A Social Network based framework for assessing risks and vulnerability in built environment

Date of this Version


Document Type

Conference Proceeding

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Published version

Doloi, H., Crawford, R., Langston, C., & Pheng, L. S. (2015). A Social Network based framework for assessing risks and vulnerability in built environment. Paper presented at the 5th International Conference on Building Resilience (pp. 520-1 - 520-16). 15-17 July, 2015. Newcastle, Australia.

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Copyright © The University of Newcastle, 2015




Our built environment comprises large interdependent infrastructure networks. When we add a new piece of infrastructure or a new building into the mix, we rather increase the complexity further in relation operations and management of such infrastructure network. Ensuring appropriate functionality of these networks is absolutely crucial for supporting the community residing within the built environment. Functioning of a society depends on numerous infrastructure functions offered by the range of infrastructure network collectively. If any part of the infrastructure network becomes obsolete due to any external or internal disturbances, the impact will be eventually felt within the community. Whether such an impact is felt at a local level or in entirety, that depends on the degree of dependency of the community on the particular infrastructure network and also the interconnectivity of that network in relation to other network. Thus, in any attempt to address risks and vulnerability within the community, the first step is to map out the interdependent infrastructure network and community dependencies on various functions drawn from individual infrastructure or the network. The multi-level community is highly fragmented especially in a social context. Such fragmentation is characterized by numerous roles that people play within the society. Dependency of every person in the community on the infrastructure functions in their respective business or social roles can be understood by investigating their associations with infrastructure functions and the underlying network structure. Thus, in an attempt to assess the risks and vulnerability, this research aims to develop a new methodology utilizing the social network theory. It has been hypothesized that risk and vulnerability of the community is based on their interactions and social ties within both the community and infrastructure networks structure. Relative impacts of risks of one person or unit on another in relation to community dependency and association of infrastructure need to be visualized before developing the objective risk management strategy. The applicability of the new SNA based methodology will be demonstrated using an institutional precinct comprising multiple buildings. The findings will add significant new knowledge for managing risks and vulnerability of the community within the built environment context.



This document has been peer reviewed.