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Seismic Design Hypothetical

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Just to make it clear, I am not looking for specific answers for a specific situation.  It's just kind of a general question.  It has been said (often) that engineers don't get any respect because nobody knows what they do.  And maybe nobody knows what they do because they don't seem to be able to show people.
I don't do seismic design, so I don't have a good feeling for it.  Hence my question.
Admittedly, the situation posed is hypothetical, but most people are faced with dozens of hypotethical, what-if situations each day.  And manage to deal with them.
Say it was an "open" parking garage in DC.  Low seismic.  20 psf wind.  Gravity load would control.  How would the same parking garage in San Francisco look different?
Gail Kelley