Grant helps develop computer and field study tools, best practices and guidance that help local governments lessen the impact of extreme weather and other community hazards
Two University of Oklahoma Gallogly College of Engineering faculty members will continue to participate as part of a multidisciplinary team from 13 universities on a $20 million renewal of a cooperative agreement awarded by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology.
The renewed cooperative agreement to Colorado State University continues the work of the Center for Risk-Based Community Resilience Planning to develop computer and field study tools, best practices and guidance that help local governments decide how to best invest resources intended to lessen the impact of extreme weather and other hazards on communities and to recover rapidly.
Associate Professor Charles Nicholson and Assistant Professor Andrés González, of the OU School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, provide a systems perspective as the only industrial engineers on the team, working collaboratively with social scientists, civil engineers and economists.
The first five years of the project, according to Nicholson, was to “build high-fidelity models of how the world works — how earthquakes, tornados and tsunamis affect a community — people, jobs, schools and hospitals, during these traumatic events.”
“The focus of the next five years,” Nicholson said, “will center on the decision support side of things, translating the modeling from conception to practical application. In particular, how can the actual community stakeholders — local businesses, government and residents — best plan and prepare for future events?”
Another significant result of the center’s efforts is IN-CORE — the Interdependent Networked Community Resilience Modeling Environment. Released in December 2019, this tool enables community resilience planners to model the physical and socio-economic systems of a community and assess the effectiveness of measures aimed at minimizing post-disaster disruption and recovery time.
NIST and the center are currently conducting a longitudinal field study on Lumberton, North Carolina, following Hurricanes Matthew and Florence. Integrated assessment of damage to homes, businesses, schools and the water system was initially conducted. The study is collecting data on recovery of the affected residents and systems in the community. This research has led to development of novel survey instruments that integrate physical, social and economic community impacts.
The center’s multidisciplinary team includes experts in engineering, economics, data and computing, and social sciences from the California Polytechnic University in Pomona, Georgia Tech, Stony Brook University, Oregon State University, Portland State University, Rice University, Texas A&M University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, the University of Kansas, the University of Oklahoma, the University of South Alabama, and the U.S. Naval Academy.