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Policy Statement 541- Post-Disaster Reconstruction of Infrastructure

 
Approved by the Infrastructure and Research Policy Committee on March 13, 2020
Approved by the Public Policy Committee on May 4, 2020
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 11, 2020

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:

  • Reconstruction that incorporates appropriate studies, urban design, application of technology, land use planning, 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;
  • Redesign and reconstruction of disaster protection systems for protection of the population, critical infrastructure and the environment; 
  • Redesign and reconstruction of critical infrastructure to higher resiliency standards than previously existed to ensure future protection of this infrastructure; and
  • Consideration of various rebuilding options, such as relocating infrastructure from vulnerable areas to areas less susceptible to disasters or not rebuilding certain infrastructure.

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 existing infrastructure 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

Post-disaster reconstruction of infrastructure and community recovery must include consideration of the existing conditions which may have facilitated the destruction. To better protect lives, property, and infrastructure, the affected areas cannot always be rebuilt to sustainable and resilient conditions. At times, rebuilding resiliently could require relocating infrastructure from vulnerable areas to areas which are less susceptible to disasters.

This policy has worldwide application
ASCE Policy Statement 541
First Approved in 2013


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