Systems Resilience for Multihazard Environments: Definition, Metrics, and Valuation for Decision Making


  • Bilal M. Ayyub

    Corresponding author
    1. Center for Technology and Systems Management, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA
    • Address correspondence to Bilal Ayyub, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA; tel: 301-405-1956 campus;,

    Search for more papers by this author


The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction reported that the 2011 natural disasters, including the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan, resulted in $366 billion in direct damages and 29,782 fatalities worldwide. Storms and floods accounted for up to 70% of the 302 natural disasters worldwide in 2011, with earthquakes producing the greatest number of fatalities. Average annual losses in the United States amount to about $55 billion. Enhancing community and system resilience could lead to massive savings through risk reduction and expeditious recovery. The rational management of such reduction and recovery is facilitated by an appropriate definition of resilience and associated metrics. In this article, a resilience definition is provided that meets a set of requirements with clear relationships to the metrics of the relevant abstract notions of reliability and risk. Those metrics also meet logically consistent requirements drawn from measure theory, and provide a sound basis for the development of effective decision-making tools for multihazard environments. Improving the resiliency of a system to meet target levels requires the examination of system enhancement alternatives in economic terms, within a decision-making framework. Relevant decision analysis methods would typically require the examination of resilience based on its valuation by society at large. The article provides methods for valuation and benefit-cost analysis based on concepts from risk analysis and management.