Last September 16, 2017 I spoke on the topic of “Reducing the Misery by Accelerating Recovery” at a workshop titled “The Role of Advanced Technologies in Structural Engineering for More Resilient Communities.” The workshop was hosted by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Resilient America Roundtable of which I am a member, and the Board on Infrastructure and the Constructed Environment in collaboration with the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) SEI Advances in Information Technology Committee
Fortunately, the National Academies posted a video of the presentation. It’s just 10 minutes long, but spells out some key messages about how essential it is that we include recovery when we design and repair buildings and infrastructure in our cities. For too long we’ve been focusing on resisting events up to a certain magnitude (1 percent chance flood) with little to no consideration of what happens to the victims and survivors after an event exceeds that threshold.
I argue that we have externalized the cost of recovery to the victims and the survivors, and they are the least prepared to deal with it. We already know that 40 percent of small businesses fail after a large event and too many families find themselves tapping their savings and lines of credit to the breaking point to dig their way back out of the impacts. Even if insurance and government assistance is offered, it never covers all the loss and suffering.
Take a look!