[By Shideh] It’s widely understood that many apartments and houses in Tehran were not built properly and are “me`mar saaz” (designed and built by non-engineers). It seems most buildings in Tehran, even those designed by engineers according to the building codes, are not built properly due to poor supervision or corruption in the construction industry.
What are Tehranians to do to prevent an unimaginable disaster resulting from an earthquake, which will come sooner or later? Is this the responsibility of the authorities or is public awareness and action a more urgent factor? In my opinion, Tehran authorities and agencies will mostly follow the expectations of Tehran’s inhabitants. It’s important for the people of a city to be aware of the reality of risks associated with natural disasters, the outcomes of poor construction, and the power of community based synergy.
I think a city’s legal system will follow the city’s state of awareness to a large degree. Once Tehranians accept the risk facing their city, once they remember the lessons learned from Bam’s tragedy, and once they believe that there are things that can be done to protect their homes and lives, I feel the city and its regulations will automatically follow with time. The problem here, though, is that we may not have enough time for society to renew its belief system. Perhaps the approach should be from both sides (public and authority) simultaneously. Please feel free to comment with thoughts on immediate and long term solutions to approach this problem: educating and empowering people toward progressive action.