the need to make appropriate resilience investments to prepare and plan for hazards and risks. Presently, little guidance exists for communities to understand how to place meaningful value on all of their assets. Particularly during times of economic hardship, competing demand for many societally relevant resources (education, social services) can be a major barrier to making progress in building resilience in communities.

Accessing and understanding the historical spatial and temporal patterns of economic and human disaster losses in communities in the United States are ways for communities to understand the full extent of the impact of disasters and thereby motivate community efforts to increase resilience. Historical patterns of disaster losses provide some sense of the magnitude of the need to become more disaster resilient. The geographic patterns of disaster losses—e.g., human fatalities, property losses, and crop losses—illustrate where the impacts are the greatest, what challenges exist in responding to and recovering from disasters, and what factors drive exposure and vulnerability to hazards and disasters. Although existing loss databases in the United States are useful for certain kinds of analyses, improvement in measurements, accuracy, and consistency are needed. Furthermore, the nation lacks a national repository for all-hazard event and loss data, compromising the ability of communities to make informed decisions about where and how to prioritize their resilience investments.


Without some numerical means of assessing resilience it would be impossible to identify the priority needs for improvement, to monitor changes, to show that resilience had improved, or to compare the benefits of increasing resilience with the associated costs. The measurement of a concept such as resilience is difficult, requiring not only an agreed-upon metric, but also the data and algorithms needed to compute it. The very act of defining a resilience metric, and the discussions that ensue about its structure, helps a community to clarify and formalize what it means by the concept of resilience, thereby raising the quality of debate. The principles that resilience metrics can entail are illustrated by some existing national and international indicators or frameworks that address measurement of the resilience of different aspects of community systems. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for developers, owners, and operators of buildings is one example. Comparison of the strengths and challenges of a variety of different frameworks for measuring resilience suggests that the critical dimensions of an encompassing and consistent resilience measurement system are

•   Indicators of the ability of critical infrastructure to recover rapidly from impacts;

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