About a million people have died in earthquakes in the last two decades, most in a handful of huge quakes in urban areas. Yet the population of cities at risk continues to grow.
Is such death and destruction inevitable? Four experts talk to the BBC World Service Inquiry programme about how far we can quake-proof a city.
Worth the read and there are 3 more expert opinions contained within the article.Dr Emily So: Lessons from the dead
Civil engineer Dr Emily So is director of Cambridge University's Centre for Risk and the Built Environment.
"Most deaths from earthquakes are caused by buildings collapsing: people are more likely to die in bad buildings.
"There are different types of buildings around the world, and with each of these the collapse mechanisms are different; dependent on roof types, the type of environment. For drier climates - in Peru for example - the roofing structure will be much lighter so that prevents death. Even though it collapses, the roof doesn't crush people.
"It's these kind of subtleties that I want to capture with my work.
2. David Malott: High-tech city
Architect David Malott designed three of the world's ten tallest towers.
3.Martijn Schildkamp: Low-tech approach
Architect Martijn Schildkamp founded a charity called Smart Shelter to strengthen cheap housing. He has built schools in Nepal using quake-resistant methods.
4. Dr Lucy Jones: Prioritise wisely
Dr Lucy Jones is science advisor for risk reduction at the US Geological Survey.