Decision-Making Framework for Holistic Sustainable Disaster Recovery: Agent-Based Approach for Decreasing Vulnerabilities of the Associated Communities


Sustainable disaster recovery involves not merely the restoration of the physical built environment, but also meeting the needs of the impacted stakeholders and decreasing the vulnerability of the host community to future hazards. Nonetheless, the available disaster recovery frameworks deal with community restoration as isolated redevelopment projects and lack the integration of the host community's overall welfare and vulnerability into the objective functions of the optimization models. This paper balances the short-term redevelopment objectives and the long-term goals of reducing the host community three-dimensional vulnerability (i.e., social, economic, and environmental). The authors develop an innovative decision-making framework that assimilates and meets the needs of the broad community stakeholders. Through a bottom-up multiagent-based model, the authors simulate the stakeholders' decision-making processes and integrate wellestablished vulnerability indicators into the objective functions of the stakeholders to better guide the redevelopment strategies. Adopting the recovery processes in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina catastrophe, the proposed model is implemented and tested on the residential housing and economic financial recovery as well as the infrastructure development in three devastated coastal counties in Mississippi. Each action plan provided by governmental agencies had its own advantages and negative impacts on the vulnerability and/or the recovery of the impacted communities. By holistically addressing the multidimensional recovery processes using simultaneous simulation and optimization techniques, the model develops a Pareto optimal set of strategies that increases the recovery rates and decreases the three-dimensional vulnerabilities. The proposed innovative approach gives decision makers a broader understanding of the disaster recovery outcomes rather than relying on strategies that aim to return the community to pre-event conditions. As such, the proposed holistic approach will enable decision makers to identify optimal disaster recovery strategies that achieve immediate redevelopment objectives and avoid sacrificing the right of future generations to sustainability and resilience.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Disaster prevention; Disasters; Housing; Pareto principle; Recovery; Restoration; Sustainable development, Associated communities; Decision making process; Decision-making frameworks; Infrastructure development; Multi-agent based modeling; Redevelopment project; Simulation and optimization; Vulnerability indicators, Decision making

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

1076-0342; 1943-555X

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2018 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Sep 2018