Robert Olshansky (M. EERI, 1987), Professor and Head at the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has been selected as EERI’s 2015 Distinguished Lecturer. He will present his lecture, tentatively titled “Cities, Earthquakes, and Time,” at the 2015 EERI Annual Meeting, examining the relationships of earthquakes to time and the policy implications thereof. The EERI Distinguished Lecture Award is given to members of the Institute to recognize and encourage communication of outstanding professional contributions of major importance for earthquake hazard mitigation.
Olshansky’s research and 25 years of teaching cover land use and environmental planning, with an emphasis on planning for natural hazards. Professor Olshansky has studied recovery planning and management after several major disasters. For over a decade, he and colleagues researched the recovery process following the Kobe, Japan earthquake of 1995, and he spent the 2004-05 and 2012-13 academic years as a Visiting Professor at the Disaster Prevention Research Institute at Kyoto University. His co-authored research report, Opportunity in Chaos: Rebuilding after the 1994 Northridge and 1995 Kobe Earthquakes, is available online.
Currently, Olshansky’s work focuses on developing theory and researching the processes of recovery following catastrophic disasters. He researched and advised the post-Katrina planning process in New Orleans, and his book, Clear as Mud: Planning for the Rebuilding of New Orleans, co-authored with Laurie Johnson, was published by APA Press in April 2010. He and collaborators have researched disaster recovery in Sichuan Province, China; Tamil Nadu, India; Indonesia; and Niigata Prefecture and Tohoku, Japan. In March 2010 he participated in EERI’s post-earthquake reconnaissance following the devastating earthquake in Haiti. He is currently working on a variety of publications to synthesize common lessons and themes of community-scale recovery following large disasters around the world. He has also published on landslide policy, hillside development planning, seismic hazard mitigation policy, and environmental impact assessment.
A member of EERI for over 26 years, he has previously served as Chair of the Public Policy Committee as well as other service roles. He is currently a member of the Learning from Earthquakes Committee and co-chair of the Resilience Panel.
Olshansky has a BS degree in geology from Caltech, and MCP and PhD degrees in city planning and environmental planning from UC Berkeley. Prior to his academic career, he managed a geotechnical engineering firm in the San Francisco Bay area, and he worked with an environmental research institute in Anchorage, Alaska.
EERI regional chapters, student chapters, and other members should contact Professor Olshansky at firstname.lastname@example.org to request his presentation of the Distinguished Lecture.