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Lectures Moddemeyer - Lake Como Elements of Resilient Systems for Infrastructure Planners


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Sustainable Water - Energy - Centric Communities school
May 9 - 13, 2016 – Lake Como School of Advanced Studies

Published in: Science
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Lectures Moddemeyer - Lake Como Elements of Resilient Systems for Infrastructure Planners

  1. 1. ELEMENTS OF RESILIENT SYSTEMS FOR INFRASTRUCTURE PLANNERS, S. Moddemeyer, 2015 1 1 DIVERSITY Encourage diversity of actors and processes at each scale. Systems can increase adaptive capacity with multi-scale diversity. Resilient financial portfolios have diversity to protect holdings from being overly reliant on one sector of the economy. Likewise, broad diversity of race, culture, gender, skills, income, and history helps a community or utility to have increased capacity to understand change, innovate in the face of change, and provide perspective to change or disruption. Infrastructure systems as well can achieve response diversity and functional diversity by designing systems and sub-systems at multiple scales. If one subsystem fails, overall function of the system persists because of the continued operation of other subsystems with different but similar functions. Too much diversity can lead to an inability to organize around adaptation to change. Thus highly fractionated systems with overlapping responsibilities and governance can benefit from establishment of unifying goals, shared values, and access to information that align action around adaptation. Example: Diversity of scale. Design district energy and water systems that nest into larger centralized systems. This adds additional capacity to the system as an impact at any one scale may not impact systems at different scales with different system drivers. This is related to redundancy (and polycentric governance – a feature of adaptive governance).Example: Diversity of sources. Designate higher values for resources that are climate- proof, such as reuse of treated wastewater. Highly treated wastewater set to a Class A standard can be used for non-potable purposes including toilet flushing and irrigation – both of which typically use potable water. If we reduce potable water use by 40 – 50% by implementing water reuse, we enhance the capacity of the potable water system to adapt to shifts in water availability. Example: Diversity of Leadership. Diversity in management of an urban utility can broaden the range of management experience and problem- solving. Staff with different backgrounds, cultures, and life experience can open up a broader range of alternatives to be considered. Broader alternatives consideration, especially across the silos of expertise can often provide the most value and adaptability for urban systems facing novel challenges from a variable climate. Example: Fractionated systems. Salmon that spawn in Puget Sound must swim through 26 jurisdictions to reach their spawning and rearing areas in the Cedar River watershed. Because these 26 jurisdictions are mostly focused on their own needs, the coordination to avoid extinction of protected salmon was not present. To solve this, the 26 jurisdictions agreed to work together on a watershed scale and to plan and coordinate their actions to make improvements that support valuable native salmon populations. 2 MODULARITY Use cost-effective, modular, repeatable strategies Modularity increases diversity of connectivity between systems providing additional buffers in times of shock or disruption. This can limit the spread of severe impacts felt
  2. 2. ELEMENTS OF RESILIENT SYSTEMS FOR INFRASTRUCTURE PLANNERS, S. Moddemeyer, 2015 2 in one quadrant but not in other. Example: Habitat that is restored in adjoining watersheds can provide a functional buffer if one watershed suffers extraordinary events such as fire, flood, or landslides. Example: Nested semi-autonomous district-scale energy and water systems that use onsite renewables have different drivers and over-lapping function that can survive an impact to the larger centralized system. This modular approach can be repeated across urban service areas to increase adaptive capacity. Centralized systems continue to provide the backbone levels of service, but district-scale systems can relieve the peak demands on the centralized systems and provide additional buffers against extreme events. 3 CONNECTIVITY Maintain and enhance connectivity up, down, and between scales to share resources and information. Connectivity is about the structure and strength of links between nodes and scales. By connecting the most connected nodes the flow of information and resources can increase as access to insight, information and feedbacks is expanded. Multi-scale infrastructure systems also benefit with sub-systems that are not wholly dependent upon one another. Too much connectivity can create new vulnerability if one species, system, or mode dominates. Absent multi-scale diversity or modularity, too much connectivity can accelerate transmission of disturbances leading to widespread impacts. Example: The ‘Internet of Things’ increases the potential for higher efficiencies as smart systems can be applied to a range of functions across multiple scales. However, this connectivity comes at a price if the Internet malfunctions for any reason. Thus, while it is important to design systems to benefit from digital connectivity, it is also imperative to design parallel analogue systems that can continue to operate despite the loss of internet connectivity. Only by having both systems do we achieve the adaptability and flexibility to survive and thrive when conditions change abruptly or over time. Example: During times of stress, communities that are connected are better able to adapt to changing conditions. For example, if a tornado or flood destroys a business district or neighborhood, the local people who know each other in advance of the event are much more able to work together to address the needs of the moment. Thus a key strategy for social resilience is to connect the highly- connected nodes in a community before an event. Government officials, community leaders, cultural leaders, and opinion leaders in business, environment, and social
