Title: Spatial Planning and Earthquake Protection in Greece
Authors: DANDOULAKI Miranta
Publication Year: 2008
JRC N°: JRC46570
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC46570
Type: PhD Theses
Abstract: The thesis examines earthquake protection in Greece as a multi-disciplinary and multi-sectoral undertaking, focussing on its relationship with spatial planning. One relevant point is examination of the hypothesis of ¿disaster as window of opportunity¿ for comprehensive reconstruction. Cornerstone of the thesis is the study of the theoretical discussion on hazards and disasters together with international policies and practices. Then earthquake protection in Greece comes into focus. Consequently spatial planning in Greece and its links with earthquake protection is examined. To supplement the written sources, research on the role of professional cultures has been carried out through semi-structured interviews with selected informants from the disciplines of civil engineering, geosciences and urban/regional planning. Finally, starting from the reconstruction of Kalamata after the 1986 earthquakes, which is a reference case for earthquake reconstruction in Greece, there is investigation of how under certain preconditions earthquake disaster can function as catalyst for broader multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary approaches to reconstruction. Examination of earthquake protection policies in Greece in the period 1975-2005 reveals the predominant role of state policies. Earthquake protection was a national priority in preceding decades. Gradually knowledge and experience were acquired and a system was developed to deal with every phase of a disaster. The key feature of earthquake protection in Greece has been a focus on the building and its owner. Notwithstanding the positive results it has yielded, concentrating on the seismic safety of the structure and the seismic design code entails inherent limitations and essentially leads to a separation from considerations of quality of the urban environment and of sustainability. In present-day conditions, earthquake mitigation is focused at the level of the individual building, sidelining other spatial dimensions. At the same time earthquake protection occupies a marginal position in spatial planning. Investigation through interviews has highlighted a range of factors that are contributing to this situation, among them divisions between the disciplines and differences in their perceptions and convictions, experiences and traditions, means of communication, aggregate understanding and knowledge on earthquake protection. Kalamata¿s reconstruction after the 1986 earthquakes created a positive precedent leaving the notion that an earthquake disaster does not have to do primarily with buildings and that what is needed is a multi-sectoral and multi-thematic approach to reconstruction. Notwithstanding all this it is a case with elements of uniqueness to it. It came as continuation of a previous dynamic in the Municipality in an social-political conjuncture that had highlighted earthquake protection as a national priority and seen Kalamata as experimental terrain for new institutions. Post-earthquake dynamic was predicated on the pre-earthquake one. In that sense the disaster did not represent ¿the opportunity¿ at the local level.
JRC Directorate:Space, Security and Migration

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