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Analysis of Energy Infrastructure Disasters: Qualitative Contributions to Interdisciplinary Challenges


IAP and Spring


11: Urban Studies and Planning

Faculty Supervisor:

Amy Glasmeier

Faculty email:


Apply by:

January 30, 2020


Amy Glasmeier: amyglas@mit.edu

Project Description

Large-scale energy disruptions, such as the 2003 Northeast Blackout or the 2018 Merrimack Valley explosions, are complicated social and organizational events. Our team at MIT DUSP's Lab on Regional Innovation and Spatial Analysis is engaged in understanding how human error and organizational factors produce these instances of energy infrastructure failure and disaster. For IAP (and Spring), our team will conduct case studies of electric grid hazards and disaster events. This analysis mirrors our lab's prior work on error and policy change following natural gas pipeline explosions. Students can expect to develop skills in qualitative analysis (using NVivo), technical report reading & writing, and a working knowledge of disaster theory. This project contributes to an interdisciplinary understanding of pressing energy and infrastructure challenges.


Adventurous, interested in detail, enjoy studying systems, concerned about public safety.