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Last update: 2/26/08

[University of Wisconsin-Green Bay News Release]

For Immediate Release:

February 26, 2008

UW-Green Bay member shares NSF grant to study
earthquake protection

GREEN BAY-Lucy Arendt, assistant professor of Business Administration at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, is part of a seven-member international team of structural engineers and social scientists awarded a four-year, $1.55 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to explore the use of strategies to protect buildings and their contents in earthquakes.

Arendt is the lead person charged with finding out what issues impact architecture and design firms, building developers, and owners in deciding whether to use construction technologies that help buildings withstand earthquake tremors. The technologies create a buffer or shock absorber between the building and the ground so that in response to the earthquake's energy, the building flexes as a unit and returns to its original position rather than "shaking apart."

Arendt developed expertise through previous studies of the decision-making processes used by building owners and managers in natural disaster prone areas. She has evaluated decision making used by hospitals in California, Oregon, Washington, Mississippi and Louisiana, and she did field research on decision making by New Orleans hospital executives in response to Hurricane Katrina. Support for those projects came from the NSF and the Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York.

The new NSF grant is shared by researchers at the University of Utah; the University of California, Berkeley; the University at Buffalo; the Tokyo Institute of Technology; and the Architectural Resources Group, San Francisco. Arendt's portion of the grant is administered through the Center for Organizational Studies at UW-Green Bay.

Arendt says her role is to develop information that will assist building owners in making decisions that will help them protect buildings and their contents so that the buildings can be put back into use as soon as possible after a natural disaster.

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08-44 | Contact: Virginia Dell, (920) 465-2144

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