The research is aimed at developing seismic methods for the design and evaluation of the seismic vulnerability of wooden structures, using a displacement-based approach. After a brief introduction on the seismic behaviour of timber structures, the general Direct Displacement-Based Design (Direct-DBD) procedure and the state-of-the-art are presented, with clear reference to the application of the Direct-DBD method to wooden buildings. The strength of the Direct-DBD method is its ability to design structures in a manner consistent with the level of damage expected, by directly relating the response and the expected performance of the structure. The research begins with a description of the procedural aspects of the Direct-DBD method and the parameters required for its application. The research presented focuses on the formulation of a displacement-based seismic design procedure, applicable to one-storey wooden structures made with a portal system. This typology is very common in Europe and particularly in Italy. A series of analytical expressions have been developed to calculate design parameters. The required analytical Direct-DBD parameters are implemented based on the mechanical behaviour of the connections, made with metal dowel-type fasteners. The calibration and subsequent validation of design parameters use a Monte Carlo numerical simulation and outcomes obtained by tests in full-scale. After the description of the Displacement-Based method for one-storey wooden structures, a series of guidelines to extend the Direct-DBD methodology to other types and categories of timber systems are proposed. The thesis presents the case of a multi-storey wood frame construction, which is a simple extension of the glulam portal frame system. Part of this work has been done within the RELUIS Project, (REte dei Laboratori Universitari di Ingegneria Sismica), Research Line IV, which in the years between 2005 and 2008 involved several Italian universities and Italian institutes of research in the development of new seismic design methods. The Project produced the first draft of model code for the seismic design of structures based on displacement (Direct-DBD). This thesis is the background to the section of the model code developed for timber structures.