Achieving urban resiliency through skyscraper refuge transformation

Seifu Bekele
Principal Engineer
Global Wind Technology Services, Melbourne

In 2018, the United Nations reported that 55% of the world’s population lives in urban areas with the projections increasing by 2050 to 68%. By 2030 the world will have 43 megacities of more than 10 million with several of them being exposed to different types of disasters ranging from flooding, hurricanes/monsoons and storm surge to snow and heat waves.

This presentation will focus on worldwide urban cores under various threats and transformative mechanisms existing and future skyscrapers can utilize, which will allow their current occupants to safely shelter in place while extending this safety and area of refuge to their surrounding community. Critical building systems such as power, ventilation, water supply, sanitation and vertical transportation as well as building programing will be discussed.

Although a general overview of the evolution of various standards along with types of hazards will be explored, a more in-depth analysis will take place for select cities in the North and South America as well as Asia and the Middle East, which have faced natural disasters and/or threats. The data suggest a divide in building system design across continents as well as approaches in building programing. Skyscrapers in certain cities (e.g. Hong Kong) seem to be in the forefront of best practices, while others (e.g. New York) are lagging. Similar is the case for the use of skyscrapers as refuge areas.

Accompanying PowerPoint Presentation

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