Community Resilience: The Role of the Built Environment
Therese P. McAllister
Buildings and infrastructure systems play a key role in communities by supporting social needs and institutions, including housing, business, government, industry, and other vital services. The concept of community resilience addresses the way that communities prepare for and recover from disruptive events. The NIST program focuses on the role that buildings and infrastructure systems play in developing community disaster resilience. Needs of citizens and institutions in a community, including public safety, define the performance requirements for buildings and infrastructure systems. However, current practice does not adequately address interdependencies between buildings and infrastructure systems or the role they play in recovery following a hazard event. Recent examples of how the built environment performs during hazard events, such as Hurricane Katrina or Superstorm Sandy, are used to illustrate the uneven performance and interdependence of infrastructure systems, as well as cascading events, that dramatically affect recovery of the community. To address these deficiencies, NIST has established a research program to improve guidance, standards, and tools that supports community resilience planning. The research plan starts with the development of guidance documents, with stakeholder input across multiple disciplines, to identify best practices for achieving community resilience as well as research needs. The longer term research includes development of performance goals and metrics for buildings and infrastructure systems, development of modeling tools at a community systems level, and a scientific foundation for developing improved standards, codes, guidelines, and tools to enhance community resilience.
International Conference on Multi-hazard Approaches to Civil Infrastructure Engineering (ICMAE)