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The concept

The Built Environment (BE), defined as a network of buildings, infrastructures and open spaces (connecting spaces, square, green area), is usually characterized by a high complexity level due to its interactions with natural elements and human presences. It is also subject to different risks that can lead to critical disaster conditions. This can undermine the hosted community’s safety, both in short and long periods.

Emergency events, usually referred as SUdden-Onset Disasters (SUOD) (e.g. natural as earthquake; man-made as terrorist acts) are catastrophic because of their immediate consequences on BE, with human, social, economic, cultural losses for the community (and its identity) [1]. But our cities and inhabitants are also subject to SLow-Onset Disasters (SLOD) mainly induced by anthropic factors [1]: i.e. the combination of strong and prolonged summer heat waves with poor air quality greatly compounds negative effects and can pose major (and invisible) risks to human health with poor life quality and high social costs.

Effects of such disasters on BE increase if considering: its poor design in respect to effective users’ requests and possible risks effects; incomplete regulations/guidelines for design practices by considering such aspects, especially for outdoor BE; inappropriate infrastructures in respect to current lifestyle; inappropriate users’ behavior. Finally, population growth is also bringing pressure for settlement in cities, by introducing possible risk-increasing factors such as crowding conditions, which also play a key role in particular mass-events or tourist hubs.

This way, BE S2ECURe main target is to increase safety and risk perception of people that live and interact in BE through BE itself, in case of different SUOD/SLOD, by a novel resilience metric through
which assessing the BE itself and designing technical solutions/strategies to make it safer. According to the so-called 3R approach, the resilience metric will imply [2]:

  • Resourcefulness: preparing users’ (citizens’/practitioners’) emergency response

  • Robustness: maintaining critical functions during the disaster crisis through interventions on BE and management systems

  • defining solutions for quick and efficient BE Recovery

...but using an innovative cross-hazards and user-centered approach [3–5], and adding Redundancy to resilience criteria (from a 3R to a 4R approach).

BE S2ECURe will be also targeted to:

  • produce and test the holistic approach to define BE resilience indicators by considering users’ behaviors and a multi-hazard approach also aimed at developing multi-disasters resilience maps (innovation);

  • develop tools to: evaluate/design technical solutions/strategies for increasing BE resilience- based on a multi-hazard/behavior-oriented approach (minimizing their impact on heritage) within BIM, VR and AR environments (innovation);

  • increase risk awareness and preparedness at different levels: users/community (activate right actions), professionals (building scale emergency planning), public administration practitioners (large scale emergency planning (dissemination).

The project structure

Due to recent events and following current and forthcoming EU H2020 calls [3], BE S2ECURE will be focused on earthquake and terrorist acts (SUOD, involved in WP1) and air pollution and heat wave (SLOD, involved in WP2), but its methodology will be easily extended to other disasters. Risk-increasing factors, such as crowding effects and users’ typologies (i.e. gender, age), will be taken into account.

BE S2ECURe will adopt an innovative behavioral-oriented holistic methodology that merges SUOD/SLOD analysis as well as risk-affecting factors (including behavior-related ones) towards the definition of common metrics, tools and solutions [4,6]. Each disaster will be investigated according to a users’ risk perception approach, which directly considers behavioral analysis: real world data on how people behave in real emergency conditions will allow considering effects of human choices in emergency (e.g. evacuation path selection, assembly areas, hazardous choices) [7,8]. Users’ behaviors will be investigated and additional effects of crowding in each condition will be defined. Related methods will be adopted by WP1 and WP2 tasks.

Building Environment Typologies (BETs) will be then defined (WP3) according to SUOD/SLOD affecting conditions. Tools and methods for BETs representation in extensive models (BIM based) and fast models (VR/AR oriented) [9,10] will be developed (WP3) to permit case studies implementation. The BIM methodology will permit to collect such data in informed models, in order to implement risk parameters and effective BE scenario modifications to be set in the VR representation. Then, such models will be combined with users’ behaviors representation, modifying existing simulators developed by UNIVPM [19], so as to define assessment tools (WP4). Such choice will allow to move towards a holistic approach. Then simulation-oriented tools will be used to:

  1. evidence main emergency criticisms (i.e. due to behavioral tasks) and produce risk combined maps

  2. propose the related risk-mitigation strategies

  3. evaluate the effectiveness of such strategies


Quantitative analysis through Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will be performed on each disaster to determine the specific risk conditions [4] (WP4). Then, KPIs will be combined to obtain a unique metric for BE resilience, devoted to understand human safety level and strategies effectiveness by combining SUOD and SLOD [5] (WP5). Comparisons of scenarios and solutions will finally lead to define operative guidelines for a resilient BE, by including interventions on BE layout (and related safety assessment), emergency plan and strategies for supporting users’ evacuation, communication to exposed users of safety procedures [4,11].


The method will be then verified using real case studies and virtual reality training tests (WP6). Redundancy criteria will be adopted, thus safety-increasing strategies will be allocated to different elements composing the and into the BE (i.e. interventions on BE itself; users’ training; proactive engagement of users by means of future interactive devices/building components), to guarantee that at least one of them will be surely effective.

The partners and the skills

BE S2CURe takes advantage of the own complementary skills of each Participant to reach expected targets, as can be seen from each PA CV and their main staff involved.

  • UNIVPM will be the Principal Investigator due to its skill both on BE and SUOD and the related human behaviors, dealing in more detail with all the human-centred and crowding issues.

  • POLIBA will deal with terrorist attack risk (SUOD) and all the VR/AR issues.

  • POLIMI (MI) will deal with SLOD such as pollution and heat wave.

  • UNIBO will deal with seismic risk (SUOD) of the buildings/aggregates surrounding outdoor BE and their modifications during the event.

  • UNIRM will deal with seismic risk of outdoor BE and its mitigations through interventions on the built border of the BE as well as all the issues related to BIM representation.

Find out more information about the participants, click on the name!


Discover the activities planned in the project

State of the Art

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Discover the results of the project


Discover the potential effects in the scientific, technological, social and economic fields

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