Elizabeth Hausler

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Elizabeth Ann Hausler
Elizabeth Hausler Strand for World Economic Forum.jpg
Elizabeth Hausler Strand speaks on disaster proofing for the World Economic Forum in 2015
Alma materUniversity of California, Berkeley
University of Colorado Boulder
University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign
Scientific career
InstitutionsBuild Change
ThesisInfluence of ground improvement on settlement and liquefaction: A study based on field case history evidence and dynamic geotechnical centrifuge tests (2002)

Elizabeth Hausler is the founder and CEO of Build Change, a nonprofit that develops housing that can resist earthquakes.

Early life and education[edit]

Hausler grew up in Plano, Illinois. Her father worked in masonry construction.[1] As a child she enjoyed playing with Lincoln Logs.[2] She worked summer construction jobs with her father, who encouraged her to study engineering. She studied engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. She joined the University of Colorado Boulder for her Master's degree in environmental science, which she obtained in 1995.[3] After graduating, she moved the Chicago and Denver where she worked as a consultant at Dames & Moore.[1] She joined University of California, Berkeley and completed a PhD in civil engineering.[1] She was moved to use engineering to save lives after the September 11 attacks. She defended her thesis, Influence of ground improvement on settlement and liquefaction: A study based on field case history evidence and dynamic geotechnical centrifuge tests, in 2002.[4] It considered the 1964 Niigata earthquake, Great Hanshin earthquake and 1999 İzmit earthquake.[4] Later that year Hausler was awarded a Fulbright Program scholarship and moved to India, helping the community recover from an earthquake in Gujarat.[5] She spent time in iran after the 2003 Bam earthquake, and returned to India to evaluate how construction had adapted following the 1993 Latur earthquake and 1999 Chamoli earthquakes.[6] She observed difficulties with donor-driven reconstruction approaches.[2] She became concerned that the houses built after the international aid ends following a disaster are not resistant to further earthquakes.[7]


Hausler applied for an Echoing Green Fellowship in 2004 and founded Build Change. Build Change are a Denver-based initiative that look to build resilient homes for communities effected by disaster.[8] They complete a thorough examination of unsafe housing in a region then improve the original construction plans, empowering the local people to choose their own materials and layout and no destroying the original architecture.[9] Their first project was partnering with Mercy Corps to build homes that could resist disasters after the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami.[10] They have built over 50,000 houses, schools and other buildings in the Philippines, China, Haiti, Colombia, Guatemala and Nepal.[8][10][11] Through Build Change Haulser has trained 25,000 local engineers to build sustainable homes for people in high risk areas.[8] They help the communities in seismically active areas access incentives and subsidies for disaster-resistant development.[10][12] She also worked with the communities following the Aceh earthquake.

They helped with the response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake.[13] They partnered with Sogebank to obtain loans that allowed local engineers to strengthen buildings.[7] She was awarded a $100,000 Lemelson–MIT Prize in 2011 that allowed her to train more engineers, labourers and government officials.[2] She has written for and spoken at the World Economic Forum.[14] In 2017 Hausler was awarded a $1.25 million Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship.[8] Build Change has won several awards, including the Curry Stone Design Prize, Autodesk Impact Award, Open Identity Exchange.[15][16] She has discussed Build Change in the media and on podcasts, including the BBC, NPR and Elle magazine, as well as at the Aspen Ideas Festival.[17][18][19] She has delivered lectures on sustainable disaster-resistant materials and construction techniques in over 10 countries.[20]

Awards and honours[edit]

2018 University of California, Berkeley Campanile Excellence in Achievement Award[21]

2017 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship[8][22]

2014 Academy of Distinguished Alumni of University of California, Berkeley[23]

2013 Kappa Kappa Gamma[24]

2011 Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship Social Engineer of the Year[3]

