In this issue:

Vol. 3, Issue 1 of the Center of Excellence for Risk-Based Community Resilience Planning's newsletter: Community Resilience News. The CRN provides updates to the broader community on what is happening within the Center, potential opportunities to communicate and participate in community resilience activities related to the CoE, and around the world.

If you have article ideas, would like to make an announcement, or have your article considered for an upcoming issue of CRN, please contact Connie Hale. The CRN is published on-line quarterly - if you are interested in receiving the CRN via email, sign up here.

We are pleased to be able to announce that there are two major activities underway within the CoE. First, a newly formed semi-annual meeting planning committee more representative of the breadth of disciplines present within the CoE research community and representing students, post-docs, and faculty has been formed. This group will work with the Center Leadership Team to optimize the agenda for the November,l 2018 meeting in Gaithersburg. Second, the pre-planning for the renewal process is underway and will hit full stride in August and September in preparation for the November meeting. Faculty that are members of the CoE have received an initial survey to provide input as the process starts and focus areas that align with NIST's Community Resilience Group research and collaborative needs.

The November, 2018 semi-annual meeting will be the last meeting held before the proposal for renewal is due in mid-February, 2019. The NIST criteria for evaluation focus on the Center's accomplishments and research products: what major goals of the Center were accomplished; what opportunities for training and professional development have been provided; how has the research been disseminated through various research products, including publications, website databases, and educational materials; and what is proposed for the renewal period. The NIST evaluation is expected to take approximately 8 months to ensure some overlap, should the renewal be successful. We look forward to working with everyone on this effort in the Fall


John W. van de Lindt, Ph.D., F. ASCE
Bruce R. Ellingwood, Ph.D., P.E., N.A.E

The Center for Risk-Based Community Resilience Planning held its Semi-annual Meeting May 3-4, 2018 in Fort Collins, CO. Approximately 97 Center personnel attended including the Center's Directors, leadership team, researchers, post-docs, graduate students, NIST collaborators and members from our External Assessment Panel. In addition to the general meeting, a CGE Short Course was taught by Harvey Cutler on May 2nd and several task committees held meetings.

The morning of May 3rd, a Webinar entitled Documenting and Modeling Community Recovery took place. To watch and obtain more information on the Webinar, follow this link. The remainder of the meeting centered around the general theme of community recovery modeling, and included sessions devoted to decision modeling and decision process flow, model verification and validation. Technical meetings of several task committees concluded the meeting on Friday afternoon.

by Karim Farokhnia, Giuseppe Lomiento, Andre Barbosa, Mikhail Gershfeld and John van de Lindt

The evaluation of the building taxonomies available in the literature resulted in the adoption of the Global Earthquake Model Building Taxonomy (GEM-BT) as the COE’s reference building taxonomy during 2017 first semi-annual meeting. GEM-BT is considered the state-of-the-art building structural taxonomy for risk and resilience assessment of communities when exposed to seismic hazards. Since then, the COE taxonomy team has been expanding it to create a building functionality taxonomy that can be used effectively for community resiliency modeling and to address the natural multi-hazard environments studied within the COE. From the team's survey, there appears to be no written literature on this type of building taxonomy. This taxonomy is intended for categorizing physical (structural and non-structural), social and economic (building specific) attributes of a building inventory (individual buildings or portfolio of buildings) at the community resiliency level (functionality recovery) and helping to identify the needs for the development of building damage and functionality fragility functions.

The GEM-BT taxonomic groups dealing with structural building components have been expanded to ensure that relevant information is provided to damage and functionality fragility functions associated with seismic, tornado, hurricane, and tsunami hazards. Nonstructural attributes that contribute significantly to hazard-induced casualties, loss of use or downtime, monetized losses, as well as repair-cost and repair-time, are being included. For example, the properties of the building envelope and load path continuity of the vertical system is critical to wind-related hazards (hurricane, tornado), the building shape and elevation of building equipment above grade is critical to water-related hazards (flood, tsunami). The building replacement value and speed of replacement (insurance and resource availability) are critical to recovery time and cost.

The building functionality taxonomy is organized into six major groups of attributes. Each of the groups and attributes are sub-divided into various additional attributes characterizing different levels of detail addressing different aspects of a building. The six groups are:

  • Group 1: General/Geospatial, provides information about location, height, date of construction, occupancy, building position, and shape in plan.
  • Group 2: Geotechnical systems, focuses on soil classification, foundation systems, and sub-structure systems below and above ground.
  • Group 3: Structural systems, addresses materials and types of vertical and lateral load resisting system, and structural irregularities in different directions.
  • Group 4: Architectural systems, targets the building envelope systems, interiors, equipment & furnishing, ingress/egress systems.
  • Group 5: MEP systems, provides information about mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems
  • Group 6: Socio-economic attributes, describes accessibility of the building and tenure of inhabitants, and provides information about ownership type, design life expectancy, monetary value, insurance type and deductible level, and property income generation ability. (Still in development).

Each attribute currently has up to five levels of detail, where each attribute is identified with a string code and is envisioned as part of building taxonomy string for either direct input into IN-CORE or collected through an IN-CORE handheld or desktop user interface. For further details about the groups, read more here. Furthermore, for an example of the identification of the economic coding string, see the illustration here.

