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Improving Resilience of Urban Societies through Advanced Technologies

Periodic Report Summary 1 - IRUSAT (Improving Resilience of Urban Societies through Advanced Technologies)


1.1 Project objectives
The project IRUSAT has presented Resilience-Based Design methodologies for building and infrastructures. Several applications of cost effective methodologies to mitigate risks from various hazards (prevention, crisis management and recovering) and new retrofit strategies for improving resilience of infrastructures are presented. The current proposal have taken advantage of the collaboration with the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center (PEER) which is located in the University of California at Berkeley. Thank to their expertise it has been investigated how to improve resilience of buildings using advance technologies such as base isolation. Furthermore also new IT technologies such as smart phones has been used to improve the emergency response and the damage field reconnaissance after earthquakes.

The project has not been completed because of the overlap with another project called IDEal reSCUE— Integrated DEsign and control of Sustainable CommUnities during Emergencies, ERC-StG-2014 Starting Grant, sponsored by the European Research Council, 2015-2019. The researcher could not keep the full time status so he needed to terminate early the Marie Curie fellowship.

1.2 Description of the work performed
The following main results of the project have been accomplished:
• Definition of the Resilience framework and its dimensions by taking also into account the effect of infrastructure interdependencies at both structural and regional level;
• Quantification of the economic dimension of resilience and its interdependency with the infrastructure systems of a given community dimension;
• Development of app for smart devices running on both Android and IOS (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/edam-earthquakes-damage-assessments/id904075056?mt=8) which is able to collect and transfer damage data for structures right after extreme event such as earthquakes. • Development of several case studies at different scales related to different types of lifelines (water distribution network, hospital network, etc.);

• Development of a software for ground motion selection and processing called OPENSIGNAL which is able to select different type of earthquake records from different worldwide databases such as PEER, ESMD and ITACA. The software is freely downloadable at the following link (http://areeweb.polito.it/ricerca/ICRED/Software/OpenSignal.php).

Finally, all the planned objectives for the project have been accomplished through the collaboration with the University of California at Berkeley, which contributed significantly with knowledge and expertise in realizing few of the goals of the project.

1.3 Potential socio-economic impact of the project

According to the World Bank, since 1990 disasters have killed 58,000 people on average each year and affected another 225 million people worldwide. Disasters are caused by exposure to natural or manmade events and a population’s vulnerability when exposed to the event. Natural hazards become a disaster when a population does not have access to emergency services and other means with which to cope with the hazard. Therefore it is vitally important for Member States to enhance their research and development capacity in the area of disaster prevention and management. Urban societies depend heavily on the proper functioning of infrastructure systems such as electric power, potable water, and transportation networks. Normally invisible, this reliance becomes painfully evident when infrastructure systems fail during disasters.

The research topic of the proposal will contribute to the development of new integrated cost effective methodologies to mitigate risks from various hazards and new retrofit strategies for improving resilience of infrastructures. The proposal fits with the EU framework program Horizon 2020, because it applies to the following research lines: (1) Clean, safe and efficient energy; (2) Smart transportation systems; (3) Safe and innovative society. Therefore results of this research are perfectly in line with the long term strategic plan of the European Commission. In detail, the proposed research will directly support both established and emerging practices in damage assessment of buildings, infrastructures and communities. The techniques developed will thus help to enable critical maintenance, repair and recovery decisions by the decision makers. Furthermore, these techniques will contribute to the reduction of the recovery time for new and existing structures through increased use of modelling and simulation. It is also noted that the proposed research will provide fundamental progress in modelling interdependencies of lifelines during extreme events. The modelling technique will be applied primarily to small regions which will be selected as test beds for possible future comparison with other methods, however it is expected that the proposed method will have a broader application.


The stakeholders on which the project will have an impact are the Emergency Authorities both National and European level, the research institutions working in post-disaster recovery and loss estimation.
At the international level, the project has developed a long-term collaboration and a mutually Beneficial cooperation:

• between Politecnico di Torino and the University of California Berkeley (USA) and PEER, The Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Institute;
• between Politecnico di Torino and University at Buffalo (SUNY, USA) and MCEER Center (USA);
• between Politecnico di Torino and University of British Columbia (UBC, Canada) represented by professor Stephanie Chang that is currently working in the School of Community and Regional Planning.

It also creates synergies at European level, intensifying the existing cooperation with:
•University of Newcastle (UK)
• ETH in Zurich;
• Denmark Technical University (DTU) in Denmark;
• National Technical University of Athens (NTUA);

Further details about the project can be found at http://staff.polito.it/gianpaolo.cimellaro/index.html
You can also contact Prof. Cimellaro at gianpaolo.cimellaro@polito.it .