2011 Lemelson–MIT Prize for Sustainability[2]

2009 Ashoka-Lemelson Fellow[1]

2008 The Tech Awards Laureate[25]

2006 Draper Richards Kaplan Fellow[26]

2006 ABC News World News Tonight “Person of the Week”[27]

2004 Echoing Green Fellowship[6]


  1. ^ a b c d "Elizabeth Hausler Strand". Ashoka | Everyone a Changemaker. Retrieved 2018-12-04.
  2. ^ a b c d "Elizabeth Hausler | Lemelson-MIT Program". lemelson.mit.edu. Retrieved 2018-12-04.
  3. ^ a b "Awardees". Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. Retrieved 2018-12-04.
  4. ^ a b Hausler, Elizabeth Ann (2002). "Influence of ground improvement on settlement and liquefaction: A study based on field case history evidence and dynamic geotechnical centrifuge tests". Ph.D. Thesis.
  5. ^ Schneider, Lee (2011-12-21). "Building Change One Brick at a Time in Haiti, China and Indonesia". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2018-12-04.
  6. ^ a b "Echoing Green Names Civil Engineer Among World's 'Best Emerging Social Entrepreneurs'" (PDF). www.buildchange.org. Retrieved 2018-12-04.
  7. ^ a b "About Build Change". Build Change. Retrieved 2018-12-04.
  8. ^ a b c d e Leyte, Ximena (2017-06-08). "Building change through changing buildings". Boulder Weekly. Retrieved 2018-12-04.
  9. ^ "Social entrepreneur and Build Change founder honored for earthquake-resistant housing innovation". MIT News. Retrieved 2018-12-04.
  10. ^ a b c "Skoll | Build Change". Retrieved 2018-12-04.
  11. ^ Contributor, ANA BLUE WING. "How A Social Entrepreneur -- And Builder -- Is Creating Safe Homes, One House At A Time". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-12-04.
  12. ^ "Dr. Elizabeth A. Hausler, Founder and CEO, Build Change | ASCE News". Retrieved 2018-12-04.
  13. ^ "Ashoka Fellow Elizabeth Hausler: Haiti Earthquake Response". Ashoka | Everyone a Changemaker. 2010-01-14. Retrieved 2018-12-04.
  14. ^ "Authors". World Economic Forum. Retrieved 2018-12-04.
  15. ^ "Build Change". Curry Stone Foundation. Retrieved 2018-12-04.
  16. ^ "OpenIDEO - How might urban slum communities become more resilient to the effects of climate change? - Building Resilience". challenges.openideo.com. Retrieved 2018-12-04.
  17. ^ "AshokaTECH Podcast with Elizabeth Hausler of Build Change | Lemelson Foundation". www.lemelson.org. Retrieved 2018-12-04.
  18. ^ "Build Change: Pioneering engineer works with communities to protect homes from disasters". Humanosphere. 2017-04-28. Retrieved 2018-12-04.
  19. ^ "Elizabeth Hausler". Aspen Ideas Festival. Retrieved 2018-12-04.
  20. ^ "National Engineers Week - College of Engineering | Montana State University". www.coe.montana.edu. Retrieved 2018-12-04.
  21. ^ "Campanile Excellence in Achievement Award – Past Recipients | Berkeley Awards". awards.berkeley.edu. Retrieved 2018-12-04.
  22. ^ Skoll.org, Elizabeth Hausler of Build Change, Acceptance speech for Skoll Award 2017 #SkollWF 2017, retrieved 2018-12-04
  23. ^ "Academy of Distinguished Alumni | Civil and Environmental Engineering". www.ce.berkeley.edu. Retrieved 2018-12-04.
  24. ^ "Six Women Show How It's Done". thekey.kappa.org. Retrieved 2018-12-04.
  25. ^ "Build Change Named Tech Laureate". archive.constantcontact.com. Retrieved 2018-12-04.
  26. ^ "Build Change | DRK Foundation | Supporting passionate, high impact social enterprises". Retrieved 2018-12-04.
  27. ^ News, A. B. C. (2006-03-13). "Person of the Week: Elizabeth Hausler". ABC News. Retrieved 2018-12-04.