Seattle’s resilience journey
Seattle has recently witnessed rapid growth as it attracts major technology and e-commerce companies. Economic expansion has brought with it transportation congestion and increased inequality, including a lack of affordable housing and disproportionately poor health and educational outcomes for the Seattle’s neediest citizens.
The city is tackling these issues through efforts such as Seattle’s Equity and Environment initiative, which works to improve access to government by building capacity with communities of color, and by improving the capacity of city staff to work with underserved communities to ensure greater economic and racial equity.
Earthquakes are Seattle’s greatest disaster risk. A 2005 model of a magnitude 6.7 earthquake projected an estimate of over 1,600 fatalities and $33 billion in damages. Seattle has approximately 1,100 unreinforced masonry buildings, which are the most likely to collapse in earthquakes. Retrofitting these buildings is a significant expense, and making them safe without displacing residents is a major policy challenge. Damage would likely concentrate in the city’s lower-income areas, exacerbating the impact of a potential earthquake.