In this issue:

Vol. 1, Issue 3 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.

As part of our program of outreach to educational, professional and administrative personnel interested in community resilience, the Center organized its first 3-hour public informational Webinar on April 28th, 2016, co-hosted by technical staff from the Center and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. We were very pleased at the turnout - more than 200 connected remotely including a number of groups - underscoring the level of interest in community resilience and the Center's research activities. The participants included university researchers, professional staff from State and Federal government agencies, emergency managers and planners. For those who might have missed this event, the webinar can be viewed at

While many of the Center research programs from the first year have continued into the second, we have shifted research direction in two ways: first, away from individual hazards and performance assessment of individual buildings toward modeling infrastructure interdependencies, and second, initiating algorithms for recovery that enable the Center to consider strategies for restoring or improving pre-disaster community functions and well-being. Our current testbeds - Seaside, OR, Centerville and Shelby County, TN - are maturing and continue to provide opportunities for engineers and social scientists to collaborate closely, and a recently initiated testbed will model the impact of hurricane/storm surge/coastal flooding on Galveston, TX. We also have recently initiated the Center's first hindcast of a natural disaster: the Joplin, MO tornado of May, 2011, which resulted in approximately 160 fatalities, over 1100 injuries, and near $3 billion in damages. In contrast to the testbeds, which are used primarily for developing and testing algorithms and datasets, hindcasts are intended to estimate the damage to a community from an extreme event based on general physical, social and economic models that are embedded in our resilience assessment platform. In addition, the Joplin hindcast will be used to try to predict the recovery process for a mid-sized community. Many readers will recall that the Joplin disaster was the subject of a comprehensive post-disaster report by NIST: Technical Investigation of the May 22, 2011 Tornado in Joplin, MO.


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

by Patrick Otellini

Patrick Otellini joined the CoE's External Assessment Panel in late 2015. As the Chief Resilience Officer for the City and County of San Francisco, Mr. Otellini is tasked with developing the city's resiliency strategy in conjunction with the 100 Resilient Cities initiative pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation. You can read more about Patrick HERE.

San Francisco is both a capital of innovation and a flashpoint for many of the country's most daunting urban struggles. It is a city with a long history of advocacy and acceptance, and a city that struggles with its own contemporary identity. Cities around the world are grappling with the realities of climate change and rising seas, escalating urbanization and increasingly frequent disruptions of daily life. Here in San Francisco, we are struggling with how the hazards we face - and our response to them - expose several interdependencies that we must better understand. Resilience is not a new term for our City but it is one that is ever evolving through efforts like the NIST Center for Excellence.

In April of this year, San Francisco released Resilient San Francisco - Stronger Today, Stronger Tomorrow in conjunction with the Rockefeller Foundation's 100 Resilient Cities Initiative. This strategy seeks to tap into our city's trademark tenacity by laying out our most pressing challenges and demanding that City government partner with the community to make bold and lasting progress on these challenges.

The Association of Bay Area Governments projects that the population of San Francisco will grow to 1 million, and the Bay Area will grow to 7.2 million residents by 2040. This requires our planning to consider this additional capacity. But San Francisco is growing at a rate that projects 1 million residents by 2040. This idea of San Francisco at 1 million residents (or SF@1M) appears throughout this strategy, and reminds us that we need to consider adding additional capacity when needed and to look for more opportunities to take an integrated approach. We cannot just plan for our needs of today but rather must work together to plan for the needs of a growing population: SF@1M.

We face several interconnected challenges:

EARTHQUAKES - There is a 76 percent chance the Bay Area will experience a 7.0 magnitude earthquake in the next 30 years. Even the relatively moderate and distant 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake (6.9) caused substantial damage to our city. It is imperative to the survival of San Francisco that we continue working to prepare for and recover from the "big one."

CLIMATE CHANGE - The impacts of global climate change are already being felt in the form of drought and increasingly severe storm events. We must secure our city's future through mitigation, while recognizing the likely impacts of climate change by beginning to adapt today rather than when it is too late.

SEA LEVEL RISE - We expect a total of 66 inches of sea level rise to impact our shores by 2100. As we plan for the growth of our city, we need to adapt to this challenge that threatens not only our waterfront but also our way of life in San Francisco and regionally.

