Mimicking nature for resilient resource and infrastructure network design. Academic Article uri icon


  • Increasingly prevalent extreme weather events have caused resilience to become an essential sustainable development component for resource and infrastructure networks. Existing resilience metrics require detailed knowledge of the system and potential disruptions, which is not available in the early design stage. The lack of quantitative tools to guide the early stages of design for resilience, forces engineers to rely on heuristics (use physical redundancy, localized capacity, etc.). This research asserts that the required quantitative guidelines can be developed using the architecting principles of biological ecosystems, which maintain a unique balance between pathway redundancy and efficiency, enabling them to be both productive under normal circumstances and survive disruptions. Ecologists quantify this network characteristic using the ecological fitness function. This paper presents the required reformulation required to enable the use of this metric in the design and analysis of resource and infrastructure networks with multiple distinct, but interdependent, interactions. The proposed framework is validated by comparing the resilience characteristics of two notional supply chain designs: one designed for minimum shipping cost and the other designed using the proposed bio-inspired framework. The results support using the proposed bio-inspired framework to guide designers in creating resilient and sustainable resource and infrastructure networks.

published proceedings

  • Reliab Eng Syst Saf

altmetric score

  • 1.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Chatterjee, A., & Layton, A.

citation count

  • 16

complete list of authors

  • Chatterjee, Abheek||Layton, Astrid

publication date

  • January 2020