Resilience as an emergent property of human-infrastructure dynamics: A multi-agent simulation model for characterizing regime shifts and tipping point behaviors in infrastructure systems. Academic Article uri icon


  • The objective of this study is to establish a framework for analyzing infrastructure dynamics affecting the long-term steady state, and hence resilience in civil infrastructure systems. To this end, a multi-agent simulation model was created to capture important phenomena affecting the dynamics of coupled human-infrastructure systems and model the long-term performance regimes of infrastructure. The proposed framework captures the following three factors that shape the dynamics of coupled human-infrastructure systems: (i) engineered physical infrastructure; (ii) human actors; and (iii) chronic and acute stressors. A complex system approach was adopted to examine the long-term resilience of infrastructure based on the understanding of performance regimes, as well as tipping points at which shifts in the performance regime of infrastructure occur under the impact of external stressors and/or change in internal dynamics. The application of the proposed framework is demonstrated in a case of urban water distribution infrastructure using the data from a numerical case study network. The developed multi-agent simulation model was then used in examining the system resilience over a 100-year horizon under stressors such as population change and funding constraints. The results identified the effects of internal dynamics and external stressors on the resilience landscape of infrastructure systems. Furthermore, the results also showed the capability of the framework in capturing and simulating the underlying mechanisms affecting human-infrastructure dynamics, as well as long-term regime shifts and tipping point behaviors. Therefore, the integrated framework proposed in this paper enables building complex system-based theories for a more advanced understanding of civil infrastructure resilience.

published proceedings

  • PLoS One

altmetric score

  • 1.6

author list (cited authors)

  • Rasoulkhani, K., & Mostafavi, A.

citation count

  • 40

complete list of authors

  • Rasoulkhani, Kambiz||Mostafavi, Ali

editor list (cited editors)

  • Linkov, I.

publication date

  • November 2018