Enhancing Resilience of Natural, Built, and
Socio-economic Environments


Built, natural and social environments face risks from natural and man-made hazards. These systems are interconnected, with one affecting the successful functioning of the others to varying degrees. As our environments have evolved over time, natural hazards such as earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, landslides and volcanoes have become increasingly damaging due to increasing populations, socio-economic complexity and built environment exposure, with significant impacts on human well-being and financial systems, including provision of insurance. Slow-onset natural hazards such as climate change-driven meteorological phenomena and sea-level rise will affect both natural and built environments, exacerbating other disaster impacts, with implications for future rural and urban planning and development.

Addressing resilience becomes imperative in dealing with climate change adaptation, and disaster risk reduction and management. Resilience measures must make the most of new technological innovations and hazards science without jeopardizing our socio-economic and natural fabric. These measures therefore require a ‘whole-of-system’ mindset where scientists and practitioners work together to identify multi-beneficial mitigation and adaptation options.

‘Risk and Resilience’ concepts require the collaborative engagement of multi-disciplinary fields and a range of stakeholders including planners, communities, infrastructure providers, businesses, insurers and decision makers. Researchers and practitioners play key roles in developing mitigation and adaptation strategies. This track session facilitates dissemination of the ideas on increasing resilience capacity of interacting natural, built and socio-economic environments.


The chairs invite innovative contributions that address pre- and post-disaster initiatives towards the enhancement of resilient built environments, and that serve both socio-economic and natural environments. In particular, this track aims to showcase initiatives that look within and across the natural, built and socioeconomic environments for resilience solutions that support survival, sustainable growth and flourishing at community, regional and national scales.


  • Innovative approaches and technologies for infrastructure impact assessment post-event
  • Effect of interdependencies on built environment recovery
  • Simulation and modelling of resources, assets risk and vulnerability of cities
  • Building Information Management in pre- and post-disaster conditions
  • Post-Disaster Waste Management Systems
  • Evidence-informed infrastructure management for present and future scenarios of hazards and exposure
  • Social vulnerabilities and capacities of communities
  • Technologies for monitoring rural and urban environments for rapid disaster impact assessment


SR Uma (coordinating co-chair)
GNS Science, New Zealand
[email protected]

Andrea H. Tapia
Penn State University, USA
[email protected]

Heather Craig
NIWA, New Zealand
[email protected]

Matthew Hughes
Department of Civil and Natural Resources Engineering, University of Canterbury, New Zealand
[email protected]

S.R. Uma 

Dr S.R. Uma currently holds a position as ‘Earthquake Engineer’ in GNS Science, a crown research institute in New Zealand. She has in-depth research and consultancy experience in India and New Zealand in seismic performance assessment of buildings and infrastructure.  Her areas of expertise include regional seismic risk assessment, modelling physical vulnerability of built environment, and seismic performance of non-structural components. She is responsible for leading research programme on ‘Post Disaster Cities’ in which an integral approach for increasing regional resilience of buildings and infrastructure is addressed. She also leads a national programme on ‘GeoNet Building Instrumentation Programme’ where seismic sensors are deployed in buildings and bridges to benefit earthquake engineering practice in New Zealand. She is very enthusiastic and keen in working towards developing implementation strategies for increased uptake of research outputs in low damage construction technologies in New Zealand. She has contributed as a committee member in the development of design standards in areas related to ‘concrete structures’ and ‘seismic design of engineering systems in buildings’. She has published more than 80 technical articles in journals, conferences and reports.

Heather Craig Photo sq

Heather Craig

Heather is a Hazard and Risk Analyst at NIWA based in Wellington. She is an early career researcher, having completed a PhD in Hazard and Disaster Management at University of Canterbury in 2015. Her PhD research focussed on quantifying agricultural vulnerability to volcanic hazards, through post-event impact assessments and consultation with a broad range of international experts. Heather is currently involved in the RiskScape programme, a joint effort between GNS Science and NIWA. This involves undertaking applied research on risk modelling, vulnerability and resilience, with a strong focus on user engagement and applications . Prior to her current role, Heather worked across local government and Civil Defence Emergency Management in a Senior Hazard Advisor role. This work included disseminating natural hazard impact and resilience building methods to a variety of audiences including town/district planners, emergency management professionals, and the public. The role provided valuable experience at the intersection of policy, emergency management, and the application of the latest research. Heather’s research interests include: risk reduction through policy and planning; the application of risk assessment tools for improved emergency management; agricultural and environmental vulnerability function development; quantifying and reducing social vulnerability; and effective risk communication approaches.

Matthew Hughes new

Matthew Hughes

Matthew Hughes is an Earth and Environmental Scientist and Geospatial Analyst, with a background in landscape evolution and climate change research, and environmental science consulting in the private sector. Since 2011 he has been investigating the impacts of the 2010-2011 Canterbury Earthquake Sequence on the natural and built environments of Christchurch City, and more recently the impacts of the 14 November 2016 Kaikōura Earthquake. He also conducts other disaster risk reduction research on potential tsunami and volcanic impacts across Aoteoroa/New Zealand. Matthew is Deputy Lead of the Community Datasets Technical Platform within QuakeCoRE, and Distributed Infrastructure Engagement Lead for the Resilience to Nature’s Challenges programme within the National Science Challenges. He is also a member of the New Zealand GIS for Emergency Management (NZGIS4EM) working group. Matthew’s research interests include: application of geospatial technologies for disaster risk and resilience assessments; investigating the convergence of seismic and climate hazards; working with communities to increase hazards awareness and to implement resilience initiatives.