INFRASTRUCTURE - Infrastructure is central to our daily lives-from the roads and pipes we use every day, to the larger systems, like food, social networks and housing that we rely on as lifelines. Sometimes these systems continue to operate past their intended life span, and sometimes they are inadequate altogether to meet the needs of a growing and vibrant city.

SOCIAL INEQUITY San Francisco embraces equality and equity in all policies, but this work is never done. Social equity and inclusiveness need to be at the core of what makes a city thrive.

UNAFFORDABILITY Forty-five percent of renters in San Francisco pay more than 30 percent of their household income in rent. Median home prices are continuing to rise, making it a challenge for first-time homebuyers. San Francisco is becoming out of reach for many of the people who made the city what it is today.

With an eye toward both process and product, we take a long view of resilience. What will San Francisco be like with nearly 160,000 new residents? How will population growth impact the challenges we already face? What new challenges will we face, and what strengths will SF@1M add to our city by 2040? And, most importantly, how can we begin to accommodate this growth, while facing both the challenges of today and tomorrow? We have determined four actionable goals to address those challenges. Each goal was formed from, and will be supported by, leveraging successful City department-level initiatives, as well as supporting efforts (e.g., department studies, existing projects) within each goal's policy area:

  1. Plan and Prepare for Tomorrow - San Francisco's challenges build slowly and quickly, steadily and suddenly. This goal looks toward building our city's capacity to handle today's challenges and tomorrow's disasters. We address land use planning and recovery planning, as well as earthquake planning and preparedness.
  2. Mitigate, Adapt and Retrofit - We face a future with certain challenges. This goal looks to confront the pressing realities of an imminent large earthquake, a changing climate and rising seas, all while building a stronger city today.
  3. Ensure Housing for San Franciscans Today and After a Disaster - Today's challenges will only worsen with tomorrow's disruptions. We must work now to ensure housing for all San Franciscans before and after a disaster. We will work to address our city's housing and homeless crises through innovative policies, reimagining and bold action to build a stronger city for today and tomorrow.
  4. Empower Neighbors and Neighborhoods through Improved Connections - San Francisco is a city of neighborhoods and neighbors. This goal seeks to build on the strength of our city's character and vibrancy, by being effective governmental stewards of resilient, healthy and cohesive neighborhoods based in trust, equity and partnership.

This strategy has the power to transform San Francisco. Ultimately, though, effective implementation is paramount. Clear, actionable steps are the foundation of urban resilience, building momentum and continual support for the work we do. These goals can only be achieved if the City partners with communities to take a stand and make the hard decisions necessary to secure a better future for all San Franciscans. Some of the hallmark actions this strategy will take include:

  • A new Office of Resilience and Recovery
  • Create capacity to house a population expected to grow to 1 million residents by 2040.
  • A disaster housing and governance plan for long-term recovery
  • Launching a regional resilience design challenge
  • Constructing a disaster-resilient waterfront by 2040
  • Seismic retrofit of vulnerable buildings and set a higher level of safety for new buildings
  • Advance Citywide adaptation planning for sea level rise

This strategy cannot fix every problem or answer every question. But it prioritizes the challenges we face, tackling them with bold goals and decisive action. As we approach SF@1M, it takes a hard look at our transportation and land use planning, our disaster and recovery planning, our climate readiness and critical neighborhood programs. Foremost, this strategy is intended to foster dialogue between San Francisco government and the community, between departments within San Francisco government, between cities in the region, between neighbors.

Group photo, Tsinghua University, China

Bruce Ellingwood, Hussam Mahmoud, John van de Lindt from CSU and Naiyu Wang from OU recently visited colleagues at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China and participated in a Joint Workshop on Enhancing Community Resilience under Natural Hazards, held on May 18th - 19th, 2016. van de Lindt spoke on his research on community response to non-synoptic winds; Mahmoud summarized his work on wildland urban interface fire modeling, with a demonstration of cellular automata models of fire propagation; Wang discussed her recent work on stage-wise resilience planning for roadways; and Ellingwood summarized his initiative (with Wang and Paolo Gardoni of the UIUC) on managing risk to community infrastructure under climate change effects. The team's visit was hosted by Professor Quanwang Li of Tsinghua's Civil Engineering Department, whose presentation dealt with measuring the functionality of building inventories with different occupancy classifications considering their inter-dependencies. The workshop involved approximately ten faculty participants from the departments of civil engineering, construction engineering and management, industrial and systems engineering, and the Institute of Public Safety Research in engineering physics, and approximately twenty graduate students.

