What is it about?

Key infrastructure or support systems, such as buildings and water pipes, are important for the normal functioning of society. People depend on these systems for their basic needs and survival. But damage to one system affects the services provided by others. For example, when there is a power failure, water pumps may not work, leading to a loss of essential water supply. Such a breakdown can stop communities from carrying out their daily activities. Using real life examples, the authors of this study assessed how social support systems, such as hospitals and gas stations, are connected to civil support systems, such as power lines and transport systems. In addition, they studied how the failure of one system due to natural disasters affects the complete network. They found that the performance of social support systems is dependent on that of civil support systems. Due to this, the failure of even one or two systems after a natural disaster makes it difficult for people to function normally. Finally, the authors provided ideas on designing stronger support systems. These included building additional systems to rely on when the main ones stop working. They also provided new risk management plans that can account for the interlinked nature of these systems.

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Why is it important?

Damage to support systems in the wake of natural disasters affects societies adversely. The real life examples studied by the authors can guide community leaders on how to better prepare for such events. This in turn, can help communities recover faster. Plus, the given risk management steps can help stop the collapse of interlinked systems in the future. They also contain useful tips on increasing a society’s resilience through sustainable approaches. KEY TAKEAWAY: Risk management plans should focus on the connected nature of support systems to prevent large scale disruption of community function in the event of a natural disaster. This research relates to the following Sustainable Development Goals: • SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure • SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities • SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Design of Interconnected Infrastructure Systems for Resilient and Sustainable Communities, January 2022, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), DOI: 10.1061/9780784483879.002.
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