Urban Resilience


Coastal-storm-related economic losses have increased substantially over the past century, largely due to expanding population and development in low-lying coastal areas. Additionally, higher global temperatures will contribute to rising sea levels and increasing severity of hurricanes. As a result, the proportion of the US population at risk of the effects of flooding, high winds, and other natural disasters continues to grow.

Although steps can be taken by individuals and organizations to reduce risk to property and lives from such events, these mitigation actions are often not taken. Incentives of the insurance system, exposure to near miss events, and other psychological heuristics and biases prevent those at risk from making optimal decisions. In addition, some decisions, such as to erect levies and floodwalls, may help certain individuals but cause changes in natural systems that result in long-term negative consequences for others. Additionally, the flood control measures may encourage more development in low-lying coastal areas. Understanding the interaction of these complex human and physical systems is one goal of our office.

The Team

  • Laura Anderko
  • Jeffrey Collmann
  • Robin Dillon-Merrill
  • Seth Guikema
  • Joshua A. Ripple
  • William Rouse
  • Catherine Tinsley


Work in progress.


  • NSF
  • Stevens Institute of Technology
  • Johns Hopkins University