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Chris Rojahn, Laurie Johnson, Thomas O'Rourke, Veronica Cedillos, Therese P. McAllister


The concept of community resilience is a complex, multi-dimensional problem that relies on social science, engineering, earth sciences, economics, and other disciplines to improve the way communities prepare for, resist, respond to, and recover from disruptive events. Community resilience can break the cycle of destruction and recovery and can reduce the impacts of earthquakes and other hazards. This requires community planning for recovery of function and setting of restoration goals prior to the occurrence of disaster events. The NIST GCR 16-917-39 Report identifies important gaps between expected lifeline system performance and the performance required to adequately support societal needs during and after a hazard event. Gaps were identified through an evaluation of performance and societal impacts during past events, as well as the assessment of key guidelines, standards and performance criteria that govern and shape the design, construction, operation and management of lifeline systems. The report identifies and discusses the social institutions and societal needs that should drive lifeline system performance levels and timeframes for recovery of function. Critical interdependencies, recommendations and needs particular to policy, modeling, research, and future trends for social needs and lifeline systems are included in the report. This report supports larger efforts, such as the Community Resilience Program and National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) at NIST, intended to help communities and lifeline owners and operators achieve a more integrated and consistent approach to resilience. The findings from this report, summarized in this paper, are intended to inform resilience efforts in the United States and other countries.
Proceedings Title
16th World Conference on Earthquake, 16WCEE 2017
Conference Dates
January 9-13, 2017
Conference Location
Santiago, CL


Resilience, Lifelines, Social needs


Rojahn, C. , Johnson, L. , O'Rourke, T. , Cedillos, V. and McAllister, T. (2017), COMMUNITY RESILIENCE OF LIFELINE SYSTEMS: SOCIETAL NEEDS AND PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENT, 16th World Conference on Earthquake, 16WCEE 2017, Santiago, CL, [online], (Accessed June 13, 2024)


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Created January 12, 2017, Updated October 12, 2021