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  • Writer's pictureMark Reiner, PhD, PE

Dependency model: reliable infrastructure and the resilient, sustainable, and livable city

Updated: Jul 10, 2019

There are interwoven relationships between a city’s physical infrastructure and the

dependence on its reliable functioning by societal systems. Physical failure of our infrastructure tests the vulnerabilities of the social, cultural, and economic systems that comprise a city. Numerous frameworks offer guidance for addressing how cities can be more resilient, sustainable, and/or livable.

Without recognizing the dependency of all systems on a properly functioning built environment, these frameworks only provide partial solutions. For example, if a system was not reliable under normal operating conditions, what is the point of recovering? This paper reviews three sustainability and resiliency frameworks for the extent to which they address reliable infrastructure. The Envision rating system focuses on the sustainability of infrastructure projects. The STAR Community rating system and Rockefeller Foundation’s City Resilience Framework address broader community systems through the lens of sustainability and resiliency, respectively. A City Dependency Model is proposed to better define how our infrastructure systems relate to broader resiliency and sustainability goals.

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