Resilience and sustainability, as research focus areas, have recently taken hold in China, and there are several new initiatives in Civil Engineering at Tsinghua. Among these is a newly established Institute for Future Cities and Infrastructure (IFCI) led by Professors Jianguo Nie (CNAE) and Dongping Fang, who spoke about his vision for interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research to achieve resilient urbanization. Tsinghua University's engineering programs are the most exclusive in China. The Center team learned that while urban resilience assessment in the United States and China differs in many respects, many of the measurement science technologies are similar and the workshop identified a number of areas for potential future collaboration.

Three upcoming events will further showcase the Center's and NIST's efforts to develop mutually beneficial international collaborations. The first is a three-session Mini-Symposium on Optimizing Risk Mitigation Strategies for Enhancing Urban Resilience under Natural Hazards co-organized by van de Lindt, Ellingwood and Li for the Urban Transitions Global Summit in Shanghai in September. The second is an International Workshop on Resilience in Turino, Italy, also in September. The third is the International Workshop on Modeling of Physical, Economic, and Social Systems for Resilience Assessment, organized jointly by Applied Research Associates, NIST and Colorado State University, to be held in Washington, DC in October. Future editions of the Center's monthly newsletter will highlight these activities.

In late April the Center for Risk-Based Community Resilience Planning held it's Semi-annual Meeting in Fort Collins, CO. More than ninety Center personnel attended including the Center's Directors, leadership team, researchers, post-docs, graduate students, NIST collaborators and members from our External Assessment Panel. For the greater resilience community, the Center offered an informational webinar, providing information about the end product - an open source multidisciplinary computational environment with fully integrated supporting databases. Researchers discussed physics-based models of interdependent and cascading hazards and their effect on buildings, bridges, power, water/wastewater, and communication systems, and the treatment of the complex interactions between physical infrastructure and the socio-economic systems in a community, quantification and measurement of factors that make a community resilient to hazards, and a risk-informed basis for decision-making.

The WEBINAR was recorded and may be viewed on YouTube:

Now in year 2, the Center for Risk-Based Community Resilience Planning is preparing to launch version 2 of the modeling environment capable of computing resiliency measures at the user-desired community level, a software platform for multi-hazard assessment, response and planning. v2.0 will bring the capabilities of v1.0, while adding new capabilities that aren't available in v1.0. It has been named IN-CORE: Interdependent Network COmmunity Resilience modeling Environment. As new research is published by the center, data and analyses can either be updated or added (if they don't yet exist in the software). The software can also be used to help researchers validate their analyses by using visualizations to verify the results visually or by comparing against known data (e.g. hindcasting).

IN-CORE is set to be developed over 2016 and will provide better data management tools, new systems for visualization, an updated user interface and much more. We are very excited for the progress being made!

In May, EMI 2016 / PMC 2016 took place at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. Center Co-Director John van de Lindt and Associate Director Paolo Gardoni organized a very successful mini-symposium for the conference. A number of Center students and faculty contributed very interesting presentations along with contributions from others working on resilience outside of the CoE.

Elaina Sutley, Univ of Kansas, and Sara Hamideh, Iowa State Univ, attended a Housing Recovery Workshop at Texas A&M hosted by Walt Peacock June 6-10. During that time Sara and Elaina analyzed Hurricane Ike data to develop recovery curves using assessed value, and fragility curves for recovery based on various demographic, economic and physical variables.

Bruce Ellingwood spent 7weeks in China working toward international collaboration with investigators at Tsinghua University on resilience-related research.

