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Building Resilient Cities: Innovative Techniques and Systems Unveiled in Auckland

On Friday, 16 June 2023, an Auckland-based seminar brought together close to 80 participants from various fields, including engineering, local authorities, and academics. The seminar aimed to showcase new techniques and systems designed to minimise the damage caused by earthquakes and floods.

The event, titled “New Techniques for Earthquake and Flood Disaster Prevention,” aimed to promote the application of advanced technologies developed by the National Centre for Research on Earthquake Engineering (NCREE), Taiwan.

These technological advances include:

  1. All- steel sandwiched buckling-restrained brace (SBRB): This engineering technique enhances the seismic resilience of buildings, applied to several high-rise buildings in Taiwan.
  2. AI-based earthquake early warning system: The system detects seismic P-waves, allowing communities to receive alerts and take necessary actions before the more damaging S-waves arrive.
  3. Structural monitoring of at-risk buildings and structures: The health monitoring system uses sensors placed on buildings and ground motion data to assess structural damage.
  4. The 5D Smart City platform: This platform facilitates earthquake and flood disaster prevention and emergency planning by enabling cities to connect, visualize, and manage data related to infrastructure, security, and the environment.

During a recent Chihshang earthquake in eastern Taiwan in September 2022 with a magnitude of 6.8 on the Richter scale, a 9-metre high, 3-story full-scale building equipped with all-steel sandwiched buckling-restrained braces demonstrated its effectiveness by withstanding shaking up to 1.05g.

The NCREE’s earthquake early warning system detects seismic activity and raises alerts when it reaches a dangerous threshold, giving communities the opportunity to evacuate or take necessary precautions.

Currently, three sets of early earthquake warning systems have been donated to various organisations in New Zealand, enabling them to predict seismic activity and provide adequate warnings to minimise the impact on communities.

Representatives at the seminar also discussed the health monitoring system used by the NCREE to assess structural damage immediately following an earthquake, utilising on-site sensors and ground motion data.

Lastly, the 5D Smart City platform is a tool designed to help cities connect, visualize, and manage data across various domains, such as infrastructure, security, and the environment. This platform enables authorities to make data-driven decisions and predict real-time outcomes.

For example, in the case of flooding, the 5D Smart City platform can evaluate forecasted rainfall and assess risks to flood-prone areas, allowing for the implementation of flood control strategies to prevent urban flooding.

The Auckland seminar showcased these innovative techniques and technologies, highlighting New Zealand’s commitment to disaster prevention. These advancements enhance building resilience, enable timely response and damage assessment, and empower data-driven decisions for effective flood control. They hold tremendous potential in safeguarding communities from the impact of seismic activity and flooding.

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