Scientists to Discuss How Earthquake Engineering Practices Can Be Used to Design Terrorism-Resistant Buildings

NYC workshop to explore how to better prepare for disasters like WTC attack

Release Date: June 5, 2002 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Structural engineers from the Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research (MCEER), headquartered at the University at Buffalo, will gather in New York City later this month to discuss how earthquake-engineering practices and blast-resistant designs can be used to create "terror-resistant" buildings.

Their analysis will be part of a two-day workshop, "Lessons from the World Trade Center Terrorist Attack: Management of Complex Civil Emergencies & Terrorism-Resistant Civil Engineering Design," organized by MCEER, in collaboration with the National Research Council (NRC) and CUNY's Institute for Civil Infrastructure Systems (ICIS). Funding for the workshop is from the National Science Foundation.

To be held June 24 and 25, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., in Elebash Recital Hall (365 Fifth Ave.) of The Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY), the workshop also will feature commentary from social scientists and public-policy makers who will discuss improvement of emergency response to complex disasters like the World Trade Center attack and collapse.

"The engineering and emergency-response issues encountered following September 11 closely parallel those expected to follow a damaging earthquake in a highly populated U.S. urban center," says workshop co-organizer Michel Bruneau, MCEER deputy director and UB professor in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering in the UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

"One of the objectives of the workshop is to see whether earthquake-engineering technologies can be married to existing technologies to achieve enhanced performance of buildings in the event of terrorist attacks," he adds.

Bruneau will be joined at the workshop by UB's George Lee, director of MCEER and Samuel P. Capen Professor of Engineering; Andrei Reinhorn, UB professor of civil, structural and environmental engineering and co-director of the university's Structural Engineering and

Earthquake Simulation Laboratory; Andrew Whittaker, associate professor of Earthquake Simulation Laboratory; engineering, and Michael Constantinou, professor and chair of civil, structural and environmental engineering and co-director of UB's Structural Engineering and Earthquake Simulation Laboratory.

Lee, Bruneau, Whittaker and Reinhorn were members of an MCEER investigative team that visited Ground Zero 10 days after the terrorist attack to assess damage to buildings surrounding the WTC. Their analysis will be discussed at the workshop and is published in a MCEER special report "Engineering and Organizational Issues Related to the World Trade Center Terrorist Attack: Overview of Damage to Buildings Near Ground Zero."

The workshop will consist of plenary sessions followed by interactive discussions involving audience participants. Presentations by invited speakers will provide an overview of events relating to the WTC attack and also will focus on how knowledge from previous studies and various fields can merge to address new challenges.

Session topics will include:

* How Did 9/11 Help NYC to Cope with the Next Disaster?

* Achieving Resilience in the Face of Complex Civil Emergencies

* The Tools to Achieve Resilience -- State-of-the-Art

* The Tools to Achieve Resilience -- The Future

* The Political, Economic and Engineering Fusion of Resilience-Enhancing Design

MCEER is a nationwide consortium on earthquake engineering research, headquartered at the University at Buffalo. Funded principally by the National Science Foundation, the State of New York and the Federal Highway Administration, the center's mission is to reduce earthquake damage and losses through multidisciplinary team research and the application of advanced technologies that improve earthquake engineering, pre-earthquake planning and post-earthquake recovery strategies.

For more information about the workshop, go to

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