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Infrastructure Resilience Conference 2018

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The Resilient Campus - Measuring the Resilience of Universities and Their Communities

The Resilient Campus – Measuring the Resilience of Universities and Their Communities

Elizabeth Morgan1, Dan Simundza2, D. Keith Storms1 1 Hanbury, Blacksburg, VA 24060 USA 2 Global Forum on Urban and Regional Resilience, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061

Abstract: In addition to their central role in advancing education and research, universities can comprise a substantial portion of a community’s physical, economic, and social infrastructures. This paper focuses on two interdependent issues: how universities can internally measure and strengthen the resilience of their infrastructure, and how universities contribute to the resilience of their local communities and regions. We develop an analytical framework to measure campus resilience in three categories: built environment, financial health, and community culture. We apply our framework to a set of land-grant universities in the southeastern United States to both measure and compare their infrastructure resilience.

The analysis relies on publicly available data, such as annual reports and state records. We use data on the condition of buildings, the provision of utilities services, and the capacity to provide aid and shelter in the event of an emergency to analyze the built environment. The financial component is evaluated by the size of the university’s endowment, the diversity of revenue streams, and the university’s position within the broader economic environment. Lastly, the social infrastructure that exists within the university and between the university and its host community is of integral importance. To this end, we collect data on outreach and collaboration, community development, and civic engagement.

Our framework is designed as a dynamic tool that universities and host communities can use to better evaluate their strengths and weaknesses, and to incorporate resilient strategies into their planning process. This tool will help campuses and host communities increase their capacity to endure sudden catastrophic incidents, as well as incremental deterioration of environmental, financial, and social circumstances.

Dan Simundza
Global Forum on Urban and Regional Resilience, Virginia Tech
United States

Elizabeth Morgan
United States

Keith Storms
United States


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