Information on "Soft Story" Apartments and Condos

The headline after the next major Bay Area earthquake may be: "Housing Losses Staggering Due to Failure to Retrofit Apartments and Condos with Known Earthquake Risk." Of the 160,000 housing units ABAG forecasts will uninhabitable in a major earthquake, most will be the result of the collapse of apartment buildings with parking or commercial space on all or part of the first floor. The collapse of the parking areas of types of apartments and condos occurred in the 1971 San Fernando earthquake, the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, and the 1994 Northridge earthquake.


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Diagrams courtesy of D. Bonowitz, S.E. Most photoes courtesy of the Karl V. Steinbrugge Collection, Earthquake Engineering Research Center. Title slide courtesy of J. Perkins.

ABAG released a report on the soft-story issues in Oakland in June 2009. The final REPORT and MAP are available. The HOUSING LOSSES portion of ABAG's website lists links to several reports and links to mitigation programs in San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Fremont, Alameda, and elsewhere.

ABAG, the Association of Bay Area Governments, is the regional planning and services agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area.

This page was last updated 6/1/09 by jbp.