Professional portait of Keith Porter
Research Professor
Structural Engineering & Structural Mechanics • Civil Systems

Dr. Keith Porter is a research professor in the structural engineering and structural mechanics group at the University of Colorado Boulder. He has 30 years of leadership in university research and engineering professional practice addressing how earthquakes, floods, windstorms, and wildfire affect the built environment, society, and the economy. His work focuses near the intersection of natural hazard processes, catastrophe risk modeling, and performance-based engineering. He has developed a strong interest in engineering ethics, especially how virtue ethics, duty ethics, utilitarianism, and care ethics relate to engineering risk decisions. Dr. Porter holds civil and structural engineering degrees from UC Davis, UC Berkeley, and Stanford University. He is a licensed Colorado and California professional engineer, with professional experience in construction contracting, structural design, and catastrophe risk modeling.

Research Interests

  • Engineering economics and disaster risk for buildings, utilities, and transportation infrastructure
  • Disaster resilience incentives, mandate, and ethics
  • Uncertainty and disaster risk

Honors & Awards

  • Fellow, Structural Engineering Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers
  • Member, Chi Epsilon and Tau Beta Pi engineering honor societies
  • George W. Housner Fellow, California Institute of Technology (2000)

Recent Publications

Multi-Hazard Mitigation Council (2020). A Roadmap to Resilience Incentivization. Porter, K.A. and Yuan, J.Q., eds., National Institute of Building Sciences, Washington, DC, 33p.

Porter, K.A. (2020). Should we build better? The case for resilient earthquake design in the United States. Earthquake Spectra.

Multi-Hazard Mitigation Council (2019). Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves: 2019 Report. Principal Investigator Porter, K.; Co-Principal Investigators Dash, N., Huyck, C., Santos, J., Scawthorn, C.; Investigators: Eguchi, M., Eguchi, R., Ghosh., S., Isteita, M., Mickey, K., Rashed, T., Reeder, A.; Schneider, P.; and Yuan, J., Directors, MMC. Investigator Intern: Cohen-Porter, A. National Institute of Building Sciences. Washington, DC, 619 p.

Porter, K., and Thomas, E. (2019) First the earthquakes then the lawsuits. Probate and Property 33 (6): 34-40,

Porter, K.A. (2018). Not safe enough—a survey of public preferences for the seismic performance of new buildings in California and the New Madrid Seismic Zone. Detweiler, S.T. and Wein, A.M., eds., The HayWired Earthquake Scenario—Engineering Implications. Scientific Investigations Report 2017–5013–I–Q, Reston, VA: United States Geological Survey, ch. L, p. 79-96,