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Upcoming Seminar on May 16,2011: Building Disaster Resilient Communities

May 3, 2011

Chris D. Poland, SE
Chairman & Sr. Principal
Degenkolb Engineers

Chris Poland’s structural engineering career spans over 35 years and includes a wide variety of new design work, seismic analysis and strengthening of existing buildings, structural failure analysis, and historic preservation. As an internationally recognized authority on earthquake engineering, Mr. Poland routinely participates in policy-changing research projects sponsored by the NSF, USGS, NIST and FEMA. As a passionate advocate and voice for seismic safety, he actively participates in the academic, ethical and social advancement of his field and lectures often.

Chris currently presides as Chair of the congressionally mandated Advisory Committee on Earthquake Hazards Reduction for the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program. His latest interests involving advocacy for Resilient Cities lead to his involvement in the SPUR Resilient City Initiative as the chair of the Seismic Hazard Mitigation Taskforce. That work lead to his Co-Chair appointment to the San Francisco Lifelines Council. He chairs the ASCE Standards Committee on Seismic Rehabilitation, and led the effort needed to produce the ASCE 31 and ASCE 41 Standards.  He is a member of the Board of Directors for the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association. He is the 2006 recipient of the Alfred E. Alquist award from the California Earthquake Safety Foundation, and was recently elected to the National Academy of Engineering in recognition of his career long work in support of Performance Based Earthquake Engineering. Chris served on the Board of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) for 10 years in two separate roles, first as the Secretary and then as the President from 2001 to 2002.

Building Disaster Resilient Communities

Healthy cities continuously grow by driving economic development while protecting their cultural heritage. Success, in part, depends on a healthy built environment that is rooted in contemporary urban planning, sustainability, and disaster resilience. When disaster strikes, they have a plan, a place and the ability to govern. Their power, water, and communication networks begin operating within hours, and people can stay in their homes, travel to where they need to be, and resume a fairly normal living routine within weeks. The return to a “new” normal can then occur within a few years.

Chris Poland has been actively involved in the work of the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR) Resilient Cities Initiative that is working to define what San Francisco needs from its seismic mitigation policies so it can move in this direction. Their recently published papers define resiliency in a deterministic manner based on what the city needs from its buildings and lifelines to support response, recovery, and rebuilding post-disaster. Implementation activities have begun and their success will depend on new policies, community support, and solid, unified support from the science and engineering communities that support design. Mr. Poland will describe the Resilient City Initiative, its current status, and discuss the role of design professionals in achieving the needed outcomes.

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