Professor Robert Bea, Principal Investigator
Welcome to RESIN
Since September 8, 1965, the clock has been ticking. On this date Hurricane Betsy overwhelmed the flood defenses for portions of the greater New Orleans area. My young family lost their home in Pines Village and all of their belongings as a result of this event. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, I was forced to ask myself the following questions: Why did this happen again? Was this event predictable and its consequences preventable? The surge hazards had been pointed out for years and the early warnings of potential weaknesses in the flood defense system were identified in the exercise dubbed Hurricane Pam. What had not been identified then is how important relationships among organizations, society, economy and technologies are to understanding and managing the risks of critical infrastructure. It is obvious that we cannot continue with the same risk management framework we have used in the past. We must learn how to do better.
Critical infrastructures enable the flow of products and services essential to the welfare, defense and economic security of the United States; they in fact enable the smooth functioning of governments and society as a whole (NSF 2009). As evidenced by Hurricane Katrina, they are vulnerable to natural disasters, anthropogenic disruptions and malfunctions. Moreover, many of these systems rely on unsustainable rates of resource consumption, ecological impact and stakeholder dissatisfaction. We must learn to better prepare and plan for infrastructure related emergencies, strategically invest limited resources, and thereby enhance our response and recovery capabilities.
The Resilient and Sustainable Infrastructure Networks project (RESIN) at the University of California, Berkeley was launched in 2008 with a mandate to create, validate, and apply new Risk Assessment and Management (RAM) based approaches to facilitate a better evaluation and management of resilience and sustainability in interdependent, interconnected, interactive critical infrastructure systems (I3CIS). These objectives will be accomplished not only with the traditional strengths of engineering, but will also incorporate and integrate complementary ideas from the social, political, and legal sciences.
I invite you to learn more about RESIN activities and programs.
-Robert G. Bea