safe, resilient communities

Resilience — the ability of structures to withstand extreme events such as fire, earthquakes and violent weather and of communities to function in the face of these events — is a central aspect of sustainability. Now, climate change is adding a whole new dimension to that definition. 

Society needs to function without interruption. We all require that roads, infrastructure, and buildings perform as intended. Yet, we can’t keep crisis from happening. We are vulnerable, whether we’re talking about large-scale disasters (be they from extreme weather events or human conflict) or personal disasters (like a fire).

While sustainability often focuses on restoring balance and managing growth, disaster mitigation is central to a sustainable future.

Concrete is resilient in the harshest of conditions. It is resistant to fire, wind, water, vibrations, and earthquakes. It provides superior resistance to damage and an unsurpassed combination of structural strength and wind resistance. It allows us to get through disasters with less loss and less waste, keeping people safer longer and making it easier for communities to recover more quickly.

Concrete’s thermal mass improves a building's “passive survivability” —  its ability to maintain critical life-support conditions if services such as power, heating fuel, or water are lost —  increasing comfort for occupants and minimizing peak energy demands to the city as a whole.

And while researchers are beginning to study how changes in our climate (flooding, melting permafrost, etc.) impact pavements so that we can design more resilient roads, we already know that the rigidity of concrete pavement make it more resilient to harsh conditions than asphalt. On a day-to-day basis, concrete’s durability, resilience and lower maintenance requirements help reduce routine road construction and maintenance activities, saving our communities money and minimizing traffic disruptions and hazards for us all. 

 

 

the centre street bridge during the 2013 flood in calgary, alberta

Alberta experienced their worst-ever flood in June 2013 after an intense rainfall that displaced over 100,000 people and left 4 dead. In the aftermath of the flood, concrete structures were proven to be the most resilient.

 

 

WIScONSIN home after tornado

A concrete home stands alone in its neighbourhood following a tornado in Wisconsin, a prime example of the resistance of concrete structures to the forces of the elements.

 

 

concrete home after hurricane katrina

Pass Christian, MS, after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The high water mark is 28 feet up the side of the structure. 


 

CONCRETE BUILDING IN OTSUCHI, JAPAN FOLLOWING THE 2011 TSUNAMI

A shipwrecked ferry rests atop a concrete building in the aftermath of the devastating Tohoku Tsunami of March 2011.