September Eleventh, The Days After, The Days Ahead

by Anne Elizabeth Powell, Editor in Chief; Civil Engineering Magazine, ASCE World Headquarters, 1801 Alexander Bell Drive, Reston, VA.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 2001, Vol. 71, Issue 11, Pg. 36-49

Document Type: Feature article


Civil engineers assumed prominent roles in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and are leading the efforts to evaluate not only the performance of the structures involved in the two assaults but also the vulnerability of the nation's infrastructure to future attacks. Perhaps most important of all, they are helping to write the opening pages of a new chapter in American history. Civil engineers worked both disaster sites day and night since September 11�first to guage the stability of structures for rescue workers and then to evaluate the performance of structures during the disasters so that any lessons learned from the behavior of the structures can be used to advantage in future design and construction. Next they will consider the broader issue of the future of our infrastructure, addressing the vulnerability of this infrastructure to both natural and man-made disasters. While it is true that there is no ironclad way to protect the complex infrastructure of the United States against terrorist's attacks, there are certainly numerous ways to mitigate the effects of such attacks. And it is in this arena that civil engineers will help define America in the 21st century.

Subject Headings: Infrastructure vulnerability | Structural behavior | Structural stability | Terrorism | Night time construction | Man-made disasters | Labor

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