CRISP Type 2/Collaborative Research: Scalable Decision Model to Achieve Local and Regional Resilience of Interdependent Critical Infrastructure Systems and Communities.
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The US economy and social wellbeing depend on interdependent critical infrastructure systems (ICISs) such as transportation, energy, water, and food systems. These ICISs shape the countrys ability to meet community needs often successful, but not for all, and are susceptible to disruptions due to extreme natural events. This interplay between normal operation, chronic issues, and disaster-induced challenges is clearly evident when considering food security issues. Food access and affordability are persistent problems for more than 14 percent of Americans in normal times and are greatly exacerbated following disasters. Frameworks for understanding ICIS interdependencies, their interface with social and economic networks in response to natural hazards, and their roles in disaster recovery for vulnerable populations and food security are nascent. The food security of a community is a function of the pre-event vulnerabilities and the resilience of its food distribution network including the vulnerabilities of its infrastructural systems in isolation and their interdependencies. Furthermore, the demands posed by different hazards, the capacity of each physical network and system to respond to these demands, and the interactions between physical and social systems are highly uncertain. Accordingly, risk-informed approaches that can guide decision methods are crucial to characterize demand and impact on a community, to predict community response, and for designing community infrastructure systems that are resilient. Well-integrated decision methods that account for and integrate the performance of different ICISs in response to disasters have broad impacts. First, such methodologies will better frame questions on disaster mitigation and recovery, and will facilitate disaster planning activities and training for various disaster scenarios. Second, they will encourage policies that address chronic and acute food-security issues, balancing the mitigation of vulnerability with the promotion of resiliency. Finally, they will foster a shared language among social, behavioral, and economic (SBE) scientists, computational scientists, and engineers on the causes and characterization of hazards and risks and mitigation solutions. This project will engage a diverse set of students, including women and minorities, and in student-centered learning. It will integrate research and education throughout the project, and effectively disseminate the results. The methodologies developed will be integrated into courses such as Engineering Risk Analysis and Structural Reliability, Disaster Mitigation and Recovery and Planning Methods, and Risk and Regulation and into two NSF Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU) summer institutes which blend geography, computer science, health, planning and social science undergraduate students in food security, disparities, and health research projects. This research will develop a decision platform that integrates computational models of ICISs at different spatial and temporal scales. These computational models will focus on the food distribution networks and include analytics of the socioeconomic causes of vulnerability. The decision platform may be used to examine issues related to reducing the risks associated with extreme hazards while enhancing community resilience with respect to food security. The project brings together three distinct disciplines: Engineering, SBE sciences, and Computer/Computational Sciences. Achieving project goals requires a deep collaboration between these three broad disciplines. Engineering is needed to understand and model the physical components of each sector and their interdependencies. SBE sciences are essential to understand and model food distribution from wholesale to households with a focus on vulnerable populations. Computer and Computational Science are needed to develop comprehensive models representing communities and their infrastructure and are the basis for assessing policy and organizational interventions that lead to greater robustness and resilience. The interdisciplinary nature of this research will also forge new channels of communication through models that integrate social and physical aspects of risk and vulnerability.