Category Archives: Resilience

A MUST-READ: Hurricane Mitigation for the Built Environment

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If you live in a hurricane vulnerable region this book ‘Hurricane Mitigation for the Built Environment’ is a must-read. Get it NOW at 20% off the publisher’s price shipping and handling included! Read on for more information about this book and how to order it!

Over the past few days millions of people have been monitoring the progress of monster hurricane MATTHEW, which reached category 5 intensity for a few hours on 1 October,  worrying  about the damage and other adverse consequences that will be caused by the impact of this storm on buildings, houses, infrastructure and the beaches and local environment.  Residents of the Windward Islands, northern Venezuela and Colombia, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Central America, Belize, Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, Florida, Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Cuba, the Bahamas, and the USA Atlantic coastal regions beyond, have been and are worried about devastation and human suffering that will be wrought by MATTHEW’s passage.

Against the possibility of damaging impact from Hurricane Matthew or any other future hurricane, in this one of the most hurricane vulnerable regions anywhere, it would be fair to ask if you, as a homeowner, or building manager, or hospital administrator, or public official  sworn to guard the welfare of the people, or just as a resident or visitor to hurricane vulnerable communities, have confidence in how your building or house will perform under hurricane impact? Do you know what design criteria was used to build your building? Do you consider your building to be hurricane-resistant? Is your building protected against the impact of storm surge and breaking waves, in addition to wind?  How is sea-level rise affecting the structural integrity of your building?

Are you confident you have specific answers to these and many other similar questions regarding the performance of your building or house under expected impacts from hurricanes? Or how such expected impacts are being exacerbated by sea level rise and global warming?

Do you know what to do to improve the design of a new building or an existing one, to improve performance and reduce the potential for damage under expected hurricane impacts?

This book ‘Hurricane Mitigation for the Built Environment’  based on actual field work, years of experience assessing building damage caused by hurricanes, and practicing hurricane mitigation, by Ricardo A. Alvarez, will help you answer these questions and clearly understand the issues involved.

Following is a comment by someone who has read the book:

“I just finished reading Hurricane Mitigation for the Built Environment and realize I need to immediately run to our roof to see what shape it is in and how our equipment is anchored. Alvarez writes with such great clarity that the book is an easy read. I just ordered a second copy to share with our condominium’s board of directors and maintenance staff!”
—Bernard Horowitz, Ph.D., Co-Founder, V.I. Technologies, Inc.; Board Member, The Cleo Institute

Key features of the book include the following:

  • Focuses on the impact of hurricanes in coastal regions
  • Demonstrates the capabilities of reducing potential damages through hazard mitigation
  • Includes detailed figures, photos, and charts that give concrete examples of hazard mitigation and its purpose
  • Uses plain language to make technical issues easy to understand
  • Emphasizes the protection of life and property through the design and construction of hurricane- and climate-resistant buildings
  • Addresses long-term issues such as beach erosion and struggling tourism economies caused by hurricanes

You can now get this invaluable resource at 20% off the publisher’s price including shipping and handling. To order online please visit http://www.crcpress.com.  Use the search box on the upper right of the page and search for K25318. This will bring-up the book and you can put it in your shopping cart. Use the code LFO20 to get your 20% discount!

At the AIA 2015: A message of optimism!

A week ago (May 14-16,2015) I participated in AIA 2015, the American Institute of Architects annual convention, in Atlanta. What an excellent event it was!

The AIA 2015 was hosted at the state-of-the art Georgia World Congress Center, just a few blocks from downtown Atlanta.
The AIA 2015 was hosted at the state-of-the art Georgia World Congress Center, just a few blocks from downtown Atlanta.

I had the honor of contributing to AIA 2015 as a speaker, jointly with my colleague Rachel Minnery, FAIA, in delivering a seminar: Beyond Single Building Toward a Community and Regional Resilience Approach (TH302 – also offered online at AIAU) ). This is the second time I have been invited to contribute as a speaker to the AIA convention. My first time was for AIA 2010 in Miami Beach, Florida where I guided a tour and presented a paper: Characterization of Impact: A tool for designing for disaster.  [please click of the following link TECHNICALPAPERfor tour]

Anticipation and excitement mount as more than 7000 participants in AIA 2015 pack the main auditorium for the opening general session and keynote speaker Bill Clinton.
Anticipation and excitement mount as more than 7000 participants in AIA 2015 pack the main auditorium for the opening general session and keynote speaker Bill Clinton.

