The research methodology of BURST is designed to help answer several questions that will shape the character of urban systems of the future:

  • What will resilient and sustainable urban infrastructures of the future look like?
  • What materials will be used to construct resilient and sustainable urban infrastructures?
  • How will they be planned, designed, and maintained?
  • What measures are most appropriate for determining if one design is more sustainable and resilient than another?
  • What will sustainable and resilient design principles of the future look like and how will we derive them?
  • How will such systems enhance the quality of life for its citizens?
  • What are the best ways to reduce urban environmental and ecological footprints yet maintain essential services and enhance livability?

The intellectual approach of BURST seeks to integrate expertise and findings from several pedagogical areas:

  • Engineering systems analysis
  • Information management
  • Agent-based modeling
  • Natural, urban, and industrial ecology
  • Urban planning, urban economics
  • Information theory

Figure 1 presents the basic elements of the integrated BURST research scheme. This stresses that the manner in which research proceeds is an integrated, evolutionary, and iterative process in which each stage is essential to the progress of the whole.

We posit a series of interrelated stages that comprise the BURST approach:

  • Integration of Social, Ecological, and Technological Information (Data Integration)
  • Derivation of Resiliency and Sustainability Design Principles
  • Generation of Infrastructure Scenarios
  • Engineering Design and Analysis
  • Agent-based Modeling
  • Computation and Development of Resiliency and Sustainability Metrics (Integrated Metrics)

Flow Chart - Integrated metrics lead to resiliency and sustainability design, which, combined with design constraints, provide infrastructure scenarios. This leads to engineering design and analysis, which leads to agent based modeling, which leads to integration of social, ecological, and technological information, which refine infrastructure scenarios.
Figure 1

BURST focuses on two critical, interrelated urban infrastructures:

  • Distribution, maintenance, and use of water resources
  • Transport of people, materials, and services throughout urban spaces
Both of these systems are essential to the functioning of urban regions: water as an essential ingredient for livability, and transport systems to provide connectivity among individuals, firms, and institutions.

BURST has three components:

  • Symposium
  • Research project on Data Integration for Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructures
  • Research project on Integrated Metrics for Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructures

We envision three primary research outputs:

  • A new approach for developing the theoretical basis, appropriate tools and metrics, and design principles for understanding and advancing resiliency and sustainability in urban infrastructures
  • The enablement of science-based comparisons on resiliency and sustainability to be made for large-scale urban systems evolving over time
  • The pioneering of new modes of information analysis in which technological, ecological, and social interrelationships are integrated for the purpose of informing new types of infrastructure designs