Nearly a decade after the largest terrorist attack on U.S. soil, the country still lacks a comprehensive response plan.

The American Public Works Association is one of 16 organizations supporting a proposed federal grant program that would help cities, counties, and states update construction codes to minimize damage from earthquakes and other natural disasters. The organization also contributed to a white paper — available on the International Code Council's Web site at www.iccsafe.org/NME — that outlines how to create support for mitigation initiatives with hefty initial price tags but pay for themselves several times over during and after a crisis.

The San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association's Resilient Cities Initiative defines resiliency in a deterministic manner based on what the earthquake-prone city needs from its buildings and lifelines to support response, recovery, and rebuilding. For more information about resilient cities, go to www.spur.org and enter “resilient city part 1” in the site's search button.