By Michel Boufadel
In the wake of the increasing impacts of climate change, governments and businesses are assessing how climate-related risks may manifest and differ from historical experience, and how resilience can be integrated within decision-making and planning processes. In New Jersey, facing the current climatic changes and in attempt to build more resilient communities, various government agencies are working together towards cultivating policies and strategies that establish community resilience and develop a “Statewide Climate Change Resilience Strategy.” Such efforts create a need for a framework to facilitate and streamline interdepartmental collaboration on resilience-based planning and resource allocation.
The team, with support from the New Jersey State Policy Lab, worked on enhancing the scientific and practical foundation of resilience, by uncovering a main limitation of existing resilience quantification approaches, which is the lack of practicality components. The findings of this earlier work advocated for a framework that developed the concept of “area resilience,” ARez (Gerges et al. 2023), which combines community and infrastructure approaches. The NJ State Policy Lab published a report detailing the concept of ARez and its foundation (Boufadel et al. 2023). The ARez framework provides resilience assessments for areas at various timescales, under different disaster scenarios. It quantifies the resilience of five community sectors: energy, health, natural system, socio-economic, and transportation.
ARez captures the functionality level of attributes to derive their resilience, and subsequently each one of the five considered sectors. ARez introduces a fundamental new and practical approach to compute a direct measure of an area resilience, delivering an absolute value that is directly related to the local situations, stress level, and priorities of local stakeholders. The intellectual value of the ARez concept has been well-demonstrated, however, a hurdle remains, which is the piloting of the concept to effect changes.
The team consists of Dr. Michel Boufadel (NJIT), Dr. Firas Gerges (Princeton), Dr. Hani Nassif (Rutgers), and Ms. Dorina Frizzera (NJIT). Dr. Boufadel is Distinguished Professor of Environmental Engineering, and Director of the Center for Natural Resources (cnr.njit.edu) at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT); Dr. Gerges is Postdoctoral Research Associate at Princeton University; Dr. Nassif is Professor of Civil Engineering and Director of the RIME lab at Rutgers University; and Ms. Frizzera is a retired Environmental Scientist and Land and Resource Planner from the NJ Department of Environmental Protection – where she was the lead for the Division of Science’s Coastal Resource, Wetland and Climate Resilience initiatives.
Gerges, F., R. H. Assaad, H. Nassif, E. Bou-Zeid and M. C. Boufadel. A perspective on quantifying resilience: Combining community and infrastructure capitals. 2022. Science of The Total Environment: 160187. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.160187
Boufadel, M., Gerges, F., and Nassif, H. Enhancing the Resilience of New Jersey
Communities Using ARez. 2022. New Jersey State Policy Lab. New Brunswick,
NJ: Rutgers University. https://rutgers.app.box.com/s/khbb9ukffk52a4vkjmdgbi8h8o7kt3ro