Infrastructures are defining elements of cities and nations. By their nature infrastructures extend over wide areas providing services in response to the user demands. These systems are hence subject to events like storms, earthquakes, floods, etc. and, at the same time, to the user pressure. But what happens when external events and user pressure build up in a positive feedback mechanism? A typical example is the pressure of a transportation network in case of floods. Evacuating people and emergency services both add to the load of the transportation network, which is at the same time hit by the flood and hence it is likely to be only partially functional. Intensification of the flood means less road available and more users demanding them. In this case, the escalation towards collapse is extremely fast and cannot be addressed through the traditional safety margins, redundancies and fail-safe strategies currently adopted. Therefore, novel modelling tools, within the realm of complexity science, are needed, which are able to capture, hence understand the dynamics of overlapping stresses on network systems.
Aim This project aims at defining the system engineering principles allowing to design for resilience of infrastructures subject to multiple overlapping shocks and the user pressure.
• Construct models of infrastructures as networks with dynamics defined both by internal (users) and external (events) factors.
• Identifying metric of the system functioning and threshold that indicate the system’s collapse
• Identify the effect of overlapping shocks to the network and the characteristics that can lead to the system collapse