Every four years, national and international experts gather to discuss the latest in earthquake science, engineering, and risk reduction at a National Conference on Earthquake Engineering. This year’s event—the 12th NCEE—was in Salt Lake City, Utah. Several technical sessions featured USRC, including two of our rated buildings in particular: The Oregon State Treasury Building, a USRC-Platinum base-isolation project recently featured in the New York Times, and Casa Adelante, a community-developed USRC Gold-Rated 100% affordable senior housing and non-profit office space in San Francisco’s Mission District. Both projects prove that resilient design is feasible, affordable, and especially worth it for buildings that serve important community resilience functions. Buildings that house vulnerable populations and facilitate essential public services like financial payment systems need to perform better than code to be quickly repairable and remain in use after major quakes. Executive Director Evan Reis presented on these and other rationales for resilient design in his talk on USRC’s E4 Principle: Engineering in service to the Environment, Equity, and Economy. Evan’s key points were that engineers and other design professionals are uniquely suited to bring science into the conversation around driving social, economic and environmental change through resilience. The USRC is itself at that nexus, successfully implementing the E4 Principle through its rating systems development, educational offerings, and advocacy. In particular, the USRC sponsored and shepherded a $250 million state grant program for seismic retrofit of soft story apartment buildings, signed into law by California Governor Newsom on June 30th.
Papers from the 12NCEE conference about the Oregon State Treasury Building, Casa Adelante, and E4 Principle are available by request for USRC Members, or from EERI directly for conference attendees.