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FLOODS IN BOULDER: A STUDY OF RESILIENCE

We are pleased to share our most recent publication Floods in Boulder: A Study of Resilience. The focus of this study is our hometown Boulder, Colorado. This case study provides concrete examples of what makes a city “resilient” through the analysis of built infrastructure, human systems, and legal and cultural norms. This study diagnoses why the county came through unscathed in some areas while encountering massive damages in others.

Selected findings of the case study include:

  • Built Infrastructure: Six of the seven roads into the mountains failed because they were all next to rivers; systems are not redundant if they have the same point of failure.

  • Human Systems: Lessons and response from previous disasters directly improved the flood response of the county.

  • Legal and cultural norms: The western culture of individuality gave staff the freedom to take independent action and innovate. This allowed systems to be operated effectively under a wider range of conditions than what they were initially designed for.