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Courses Offered


Spring 2010 Quick List


Spring 2010 Course Descriptions

RESIN classes employ a methodology that is at both a teaching and a research device.  We do so using a “Studio Approach” borrowed from Architecture. Studios are akin to seminars. They integrate cross-disciplinary ideas while requiring students to develop integrative themes.  Studios are conducted in the different departments in which Center for Catastrophic Risk Management (CCRM) are based: Public Policy, Law, Engineering, Environmental Design, and Business Administration.  Field work participants will join students in the “studios” to discuss existing data, new data to be collected, interpretation, and new approaches.

RESIN Graduate Studios

The following three graduate student GIS based studio courses represent initial RESIN offerings:


Studio Course #1 Geographic Information Modeling in Support of Catastrophic Risk Management for Critical Infrastructures in the Sacramento Delta (CP290G / LA254)

Complex interdependent infrastructure systems dominate our metropolitan regions and are at great risk of failure during a catastrophic event such as those caused by natural or human induced disasters.   If we model and understand our environmental risk we should be able to predict failure to infrastructure and mitigate or at the very least reduce risk.  The spatial dimensions of these complex systems are themselves complex and increasingly challenged by spatial heterogeneity both within and between their human and natural components. Geographic Information System (GIS) technology provides an analytical environment that can transcend disparate disciplines, help detect, measure, model, and analyze spatial patterns, processes and relationships; and explore the causes and effects of identified patterns.

This course provides a base for students to (1) become familiar with the literature on disasters and disaster management planning; (2) formulate an understanding of environmental risk that occurs from a mix of the natural and human built environment; (3) develop skills in research and application; and 4) develop skills in design, construction, analysis, modeling within a GIS environment.

This course consists of three hours of lecture/discussion per week. Prerequisites: One semester of introduction to GIS, one course in methods, or consent of instructor.


1. Designing and building a GIS to support measurement of infrastructure risk;
2. Conceptualizing hazards, disasters, and risk;
3. Understanding disaster impacts; disasters, development, and sustainability;
4. Understanding vulnerability and resilience; risk perception; risk assessment; role of government; mitigation and preparedness planning; disaster response and recovery; and disaster resilience;
5. Employing GIS as a framework for environmental modeling of: vulnerability and resilience, resilient and sustainable manmade and ecological environments.


Studio Course #2 Workshop on Development of the Environment (274.12 sec. 1)

The intersection of environmental, land use and natural resource law, on one hand, and the real world of real estate development, on the other, is filled with complexities and trade-offs. The answers to many legal questions raised by some development projects are not easily discerned from the law. Furthermore, large-scale development projects almost always have measurable negative impacts on the environment, while at the same time often improving the lives of some people. As a result, the social and economic utility of projects is often difficult to determine. Lawyers inevitably find themselves in the middle of these conflicts.

In past years, the Workshop students have focused on major public works project. Last year the Workshop students focused on the environmental and land use implications of the proposal to build a modern art museum in the heart of the San Francisco Presidio. The focus of the Spring Workshop will be the myriad of issues surrounding the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Water is the biggest issue confronting California, and the Delta is the lynchpin.

There are as many points of view and opinions about what needs to happen in the Delta. Each week the class will be visited by a someone with an informed perspective. The students will interview our guests. In a separate fifty-minute session each week, the class will discuss the information gleaned from the interviews and from outside research. The final project will consist of individual or small group “White Papers,” which will be made available to the media and to policymakers. A concerted effort will be made to make the class attractive to graduate students in engineering and other departments.

Project Description: The workshop will cover the following general topics regarding the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta: water scarcity in California; environmental and natural resource issues; the role of GIS mapping; legal and political issues; engineering solutions; and urban planning issues.
The students will come from the Law School and the graduate programs in the Engineering, Urban Planning, Environmental Science Policy Management, Business and Geography Departments, as well as the Energy and Resources Group.

Class projects including drawing upon student specialties to collectively prepare an amicus brief to be filed in San Luis & Delta Mendota Water Authority, et al. v. Salazar (Case No. 1:09‐CX‐00407), pending before The Honorable Oliver Wanger of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California. One of the paramount issues is whether the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service violated NEPA in failing to conduct an environmental review before establishing pumping restrictions for the protection of delta smelt. The Workshop will feature a guest speaker each Monday who will present their perspectives on the topic. On Wednesdays, the class will engage in discussions on the issues raised by speakers and fellow students. The Workshop will meet from 5:20 to 7:00 pm in Boalt 145 and Boalt 170.

Studio Course #3 Civil and Environmental Engineering:

This studio will integrate information from the other two studios to develop new techniques in risk assessment and management.  We will use GIS technology to overlay, model and compare hazard assessments and plans for coping with the future Delta environment as developed in Studio #1 and from documents and studies identified in Studio #2. From such models we can determine those geographic areas in which there is substantive public agreement for future development, and those areas in which future development visions are in conflict. As part of the engineering studio we will examine resiliency and risk measures which are informed by all the information developed in previous studios.  We will use Delphi and other group-assessment techniques and apply various alternative CIS plans proposed by the studio teams.  From the engineering studio, we may also propose new GIS technologies for managing the CIS for the future Delta environment.  We might propose methods of monitoring systems to tracking environmental changes such as ground water levels.  We might propose early-warning systems and real-time information systems for managers and affected populations during extreme events.


Selected Civil Engineering Classes

The following courses are offered through the Department of Civil Engineering and are taught by RESIN Principal Investigator Professor Bob Bea. Further details are offered at:


CE 268K: Human and Organizational Factors: Quality and Reliability of Engineered Systems

The objective of this course is to teach engineers how to develop comprehensive strategies and measures to assess and manage human and organizational factors in the life-cycle of engineered systems including proactive, reactive, and interactive strategies. Three methods are employed with each of these three strategies: reduce the likelihoods of human and organizational ‘errors,’ increase the likelihoods of detecting and remedying such errors, and reduce the effects of errors – design of damage and defect tolerant systems.

Complete Course Information >


CE 180: Design, Construction, Maintenance of Civil and Environmental Engineered Systems

The primary objective of this course are to teach students how to use and integrate the results of their education to design and reassess engineered systems considering their construction, inspection, maintenance, repair, rehabilitation, operation, and decommissioning. This course is designed for upper division and graduate civil and environmental engineering students. Teamwork and communication skills are emphasized.

Complete Course Information >

Download Syllabus for Fall 2010 >


CE 205B: Margins of Quality for Engineered Systems

This course aims to provide students with the knowledge and skills to define and evaluate imposed and induced loadings to be used in design and requalification of Civil & Environmental Engineering structure and foundation systems including buildings, bridges, tunnels, transportation systems, harbor, coastal and ocean structure systems. The loadings include those that have operating and environmental sources. The environmental loadings to be addressed during the course include those due to wind, water waves and currents, and earthquakes.

Complete Course Information >



NFS logo round This project is funded by the National Science Foundation, Grant # EFRI-0836047. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.




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