  3. 3. ELEMENTS OF RESILIENT SYSTEMS FOR INFRASTRUCTURE PLANNERS, S. Moddemeyer, 2015 3 equity should be well-acquainted with each other to leverage each’s network of trusted contacts and advisors. 4 STORAGE Store and restore capacity of reserves at each scale so isolated elements can survive for a period on their own. The overall ability of a system to absorb shocks or disruption is increased if essential reserves of energy, food and water are stored at each scale. If householders have the right information, have onsite access to emergency food and water, and know how to care for their immediate needs following a disturbance, then the overall resilience of the community is enhanced. Energy storage at the building and neighborhood scale can moderate and avoid costly peak demand energy supplies and soften the impact of centralized outages. Example: A limited number of food distribution warehouse complexes serve the east coast of the United States. If this handful of operators is out of service for more than a day food shortages will rapidly spread across the cities of the eastern seaboard. Storage of food at the neighborhood level can greatly increase the capacity of communities to handle extreme events. Storage at the neighborhood scale is typical of food banks, for example, who feed the poor. Often, however, food banks are not robust to extreme events as they tend to operate with extremely low budgets. Building up the capacity of food banks becomes a reliability strategy that helps every day AND during times of stress. Example: As battery technology continues to advance, the potential for electrical energy storage increases. Thus batteries in buildings or electric auto fleets parked in buildings can become a future source of reliability in the electrical grid. This increase in storage can also help to shave the expensive peak demands from the system. Likewise, peak demand can be attenuated if non-peak uses can be shifted. Domestic hot water can also be stored at the individual building scale where peak demand for hot water can be shifted to off-peak demand by installing redundant hot water systems that are operated centrally by the energy grid provider. This creates additional buffering for wind and other intermittent renewables. 5 FEEDBACK Incorporate extensive monitoring and feedback loops to enable systems to moderate behavior and adapt as conditions change Monitoring and understanding signals of impending change can provide feedback that helps to maintain stability in the face of shocks or surprise or long term underlying variables. Managing well in the face of change includes having the ability to sense and understand changes underway whether
  4. 4. ELEMENTS OF RESILIENT SYSTEMS FOR INFRASTRUCTURE PLANNERS, S. Moddemeyer, 2015 4 in simple systems (cause and effect) or complex systems where reinforcing drivers and balancing feedback push systems toward undesirable threshold and feedback loops. Monitoring these drivers to detect and avert an undesirable regime shift is central to sustainability. Example: Remote sensing and ubiquitous monitoring tools are enhancing the ability to monitor and adapt to change. Early warning of changes underway enhances the ability of a system to accommodate change whether it is in leak detection, identification of the use of energy from specific devices, water stress levels in urban vegetation, post- disaster mapping, or wiki surveys of affected populations. 6 STORY Tell the story of the place to foster understanding of complex adaptive systems and to reinforce the social connections and identity of residents, employers, and employees. The story we tell ourselves about ourselves is fundamental to identity and culture. In fostering a resilience ethic, the story becomes the framework upon which expectations and anticipations about “what’s next” evolve. Understanding that we are in a complex continually adapting world can become a framework for how we give meaning to shocks, shifts, and gradual change. In sharing stories we reinforce social connections and help people to understand intuitively that we are in a world where coping with change and uncertainty is understood as an appropriate management approach. Example: How populations characterize a disaster has implications for the speed of recovery. If a group thinks of itself as “victims” of an event, they tend to be more passive and disempowered in their approach to recovery. If on the other hand, they think of themselves as “survivors” they are more likely to be engaged in accelerating recovery. Thus civic leaders are strongly encouraged to frame their messages in terms of “who we are.” “We are people who are survivors, people who help each other, people who build back better for ourselves and for future generations.” These types of messages are influential in how people perceive the event, and whether or not they “tip in” into the recovery. Example: Many cultures have stories that are used to pass knowledge between generations. The stories create expectations about how our people react, the challenges we have faced, and the lessons that we have learned over time. These stories become the foundation for identity – and identity is an important element in the definition of resilience. Resilient systems adapt to change while retaining their identity.
  5. 5. ELEMENTS OF RESILIENT SYSTEMS FOR INFRASTRUCTURE PLANNERS, S. Moddemeyer, 2015 5 7 TRUST Build trust by developing accountability measures such as regulation, incentives, and verification Resilience of a system is enhanced if accountability measures, regulation and verification provide metrics that allows us to accept as virtual givens that people and processes will tend to act as expected. Tracking these measures becomes another element of the monitoring and feedback loops described in 5 above and when shared can be used to align actors engaged across the span of resilience activities. Example: Building codes are requirements that protect public health and safety. If those are enforced, then residents and interested buyers can be assured of some reasonable level of safety with their ownership. Without trust, everything must be personally checked and rechecked which can lead to deep inefficiencies. Example: Graft can hobble the resilience of a system as communities know that decisions are not made on their merits but rather on the value to inside operators who benefit disproportionately. Without trust, a system cannot provide consistency during times of stress and change. Thus people can have reasonable expectations of personal safety, or that if they play by the rules they should not be penalized. However, when the rules bind a system such that it cannot adapt, then rules may make a system brittle which can lead to failure. 8. SELF-ORGANIZING Create systems and sub-systems that are semi-autonomous and have the capacity for self- governance and the ability to adapt to feedback Self-organized systems have greater capacity to self-correct given new insight, information and feedback. They do not require extensive command and control and are the source of innovation that can bolster large systems. Nested self- organizing systems can create novel adaptations to dynamic change. Semi-autonomous systems are connected to and rely upon other systems up and down in scale where fast change can flow up in scale while slow and large scale change can add system stability. Example: If all operations are centralized, a system reduces its capacity to adapt to variability, and decision-making at higher levels can become a bottleneck. Thus self-organizing systems and sub-systems that have operational autonomy are much more able to make decisions in the field to address emergent issues in a timely manner. Broad guidance, shared values, and authority to act throughout the organizations are essential for a system to be adaptable and flexible to change over time. NOTE: Elements of Resilience for Infrastructure Planners, 2015 by S. Moddemeyer, 2015 was developed after review of papers identifying common characteristics of general resilience including: Stephen R. Carpenter, et al General Resilience to Cope with Extreme Events, Sustainability 2012, 4(12), 3248-3259; and, R. Biggs, et al, Toward Principles for Enhancing the Resilience of Ecosystem Services; Annual Review of Environment and Resources, Vol. 37: 421-448 (Volume publication date November 2012).