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An Interdisciplinary Approach to Critical Infrastructure Resilience

January 28, 2016, 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Location Center for Environmental and Life Sciences - 120
Posted InCollege of Science and Mathematics
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Dr. Clark is an Assistant Research Professor of Sustainable Engineering at Arizona State University (ASU), where she works with an interdisciplinary research team studying the socio-technical resilience of critical infrastructure systems to climate change. She also works on developing new metrics for resilience, based on human capabilities and how those capabilities are impacted during and after a catastrophic event. Dr. Clark currently teaches an interdisciplinary graduate class on 'Resilient Systems' that provides a forum for graduate students in the social sciences, computer sciences, engineering, and sustainability to learn and discuss the emerging field of resilience. She also recently developed, and is now teaching, an online class called 'Sustainable World' (SOS110) that teaches the fundamental concepts of sustainability science, such as systems thinking, norms and values, anticipatory thinking, research methods, and interpersonal skills for collaboration. Dr. Clark also co-teaches InnovationSpace, a transdisciplinary education and research lab focused on teaching students how to develop products that create market value while serving real societal needs and minimizing impacts on the environment. 

The increasing frequency, scale, and damages from recent catastrophic events has called for a shift in focus from evading losses through risk analysis (e.g., threat assessment, vulnerability analysis, and rapid recovery) to improving threat preparation, planning, absorption, recovery, and adaptation through resilience. However, neither underlying theory nor analytic tools have kept pace with resilience rhetoric. As a consequence, current approaches to engineering resilience oZen conflate resilience with robustness or collapse into a deeper commitment to the risk analytic paradigm proven problematic in the first place. Less studied are the social processes that are required for designing, operating, and managing resilient infrastructure systems, which allow for disaster aversion through adaptive responses. To address this need, Dr. Clark’s research integrates social science analysis into resilience engineering frameworks for improving resilience to extreme weather and climate change. This presentation will discuss Dr. Clark’s current work related to the resilience of critical infrastructure systems, but will also discuss some of her previous research experiences that have motivated and enabled her to integrate social science approaches with engineering analytics to better inform critical infrastructure resilience.