Resistance and resilience - paradigms for critical local infrastructure

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52 Citations (Scopus)


'Critical infrastructure' generally refers to significant pieces of plant and equipment, such as power stations and motorways. High population densities in cities, and the increasing interconnectedness of the services and supply chains that sustain them, mean local infrastructure is equally important. Local infrastructure must be able to cope with system shocks, whether from natural hazards, terrorism or catastrophic failures. Engineering design plays a major part in achieving this, but shocks will occur that overwhelm even the most conservative design. Local infrastructure must therefore be able to adapt to, and recover from, shocks: it must be resilient. Local infrastructure has evolved with little consideration for resilience of the interconnected system as a whole, whereas resilience has been the subject of much research in many other systems. This paper explores the lessons that local infrastructure can learn from such research by reviewing literature related to resilience of ecological, economic, physical infrastructure, community/social and government systems. A critical analysis highlights the factors affecting resilience and different approaches that need to be taken into account when attempting to model infrastructure at a local scale. The ultimate aim is to provide an evidence base on which to build resilience into various infrastructures and direct future local infrastructure resilience research in an age of austerity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-84
Number of pages12
JournalInstitution of Civil Engineers. Proceedings. Municipal Engineer
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012


  • Buildings, structures and design
  • Infrastructure planning
  • Sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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