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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Development and application of a computer simulation framework for assessing disaster recovery in urban communities Costa, Rodrigo Carneiro da


In this dissertation an object-oriented framework of models is developed and applied to study disaster recovery in communities in British Columbia, Canada. The impact of earthquakes on communities is quantified over months and years, and the focus is on identifying the factors that affect the recovery. Contrasting with the practice of investigating disaster impacts to infrastructure or societal systems in isolation, an integrated approach is used in this dissertation. Lifelines, buildings, and persons are modelled in the same computational environment. One contribution of this dissertation is the development of models for infrastructure and social systems of a community. Another contribution is the development of a new approach to simulate the transportation of goods through a network of models. This new approach allows great flexibility in the composition of the transported goods and facilitates the modelling of the competition for resources. Another innovation is the individual modelling of buildings and dwellings, in this work referred to as dwellings, in the community. The socioeconomic demographics of the dwellings determine their capacity to compete for limited resources, which affect their recovery capacity. The integration of socioeconomic demographics, infrastructure, and buildings in the same computational environment allows for a broad range of disaster mitigation actions to be compared. This dissertation assesses the benefits of improving resource management, retrofitting physically vulnerable infrastructure, improving access to funds for recovery, among other actions. The findings in this dissertation can inform pre-disaster plans and help identifying mitigation strategies that improve disaster recovery in communities in British Columbia.

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