Let me say this, for an event organized by a 158-year-old institution this one really energized me. I came back with a sense that this venerable and aging organization is full of pep with a message of optimism, and ready to do well not only by its members but for the communities where they practice, in the U.S.A. and the world.

AIA 2014 President Elizabeth Chu Richter, FAIA welcomes participants to AIA 2015
AIA 2014 President Elizabeth Chu Richter, FAIA welcomes participants to AIA 2015
AIA 2015 VP and CEO Robert Ivy, FAIA reinforces the message of the AIA having a voice and making an impact!
AIA 2015 VP and CEO Robert Ivy, FAIA reinforces the message of the AIA having a voice and making an impact!

From the opening remarks by AIA President Elizabeth Chu Richter, FAIA, and AIA Executive VP and CEO Robert Ivy, FAIA, to the inspiring contributions by AIA medal awardees Moshe Sadfie, FAIA and Edward Mazria, FAIA,

AIA medal winner Edward Mazria, FAIA for his work to combat climate change through the design of energy efficient buildings
AIA medal winner Edward Mazria, FAIA for his work to combat climate change through the design of energy efficient buildings
AIA 2015 Gold Medal winner Moshe Sadfie, remember 'Habitat' in EXPO 67 in Montreal?
AIA 2015 Gold Medal winner Moshe Sadfie, remember ‘Habitat’ in EXPO 67 in Montreal?

we heard words stated with forceful conviction about ‘doing things for a purpose’, ‘making and impact, and ‘having a voice’. I really believe that this institution that has done so well by its members, is now decidedly poised to take its rightful place in the national discourse and have its voice,  the voice of its 86,000 members, heard and listened to with the objective of tackling critical challenges we face as a nation and as humankind, riding our spaceship Earth. From climate change, environmental degradation, energy, to sustainability and resilience, the AIA intends to make a significant contribution in the search for and implementation of effective solutions.

Keynote speaker President Bill Clinton addresses the audience with a message that highlighted the tremendous opportunity that presents itself to the AIA moving forward
Keynote speaker President Bill Clinton addresses the audience with a message that highlighted the tremendous opportunity that presents itself to the AIA moving forward

This message of optimism was well-framed within the context of current world problems and future challenges, and the exciting opportunity these represent for the AIA, by an equally optimistic contribution by keynote speaker President Bill Clinton, during an opening general session attended by more than 7000 participants.

This sense of optimism is reinforced not only by what I heard from the AIA leadership and the members, but perhaps even more so by what I heard from and saw on the faces of the rather large contingent of young, new generation, architects and design professionals participating in AIA 2015.   During Q&A and in conversations with several of these young professionals after the conclusion of my seminar, I got the sense that they ‘get it’, they understand or know what the critical challenges are and they want an AIA that rises-up and confronts them effectively and with purpose. They do want an AIA with a voice that is not only heard nationally or worldwide, but that is sought by decision-makers here at home and elsewhere.

The AIA must follow these words and expressions of intent with actions. These actions must be based on a clear statement of  objectives, a well-defined strategy, and a simple and effective plan to execute initiatives on several fronts.  I trust the institute will open itself to new fields of action, beyond its trusted education and outreach activities. An example of such critically needed new fields is applied research; what I mean by this is research in the pursuit of effective solutions toward the attainment of sustainable and resilient communities in regions that are highly vulnerable  and fully developed, where we do not have the luxury of a clean slate to consider utopian design approaches, but where we must confront the reality of extensive urban development, a prevalent way of life and a standard of living, as well as critical environmental considerations to protect and take into account. While the AIA has no track record, to my knowledge, of engaging in or sponsoring this kind of research, I submit the time to engage in  it is now as this will contribute a foundation of support to the objectives of ‘making and impact’ and of ‘having a voice’!

AIA, I am ready to engage and do my part.  Where and how do I sign up for it? Thank you for an excellent AIA 2015 Convention and for the new and inspiring sense of purpose you have offered your members and friends.