June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.550.1 - 12.550.14
Disaster-Mitigating Design and Practice: A Student-Centered Program Developing Sustainable and Earthquake-Resistant Designs for Residential Structures in Developing Regions Abstract
Earthquakes frequently strike the neediest regions of the planet with devastating consequences for their inhabitants. Impacts of such disasters extend beyond the immediate casualties, which may reach several 10,000, including the destruction of residential and commercial property and infrastructure, which severely weakens the regional economy in the longer term. Simple residential dwellings from adobe, brick, or un-reinforced concrete blocks, which are the predominant structures in significant portions of the reviewed developing regions, are frequently damaged to structural failure and collapse by earthquakes, which may obliterate entire villages and their livelihood within minutes.
Designing such small residential structures to be more resistant to earthquake loads, followed by physical testing of scaled models and implementing the design concepts in an actual prototype are the objectives of the program development for a two-semester course sequence that is currently being undertaken by the authors. This program began when guest presentations by Peace Corps alumni and the founder of Engineers Without Borders caused the students and their faculty mentors to realize that the traditional course of study in civil engineering did not sufficiently prepare them for addressing engineering problems within a global context. Since then, an introductory course on sustainability has been added to the curriculum and the students have founded a student chapter that has begun to participate in organizing the outreach to a partner community in a developing region.
In a new course sequence on disaster-mitigating design and practice, the undergraduate civil engineering and architecture students are working together in entrepreneurially oriented teams. Faculty members and representatives from industry and from foreign aid organizations are collaborating in guiding the courses. The course activities address several accreditation outcomes, have been structured to expose students to all six levels of Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives, and accommodate different learning styles. Active student participation in the course, including setting intermediate objectives, performing, presenting, and critiquing their literature review, creative design work, and testing in the laboratory are essential to the coursework. The features of this student-centered learning environment are presented along with recommendations for implementing learning experiences that groom globally aware and socially engaged young engineers.
Background and Development
Several years ago two alumni of the university gave a guest presentation about their two years of Peace Corps work in Central America to improve the access to clean water for the particular community. More recently, the founder of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) presented his vision of “building a better World, one community at a time” through this organization of student and professional chapters that reach out to partner communities in developing regions and work
Lucko, G., & Tsopelas, P., & Garland, T., & Gonzalez, R., & Lee, T., & Molineaux, J. (2007, June), Disaster Mitigating Design And Practice: A Student Centered Program Developing Sustainable And Earthquake Resistant Designs For Residential Structures In Developing Regions Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2138
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