[EVENT CANCELLED!] Agents of change for resilient infrastructure – public lecture by Tom O’Rourke


Kia Ora Koutou,

We regret that in light of the current COVID-19 situation, we have taken the decision to cancel Professor Tom O’Rourke’s lecture tomorrow evening.

I would like to extend my thanks to Tom for his willingness to give a seminar to us here in New Zealand.

Once the situation has settled down, we will try to see if it is possible to re-organise this seminar and in that case we will re-advertise the talk.

Best wishes and thank you for your understanding,

Mark Stringer


The effects of hurricanes with respect to infrastructure resilience are reviewed with reference to Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. The effects of Hurricane Sandy on New York City and subsequent programs to improve the City’s infrastructure are described. Special attention is focused on the restoration of the L Line Tunnel, which was flooded by Hurricane Sandy. Professor O’Rourke will describe how a team from Cornell and Columbia Universities was assembled at the request of Governor Andrew Cuomo to help re-engineer a $1/2 billion project to rehabilitate the tunnel, and still keep the subway in service. The new approach integrates several advanced technologies, including distributed fiber optics and LiDAR, and makes a breakthrough in infrastructure restoration resulting from interdisciplinary work between civil and electrical engineers. He will also describe recent advances in earthquake resilience for the regional water supply for Southern California. The agents of change that lead to improved policies and approaches are explored, including the technical, institutional, and social challenges of introducing new technologies and engaging community support.


Tom O’Rourke is the Thomas R. Briggs Professor of Engineering in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Cornell University. He is a member of the US National Academy of Engineering, Distinguished Member of ASCE, International Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Member of the Mexican Academy of Engineering, and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He authored or co-authored over 400 technical publications, and has received numerous awards for his research. His research interests cover geotechnical engineering, earthquake engineering, underground construction technologies, engineering for large, geographically distributed systems, and geographic information technologies and database management.

Live Link Zoom: https://canterbury.zoom.us/j/347745268



We’re expecting to get pretty high numbers, so can you please book your seat through the Eventbrite page (link above).

Liquefaction-induced ground movements effects

The “Liquefaction-Induced Ground Movements Effects” workshop was held on the University of California, Berkeley campus at the Faculty Club, 2-4 November 2016. Fifty-five people participated in the workshop. Invited workshop participants included leading researchers in the area of soil liquefaction and its effects in the U.S., New Zealand, and Japan. The following New Zealand researchers participated and contributed to the workshop:

  • Misko Cubrinovski (NZ Workshop Co-Chairperson; Professor, University of Canterbury, Christchurch)
  • Brendon Bradley (Professor, University of Canterbury)
  • Gabriele Chiaro (Lecturer, University of Canterbury)
  • Jennifer Haskell (Senior Lecturer, University of Canterbury)
  • Mike Jacka (Senior Geotechnical Engineer, Tonkin+Taylor, Christchurch)
  • Rolando Orense (Associate Professor, University of Auckland)
  • Mark Stringer (Lecturer, University of Canterbury)
  • Sjoerd van Ballegooy (Technical Director, Tonkin+Taylor, Auckland)
  • Liam Wotherspoon (Senior Lecturer, University of Auckland, Auckland)

The workshop provided an opportunity to take advantage of focused research activities following the recent New Zealand and Japan earthquakes to develop a path forward for an integrated understanding of how infrastructure performs with various levels of liquefaction. The objective of the workshop was to identify research thrusts offering the greatest potential for advancing our capabilities for understanding, evaluating, and mitigating the effects of liquefaction-induced ground movements on structures and lifelines. The workshop also advanced the development of younger researchers by identifying promising research opportunities and approaches, and promoting future collaborations among participants.

Initially, the workshop report was to be organized similar to the workshop organization with chapters focused on each of the challenges that remain in understanding and assessing the effects of soil liquefaction (i.e., liquefaction-induced flow slides, liquefaction-induced lateral spreading effects, and liquefaction-induced settlement effects). However, the conduct of the workshop identified five cross-cutting research priorities that hold the greatest potential for advancing insights and procedures for evaluating the effects of liquefaction-induced ground deformations on structures and lifelines. The attached workshop report (PEER Report No. 2017/02) was therefore organized into five key chapters around these research priorities:

  • Chapter 2: Case history data
  • Chapter 3: Integrated site characterization
  • Chapter 4: Numerical analysis
  • Chapter 5: Challenging soils
  • Chapter 6: Effects and mitigation of liquefaction in the built environment and communities

The workshop presented a great opportunity to New Zealand researchers to contribute to the development of an important document and output that would significantly influence the research and engineering practice in the next decade or so. This workshop report will be of great value to both researchers and the profession at large in tackling the most important issues associated with soil liquefaction.