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Risk and Resilience

Most cities are vulnerable to natural hazards – drought, fire, flood, storm or sea-level rise.  There’s a dangerous and growing combination of climate change, urban expansion, technology hazard, terrorist attack, inequality and fragmentation of communities. While the technology for hard defences is better than ever, the physical challenges are greater, and the social fabric is stretched further. This calls for new concepts of resilience.

We need to understand the dynamics of ‘resilient communities’, beyond the simple building of technical defences.  For real progress we need to look at how the whole society learns and thinks, communicates and organizes. This points to the concept of Resilience-III.

This is the theme of the Risk & Resilience collaboration between Manchester & Melbourne.

MUI / CURE Resilience Forum 2018: Resilience of what for who?

Weds September 19th, 4-6 pm:  Arthur Lewis Building G.35-36

  • Prof Iain White, University of Waikato, NZ: ‘uncovering the governance of resilience – from disruptive theory to conservative practice?’
  • Cllr Derek Antrobus, Salford City Council: ‘from theory to front line practice
  • Ioanna Tantanasi, MUI / CURE: “critical infrastructure resilience – tools for measuring and enhancing”
  • Ulysses Sengupta, Manchester School of Architecture: ‘‘complex urbanism – resilient or vulnerable?’
  • Joe Ravetz, MUI / CURE: ‘Resilience of what for whom – fitting solutions to problems’ (report on the results of the Resilience Forum 2017).

Download Flyer: Resilience Forum – 19th Sept 2018

This follows up from the RESILIENCE FORUM 2017 –

Download draft report – MUI / CURE Resilience Forum 2017 report – v0.2

These are further materials from the Resilience Forum 2017.

Recent events in Houston….

  • The real culprit could be urban sprawl, lack of planning regulations, shrinking infrastructure funds.
  • Scientists point to clear and logical links between climate change & Harvey
  • Conservatives deny any links between climate change & Harvey
  • So the ‘resilience’ of Houston is not only about the emergency services, but fundamental splits in the entire city system, both physical and human.
  • Meanwhile, 141 million people in 37 countries are currently in need of humanitarian aid, an increase of 12.5 million on last year’s total (UN-OCHA). Only a quarter of the funding needed has arrived. Most of these incidents are not reported in Western media.

What is Resilience-III?

Resilience-III is about the combined wisdom of communities and cities. It’s about the collective intelligence, & the capacity of cities – with their communities, organizations, enterprises, markets and technologies – to learn, think ahead, adapt and innovate.  Resilience-III has applications in building design, landscape management, finance and property, urban infrastructure and many other areas.  There are parallels with ‘Anti-Fragility’ (Taleb 2012)

This R&R (Risk & Resilience) program aims to explore ‘resilience with collective intelligence’ (Resilience-III): produce results & recommendations for Melbourne, Manchester, and comparisons with the international community.  It includes a public symposium, a practitioner workshop, and a follow-on consultation.

The R&R method works in four key stages: ‘systems, scenarios, synergies, and strategies’.  This helps to identify ‘what kind of problems’ are we talking about: and then point to ‘what kind of solutions’ are most relevant and useful.  For example,

  • If the problem is mainly functional or technical (e.g. we just need higher flood defences), then we look for ‘clever’ functional / technical solutions (Resilience-I)
  • If the problem is mainly about incentives & innovations, then we look for ‘smart’ solutions and evolutionary type systems (e.g. we need better housing markets, insurance incentives (Resilience-II)
  • For human type problems (often messy, creative, inter-connected), we look for synergistic and ‘wise’ solutions, based on collective intelligence. For example, climate risk in Melbourne is combined with many other pressures, so for positive outcomes we need more intelligent design, finance, governance, education or health services – a different kind of problem (Resilience-III).