2008 Volume 17 Pages 1-12
Computer risk models and specialized software are necessary to understand, manage and mitigate the impacts of natural and technological hazards to the built environment. Researchers and practitioners alike develop and use such models on a constant basis. As a result, the models are continuously evolving to adapt to new technologies, new data and research outcomes. The majority of the risk analysis software developed up to now is closed in nature. In addition to that, risk software and models currently available to researchers have been developed in a hierarchical closed “Cathedral” fashion and as a result cannot respond quickly to new knowledge. Currently, many researchers and practitioners lack efficient and transparent tools and methods needed for an overall understanding of the nature of risk. The usual pattern is for researchers to either “re-invent the wheel” by writing from scratch similar software or abandon possibly fruitful studies. In order to deal with the needs of the researchers and practitioners, a new approach to risk analysis called Open Risk Analysis (ORA) based on the Free/Open Source Software development open “Bazaar” paradigm was created and promoted by the Alliance for Global Open Risk Analysis (AGORA). This paper discusses this new paradigm, presents some of its methodologies and one example of a tool developed within AGORA.