Infrastructure Resilience to Navigate Increasingly Uncertain and Complex Conditions in the Anthropocene

Published in: npj Urban Sustainability, Volume 1, Article number 4 (2021). doi: 10.1038/s42949-021-00016-y

Posted on RAND.org on March 04, 2021

by Mikhail Chester, B. Shane Underwood, Braden R. Allenby, Margaret Garcia, Constantine Samaras, Samuel A. Markolf, Kelly Sanders, Benjamin Lee Preston, Thaddeus R. Miller

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Infrastructure are at the center of three trends: accelerating human activities, increasing uncertainty in social, technological, and climatological factors, and increasing complexity of the systems themselves and environments in which they operate. Resilience theory can help infrastructure managers navigate increasing complexity. Engineering framings of resilience will need to evolve beyond robustness to consider adaptation and transformation, and the ability to handle surprise. Agility and flexibility in both physical assets and governance will need to be emphasized, and sensemaking capabilities will need to be reoriented. Transforming infrastructure is necessary to ensuring that core systems keep pace with a changing world.

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