Historically, humans don’t have a great track record for considering resilience in our built environment. “We underattend to the future, we too quickly forget the past and we too readily follow the lead of people who are no less myopic than we are,” according to Robert Meyer of The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in response to Superstorm Sandy.13 Most modern homes are completely dependent on outside services to function, and quickly become problematic and even dangerous when the “umbilical cord” to external services is cut for some reason.
Resilience tends to conjure up images of a bunker-like approach to long-term survival. There are many degrees of resilience that can be considered when designing a home, from the ability to maintain essential water, food, and heating capabilities for a day or two all the way to long-term independence.
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Important questions to consider include:
What are the potential weather/climate circumstances that could affect my home?
What is the 100-year flood plain? Is my home on or near this plain?
What are the highest recorded and potential top wind speeds in the area?
What are the historic rainfall/snowfall records?
What immediate geographical features (trees, hills, streams,) offer protection or potential threat?
What infrastructure is near my home?
Are there hospitals, fire stations, police stations, and other emergency services nearby?
Is there potentially dangerous infrastructure (dams, power stations, transmission lines.