The Web-based World Housing Encyclopedia: Housing Construction in High Seismic Risk Areas of the World

Recent devastating losses in earthquakes to housing around the world highlight the need to share information on building construction practices and strengthening technologies. The Earthquake Engineering Research Institute and the International Association for Earthquake Engineering have an ongoing Internet-based project called World Housing Encyclopaedia (WHE) that provides a framework for sharing such information globally (www. world-housing. net). The purpose of the WHE is to develop a comprehensive global categorization of characteristic housing construction types presented using a standardized format. The encyclopaedia provides basic information on the seismic vulnerability and strengths of various structural systems and materials, useful to local, national and international public and private organizations and individuals concerned with improving the seismic resistance of a region's housing stock. Initially inaugurated at the 2000 World Conference on Earthquake Engineering in Auckland, New Zealand, this web-based project is now in its fourth year. This paper describes the scope of the encyclopedia and provides the examples of its application.