Better resilience evaluation

Reflections on investments in seismic resilience for infrastructure

  • Nicola McDonald ME Research, Auckland
  • Levente Timar Motu, Wellington
  • Garry McDonald ME Research, Auckland
  • Catherine Murray AECOM, Dublin


In the context of infrastructure and natural hazard planning, a new agenda for applied research is emerging which, focused on resilience, integrates government, hazard science, engineering and economics. This paper sets out the context and key tenets guiding the direction of this topic of enquiry, including the New Zealand legislative and policy context under which infrastructure decisions are made, core principles implied by the resilience objective, current norms and challenges in the practice of infrastructure planning, and key criteria for decision-support tools. While decision-making processes strongly informed by cost-benefit analysis (CBA) continue to be common in the New Zealand policy process, this paper demonstrates that there are certain distinguishing features of infrastructure networks that make it challenging to effectively and validly apply standard CBA approaches, particularly when resilience values are at stake. To help address this challenge, a new conceptual framework is presented to assist in the critical review and selection of decision-making tools to support infrastructure planning. This framework provides a synthesis of the ways through which contextual uncertainties influence the relative advantages and appropriateness of different decision support tools. Ultimately, we seek to promote a diverse but also nuanced approach to analysis supporting infrastructure planning under seismic and other natural hazard risk.

Author Biography

Levente Timar, Motu, Wellington

Research Fellow


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How to Cite
McDonald, N., Timar, L., McDonald, G., & Murray, C. (2020). Better resilience evaluation. Bulletin of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering, 53(4), 203-214.