The Center

About What We Do Our Approach Who We Are Project Highlights How To Get Involved Latest News

About the Center

The Dr. Lucy Jones Center for Science and Society, founded by Dr. Lucy Jones after more than three decades of public service as a seismologist with the US Geological Survey, has a mission to foster the understanding and application of scientific information in the creation of more resilient communities. The Center is a project of Community Partners.

What We Do

Working with both the public and private sectors, The Center will increase communities’ ability to adapt and be resilient to the dynamic changes of the world around them. We will help scientists become better communicators of their results and help decision-makers understand how they can partner with scientists and use results of scientific studies to make better informed decisions.

Our Approach

The Center focuses on activities that further actual risk reduction. Our aim is to understand and communicate where the greatest vulnerabilities lie and what actions can be taken to reduce the risk that are the most cost-effective. The answers will depend on the particular region and hazard, but there are important commonalities.

  • Education about true impacts. To make cost effective decisions, people need to understand the likely damage and how it will affect them. This requires effective science communication and dialog between technical and policy experts.
  • Lifeline interactions. The biggest financial impacts in many disasters comes from the failure of utilities and other lifelines that support our urban environments. Much of the vulnerability is not the result of the damage to a single utility, but the cascading failures as one lifeline loses the support from another.
  • Built environment. Building codes are fundamental to creating a resilient city. Our current built environment is at risk because of 1) older buildings that do not meet current code and 2) the current code that provides only for life-safety and not for immediate occupancy. Improving our codes to make our buildings usable after an event is an important step to economic resilience.
  • Strengthening our social fabric. In most large disasters, more money is lost through business disruption and population flight after the event than from damage in the event itself. Life will be difficult after a big disaster and recovery will depend on people willing to stay and do the work of recovery.

Who We Are

The Center is led by Dr. Lucy Jones and supported by a team that currently includes:

  • Ines Pearce has spent 23 years in emergency management and building extensive public-private partnerships, most notably as Director of Project Impact for the City of Seattle. Having represented the World Economic Forum at the United Nations, as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Pearce is an internationally recognized expert in the field.
  • John Bwarie has spent years engaging with communities, crafting messages, and delivering results in support of resilience and the use of expert information in decision-making. John has worked alongside Dr. Jones since 2007 and was instrumental in creating the Great ShakeOut.
  • Kate Long has spent two decades in emergency management, most recently serving as the Earthquake & Tsunami Program Manager for the State of California. Kate was a driving force for the creation of the Earthquake County Alliance and started her career as a producer in Hollywood.

Project Highlights

Resilience Policy in Southern California. In partnership with the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), the Center is providing education on the earthquake risk and policy approaches to reduce the risk to local governments of southern California. Drawing on Dr. Jones’s experience helping Los Angeles create Resilience by Design, this work will help the cities of southern California understand what is at stake in their communities and how to bring the community together to support policies to reduce the risk.

Seven Steps for Earthquake Safety for Community Groups. In partnership with a variety of faith and community groups, the Center is creating, testing and implementing a program to improve disaster resilience for community groups including faith communities. The goal of this project is to strengthen community groups so they can be the nuclei of recovery after disasters.

Safer Cities Survey. In partnership with the Structural Engineers Association of Southern California (SEAOSC), the Center is creating a survey on the status of seismic safety policies across the almost 200 jurisdictions of Southern California.

How To Get Involved

Individuals and organizations can support the Center to enable this important work by investing in the Center directly or supporting a specific program or activity. Please use the contact page to connect with us.