Former Soviet Republic


This case addresses child welfare through an examination of schools and earthquake safety. Many of the school buildings in the former Soviet Republics are not properly engineered to withstand earthquakes. While there is money to rehab school facilities to make them safer, almost every school facility is in poor condition and there is not enough money to ‘retrofit’ every one. In this case, the student takes on the role of a consultant hired to create a prioritization system to determine which schools should receive limited development funds. The student is asked to consider multiple factors influencing the safety of individual schools, including the overall enrollment of the facility, seismic fragility of the structure, exposure to earthquake hazards, and the adequacy of school hygiene facilities. This case requires students to understand the complex determinants of disaster risk and to confront the difficult ethics that often accompany resource allocation.

Planning Topics

disaster management, infrastructure planning, social justice, education, health planning, technocratic planning

Learning Objectives

  1. Describe the key contributors to seismic risk in school buildings.
  2. Understand the impact of centralized planning and design on infrastructure projects.
  3. Understand how prioritization is used to allocate development resources based on common criteria.
  4. Develop and apply a weighted scoring scheme.
  5. Articulate a reasoned justification for resource allocation as it pertains to a stated goal.

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Suggested Readings

  1. Petal, M., Wisner, B., Kelman, I., Alexander, D., Cardona, O., Benouar, D., Bhatia, S., Bothara, J., Dixit, A., Green, R., Kandel, R., Monk, T., Pandey, B., Rodgers, J., Sanduvac, Z., Shaw, R. (2015). School seismic safety and risk mitigation, Encyclopedia of Earthquake Engineering, Article ID 385535, Chapter ID 396. Beer, M., Patelli, E., Koughioumtzoglou, I., Au, I., eds., Springer Publications. Read an excerpt.
  2. Theunynck, S. (22) School Construction in Development Countries: What do we know? Download the report.
  3. UN-ISDR and the Global Alliance for DRR and Resilience in the Education Sector (2015). Comprehensive School Safety. Download the report.