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Policy Statement 541- Post-Disaster Reconstruction of Infrastructure

 

Approved by the Infrastructure and Research Policy Committee on March 17, 2016
Approved by the Public Policy Committee on May 13, 2016
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 9, 2016

Policy

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) supports the sustainable and resilient reconstruction of areas devastated by accidental, intentional and/or natural disaster events. In order to achieve this, ASCE supports the following activities:

  • Redesign and reconstruction of disaster protection systems for affected communities at a level appropriate for protection of the population, critical infrastructure and the environment; and
  • Reconstruction that incorporates appropriate studies, urban design, application of technology, land use, zoning, and utilization of natural systems to rebuild  communities that are resilient, sustainable, more livable and less vulnerable to accidental, intentional and/or natural disaster events.

Issue

Recent disaster events have caused catastrophic loss of life, massive disruptions and displacement of the affected population, loss of critical infrastructure, loss of economic prosperity, and environmental degradation. Additionally, the damage caused by the disaster events has been so extensive, that it has resulted in significant negative economic and social impacts on regions far beyond the physical damage.

Areas affected by disaster events encounter recovery challenges. These challenges include evaluation of the prior conditions and effects caused by the disaster(s) to determine if reconstruction of the affected infrastructure is viable, feasible and beneficial to facilitate the task of protecting life, property, and critical infrastructure.

Rationale

To better protect lives, property, and infrastructure, the affected areas cannot always be rebuilt to match prior conditions. Reconstruction and recovery includes consideration of the existing conditions which may have facilitated the destruction.  It also includes consideration of the principles of sustainability and resilience.

ASCE Policy Statement 541
First Approved in 2013

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