Devising ‘policy packages’ for seismic retrofitting of residences

Ehud Segal, Maya Negev, Eran Feitelson, Danielle Zaychik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)497-519
Number of pages23
JournalNatural Hazards
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the Israeli Ministry of Science and Technology, Grant # 3-4169. The authors would like to thank the participants in the expert workshops and especially Yael Kilgman, Amnon Reichman, Igal Shohat and Amir Yahav for their advice and input with regard to the policy packages formation process.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, Springer Science+Business Media B.V.


  • Complex policy problems
  • Earthquakes
  • Mitigation
  • Policy analysis
  • Policy packages
  • Seismic retrofitting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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