In our major urban centers, buildings are constructed in clusters (the "city block"). However, the resulting physical interactions between densely spaced buildings are not captured in design practice, because buildings are assumed to respond to ground motions in isolation.
For performance-based earthquake engineering to advance within the overarching vision of earthquake rupture-to-urban resiliency, the structural engineering profession needs to understand and address these interactions.
This project focuses on documenting and understanding the seismic performance of soil-foundation-structure systems within dense urban environments. A high priority NEES research topic, soil-foundation-structure interaction effects in low to mid-rise buildings are poorly understood.
In order to study these effects a model city block consisting of six unique structure-foundation systems will be designed and tested. Using a series a centrifuge tests, to be performed at UC Davis, it will be possible to investigate the interacting relationships of nonlinear soil, nonlinear foundation and nonlinear structural responses of both isolated structures and eventually the entire city block. With the centrifuge data it will be possible to create a series of "case histories" detailing building performance for structures in a dense urban environment subjected to moderate and served ground shaking.
Given such a robust data set, we and other researchers will be able to use the experimental results to advance the profession's understanding of soil-foundation-structure interaction phenomena. With this greater understanding we will develop guidance for the design professional community and policy makers on soil-foundation-structure interaction effects on structural performance in dense urban environments.