The application of the proposed functionality-based taxonomy to case-study buildings is currently underway and is intended to help finalize social and economic attributes for real applications, and validate the building attribute acquisition and categorization process. Examples of two buildings selected are a hospital in Joplin that was exposed to tornado hazards and a building in Seaside, Oregon, which has a high exposure to seismic and tsunami hazards. Illustrated next in this newsletter is the WorldMark Wyndham Resort located in Seaside, OR, which is used as an application example of the taxonomy being applied to a building with exposure to multiple hazards.

The case study building is the WorldMark Wyndham Resort located in Seaside, OR. The building is U shape with 33 meters height and was built in 2001. It has a mat foundation with one level basement. The structure of the building is a reinforced concrete frame with the main lateral force resisting systems consisting of shear walls and no irregularity due to the presence of well distributed seismic joints. The roof of the building is flat, and the floors are reinforced concrete slabs. The exterior walls are made of E.I.F.S with brick veneer on some floors, and interiors partitions are metal studs with gypsum wallboard. The building has a backup generator.
Taxonomy code string (building info, geospatial, structural, architectural groups): DX/CR+CIP/LPB+DUC/DY/CR+CIP/LPB+DUC/HEX:8+HBEX:1/YAPP:2001/RES+RES2F/BP1/ PLFU/IRRE/EWSL/RSH1+RMN+RC+RC1+RWCP/FC+FC1/FOSN/EBV99/EIV99/ECV99/EI99/ POPB99/

Social and economic is still not finalized and is manually added.
Figure 1. A case-study building, WorldMark Wyndham Resort, located in Seaside, Oregon.

The drawings for the buildings were available and building physical data was collected. The socio-economic data has not been developed and is not yet included in the taxonomy string. The taxonomy format, however, has been established and follows GEM-BT format [1]. The format is extendible both vertically (groups or attributes could be added) or horizontally (additional levels of detail could be added) wherever might be needed in the future.


We would like to thank the social team for their engagement in development of the social attributes. We also thank the City of Seaside Public Works for providing access to the public records for the building case studies.

  1. S., Brzev, C., Scawthorn, A.W., Charleson, K.Jaiswal, "Interim Overview of GEM Building Taxonomy V2.0", Global Earthquake Model, 2012.







WCAI did a news story on the earthquake in Alaska and asked Paolo Gardoni what would happen if a similar earthquake had occurred in the Midwest. Here is a link to the story (text and video)

Suren Chen was elected as an ASCE Fellow effective January 31, 2018. The ASCE website states the following: ASCE Fellows have made celebrated contributions and developed creative solutions that change lives around the world. It is a prestigious honor held by only 3% of ASCE members. Congratulations Suren!

Please join in congratulating our colleague and Center Co-Director, Bruce R. Ellingwood, who was selected to receive the 2018 Geerhard Haaijer Award for Excellence in Education from the American Institute of Steel Construction. This award is given "in special recognition to individuals who have had a profound and lasting impact in developing a unique application for engineering practice or in the mentoring of future leaders." The award was presented at the North American Steel Construction Congress in Baltimore on April 11, 2018, and had last been presented in 2010 Congratulations Bruce!

Sammy Zahran, Associate Professor in the Department of Economics was recently in CSU's Source; Researchers lead study on cause of Flint disease outbreak:

The University of Kansas just issued a news item about Elaina Sutley and details her experience as part of our Lumberton, N.C., exercise following Hurricane Matthew. The news item is available at: NIST picked up a tweet from the KU writer of the news item that mentions us (

Jim Harris, a member of our EAP, gave a presentation entitled "The Evolution of Building Design to Resist Earthquakes", at the 2018 Newark Distinguished Lecture series held at the University of Illinois. This is quite an honor.

Jim Harris also was recognized with Honorary Membership in the American Concrete Institute "for visionary leadership in the development of codes and standards for the design of safe and reliable buildings and for dedicated service to the structural engineering profession." Please join us in congratulating Jim for his outstanding professional accomplishments!

Congratulations to Garland Pennison! Garland is a Ph.D. student studying under the direction of Bret Webb. His paper had been selected to receive the 2018 IISE Best Track, Sustainable Development: "Local Coastal Roads - Next Generation". This award was presented to Garland during the IISE Annual Conference & Expo 2018, held May 19-22, 2018 at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando.

Center's Associate Director Prof. Paolo Gardoni edited a book titled "Climate Change and Its Impacts: Risks and Inequalities" just published by Springer ( The book provides a deeper and more nuanced understanding of the consequences of climate change by bringing experts in climate science, engineering, urban planning, and conservation biology into conversation with scholars in law, geography, anthropology and ethics. Among the topics addressed are the effects of climate change on the likelihood and magnitude of natural hazards, an assessment of civil infrastructure vulnerabilities, resilience assessment for coastal communities, an ethical framework to evaluate behavior that contributes to climate change, as well as policies and cultural shifts that might help humanity respond adequately to climate change. Center's Co-director Prof. Bruce Ellingwood and Center's investigator Prof. Naiyu Wang contributed an outstanding chapter (Ch. 8) with very enlightening insights as well as very rigorous analyses.

In January of 2016, NIST launched a new BLOG called Taking Measure, Just a Standard Blog. The posts, about one a week, are written by NIST's researchers and staff and provide a behind-the-scenes look at a broad range of science and technology research. Catch up on the recent articles and sign up for blog email alerts here: