The built environment is highly connected and provides significant value to our communities. Yet the traditional mechanisms to value the worth of built assets typically consider those assets in isolation, neither considering the community they serve nor the connections and interrelationships that exist within the built environment itself. Heritage buildings can, for example, provide many services to community, including cultural value, tourism, and community meeting spaces. Yet, when we assess the value of a repair, we consider these values in an ad-hoc fashion, or not at all.
If we can better understand, map, and value the community services built infrastructure provides, then we can have more robust and objective conversations about the extent of community investment in built infrastructure, and trade-offs inherent to alternative development, investment, and policy options.
This research project aims to apply the idea of “ecosystem services” to the built environment to develop a framework that will enhance our ability to map, understand, and assess the built environment and its relationships to human well-being. Defining these values and their inter-relationships will enhance our ability to comprehensively assess the impact of natural hazard events and to improve disaster risk decision-making.
The output of this project will be an online interactive tool that maps built environment assets to the services they deliver and their relationship to well-being.
The tool will enable users to explore the framework and understand the system-wide impacts of disruptions to the built environment.