. Natural Hazards, 89(1), 497-519.


Collapse of residential buildings is the major cause of death during earthquakes. Seismic retrofitting of residential buildings is a cost-effective way to reduce injury and death. However, seismic retrofitting is a complex policy problem, entailing multiple barriers and requiring multi-stakeholder, multi-level, multi-sectoral, and multi-disciplinary collaborations. Policy packages are an approach to address complex, multi-dimensional policy challenges by developing synergic combinations of policy instruments, geared to achieving policy goals, while minimizing unintended effects and enhancing legitimacy and political feasibility. Israel has a long history of seismic activity, and a seismic building code was introduced in 1980. Yet, 20% of the country’s housing units predate the building code and require seismic retrofitting. A current market-based plan is attractive only in high property value areas, while the most vulnerable regions are largely in the periphery. This paper presents a three-step methodology to formulate policy packages for seismic retrofitting in Israel. Through expert workshops, 69 relevant policy instruments were identified and analyzed. Then, three effective policy packages were formulated based on the interrelations of the various instruments. Finally, the packages were modified to enhance social and political acceptability. The three packages are a ‘national package’ assigning responsibility to a national-level authority, a ‘municipal package’ assigning responsibility to local government, and a ‘civilian package’ which aims to create conditions for homeowners to retrofit with less government intervention. Each package is comprised of 16 policy instruments, seven of which are common to all three packages