Environment Systems and Decisions

, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 252–263 | Cite as

Towards disaster-resilient cities: an approach for setting priorities in infrastructure mitigation efforts

  • Timothy L. McDanielsEmail author
  • Stephanie E. Chang
  • David Hawkins
  • Gerard Chew
  • Holly Longstaff


Making cities more disaster resilient is an important goal for civil society. We develop and apply a method to elicit ranked preferences to set priorities among alternatives for a small set of selected contexts for improving regional infrastructure resilience. Our approach is based on preference judgments from representatives of infrastructure systems and civil society, in which we characterize the key steps in framing how to select, characterize, and evaluate alternatives in a given decision context. We then provide an approach to ranking alternatives for a given potential infrastructure failure interaction risk, relying on an expert panel approach. We discuss the evaluation of this approach by the participants and views of its advantages and disadvantages. We also offer some caveats and suggestions for future applications. Key findings include understanding of what is needed to set responsible priorities for regional infrastructure resilience, and the specific findings, for the region of interest, include priorities for enhancing fuel supply, water supply, and road mobility.


Infrastructure systems Resilience Infrastructure failure interdependencies Mitigation priority setting Risk ranking Expert elicitation Preference ranking 



We deeply thank the interview and workshop participants for their time and participation in this study. Research assistants Andrea Procyk and Courtney Beaubien also contributed to this project. This research was supported by Infrastructure Canada through the Knowledge, Outreach, and Awareness Program, and the National Science Foundation under grant number CMS-0332002. The efforts of Tim McDaniels in preparing the paper were supported by the Climate and Energy Decision-Making Center (CEDM) located in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy, through a cooperative agreement between the National Science Foundation (SES-0949710) and Carnegie Mellon University. The CEDM in turn supports researchers in the Institute for Resources, Environment, and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Timothy L. McDaniels
    • 1
    Email author
  • Stephanie E. Chang
    • 1
  • David Hawkins
    • 1
  • Gerard Chew
    • 1
  • Holly Longstaff
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Community and Regional Planning (SCARP), and Institute of Resources, Environment and Sustainability (IRES)University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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