Other Upcoming Meetings, Conferences, and Workshops of Interest:

  • A CoE team of researchers, Post-Docs and students will travel to Joplin, MO in July to meet with area community leaders, business owners, local utility companies, and others to begin collecting data for the Center's first Hindcast. In May of 2011, Joplin was the site of an EF-5 tornado, the most powerful ranking tornado, making it one of the most deadly and costly single tornados on record in the U.S.
  • Natural Hazards Workshop, July 10-14, Broomfield, CO
  • 12th International Conference on Structural Safety and Reliability, August, Vienna
  • Urban Transitions Global Summit, September, Shanghai
  • SEAOC Convention (Structural Engineers Assoc. of CA), October, Maui, HI
  • Center for Risk-Based Community Resilience Planning's Semi-Annual Meeting in Gaithersburg, MD will be November 3-4.

KU's Elaina Sutley is an ASCE "ExCEED 2016 Teaching Fellow". In July she will attend a six-day practicum at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, which provides engineering educators with an opportunity to improve their teaching abilities. The seminars are augmented by a series of demonstration classes - models of high-quality teaching, presented by ExCEED faculty mentors. During the latter half of the course, participants apply what they have learned by preparing and teaching three actual classes in a small-group setting. This collaborative "learn by doing" format ensures that participants will make substantive improvements in their teaching skills by the end of the course.

Colorado State University's Hussam Mahmoud received the 2016 Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Outstanding Faculty Performance Award this spring. Well done Hussam!

In March Jamie Padgett (RICE) and her graduate students hosted 23 eighth graders from First Baptist Academy to give them a taste of civil engineering. Jamie gave the students a lesson on structural engineering and the basic concepts of designing a safe structure. CoE graduate student Navya Vishnu was one of the key organizers from Padgett's group. She, along with other grad students facilitated a design challenge: built a bridge with K-Nex that would span 2 feet and carry as much load as possible. The goal was to stimulate their interest in engineering though a fun activity.

Congratulations to Colorado State University's Lori Peek! Children of Katrina was named the 2016 winner of the Outstanding Scholarly Contribution Award from the American Sociological Association Section on Children and Youth! This bi-annual honor is given to a book published in the preceding two years that has had a major scholarly impact on the sociological study of children and youth. Children of Katrina, co-authored by Alice Fothergill (Department of Sociology, University of Vermont) and Lori Peek (Department of Sociology, Colorado State University) offers an in-depth examination of how children experienced and coped with the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina. For nearly ten years, Fothergill and Peek followed a core group of children and documented their recovery trajectories.

Peek discussed the book, on Colorado Public Radio, Colorado Matters. You can listen to the interview here.

CoE PhD candidate from Colorado State University Jennifer Tobin-Gurley has been interviewing professionals throughout the St. Vrain Valley School District as part of her dissertation titled, "Educational Continuity Following the 2013 Colorado Floods: A Case Study of Lyons Elementary and Middle/Senior High Schools." This summer she will continue conducting qualitative interviews and focus groups with school leadership, teachers, counselors, and parents from the Lyons schools. The purpose of this dissertation is to document the organizational decision-making and displacement process of two schools following the 2013 Colorado Floods with the goal of improving school disaster preparedness policy and practice in the future.

This past January, 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.

Recently Published:

Fletcher, Sarah, Robin S. Cox, Leila Scannell, Cheryl Heykoop, Jennifer Tobin-Gurley (CSU), and Lori Peek (CSU). 2016. "Youth Creating Disaster Recovery and Resilience: A Multi-Site Arts-Based Youth Engagement Project." Children, Youth, and Environments 26(1):148-163.

Stephanie Pilkington (CSU) and Hussam Mahmoud (CSU). 2016. "Using artificial neural networks to forecast economic impact of multi-hazard hurricane-based events." Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure, doi=10.1080/23789689.2016.1179529

Peihui Lin, Naiyu Wang (OU) and Bruce R. Ellingwood (CSU) 2016. "A risk de-aggregation framework that relates community resilience goals to building performance objectives," Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure, DOI: 10.1080/23789689.2016.1178559

"Multi-hazard Approaches to Civil Infrastructure Engineering," was just published by Paolo Gardoni and James LaFave with Springer and includes chapter contributions from a number of Center personnel, including Paolo Gardoni, Hussam Mahmoud, Terri McAllister, Jamie Padgett, Lori Peek, Vipin Unnikrishnan and John van de Lindt.