Measuring the sustainability of natural hazard resilient cities: developing a computational framework

Main Presenter:    Xavier Tanguay 

Co-Authors:   Ben Amor                                               

Resilience to natural hazards in the built environment is essential to ensure sustainable cities. Climate change is expected to modify expected resilience needs and require adapting current and future buildings. Yet, measuring the environmental impacts of adapting to a resilient built environment is challenging. It requires understanding the nature and the likelihood of natural hazards, how the structures respond, how they become damaged, and how to characterize what is lost from repairing insufficiently resilient structures. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is an ideal tool to derive environmental impacts from losses characterized in the form of repair and replacement activities triggered in the wake of natural hazards. However, current tools and frameworks measuring the environmental impacts of natural hazards in the built environment are either cumbersome or induce simplifications and constraints to the scope and implementation of such assessments. This study develops a new framework
relying on the software Brightway2 and pelicun to automate the translation of natural hazard related damages into an advanced LCA software. LCA results are converted to expected annual losses, enabling to factor in the likelihood of natural hazards of distinct magnitudes to realize themselves and to account for uncertainty across all stages of the assessment. The framework is implemented to a neighborhood case study exposed to a cyclonic hazard on the east coast of North America. Results from the case study demonstrate the framework’s efficiency in deriving hazard-related environmental impacts for numerous buildings. Results from this research will assist in identifying strategies that promote resilience while simultaneously striving for sustainable adaptation to climate change.

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