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School of Geography

Re-evaluating infrastructure: using Big Data to develop and quantify new notions of infrastructure resilience

Supervisor: Prof Lex Comber


Infrastructure resilience is related to not just resilience to physical events but also to public interaction with those events. Interactions and thus the ‘value’ of infrastructure change as the physical environment changes. Traditional approaches for quantifying infrastructure value are grounded in economics which a) frequently ignore non-economic returns (e.g. social, technical, political) and b) fail to account for important additional characteristics of infrastructure, the systemic character of infrastructure, the possibility of non- marginal effects, and endogenous preferences. The issue here is that many different actors in this arena – academics, utilities companies etc. – agree on the need for alternative measure of infrastructure resilience .

This research uses data, for example on health outcome, to generate alternative evaluations of infrastructure and critically their failure. It analyses individual level health data and considers the wider impacts of the Boxing Day floods, for example on public health employment disruption, spending patterns, in order to augment tradition cost benefit analysis and valuations of infrastructure. 

To discuss the proposed research, please contact a.comber(at)