When large earthquakes occur and there is significant damage and destruction of building structures, an almost universal response is the demand for better (and usually bigger) building codes. This paper examines the effects of this public outcry for protection with respect to the economic consequences, the actual process of seismic code formulation, and the technical adequacy of our present knowledge and design procedures. Some general directions are suggested such that new codes can be: better understood with respect to their intended design objectives; economically feasible; and practically enforceable.

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