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Posted on 18 October, 2017 by

Categories: Community, News,

Welcome to the Resilience Shift

Hello and thank you for visiting us at the Resilience Shift. This is our first blog post.

We are a small team of resilience “veterans” – if you can call those with experience in a field that is only a decade or so old “veteran”. We are dedicated to catalyzing a shift in how designers and engineers, asset owners and operators, insurers, investors and regulators play their role in creating a more resilient future.

Our focus is on implementation and delivery: on amplifying the availability of design and engineering talent who have the right skills to meet the rapidly increasing demand for resilience services in practice; on providing approaches, tools, and evaluations of first mover practices to help professionals build a theoretically sound resilience practice.

Recognizing there is a lot of good work underway to, for example, increase the demand for resilience solutions in cities, our added value, we think, is in getting involved and easing barriers to implementation – where the challenges are both practical and technical.

And where there is a need to move faster from theory into practice. Collectively, we would seek to answer the questions from across the infrastructure value chain, including cities, insurers, infrastructure asset owners to name a few.

I hope you will visit this site and blog with us – and most importantly – work with us to surmount barriers to new, 21st century professional practices in resilience.

A critical test of our (collective) success would be that you, dear design and engineering professional, wake up some Monday morning soon knowing what to do to deliver resilience value for your clients and theirs, and find your customers willing to pay for your resilience expertise.

The shift from engineering practices today, which are for the most part rooted in 19th century paradigms, to a resilience engineering practice rooted in emerging paradigm for 21st century means changes like the following:

  • Designers and engineers will no longer describe critical infrastructure projects in terms of their physical parameters. Under a resilience paradigm the focus shifts to design for provision of infrastructure functions under both ordinary and extraordinary circumstances. Infrastructure functions to provide, protect, and/or connect – not to be a dam, or a sea wall, or a road.
  • Instead of defining the job only in terms of preventing failure at pre-defined threshold levels, engineers will see their role as ensuring the functionality of critical infrastructure under a wide range of conditions.
  • Widespread understanding that assessing risks to individual assets from defined hazards is not resilience: resilience engineering of critical infrastructure serves to ensure the safety and well-being of society.

I will be providing more information in separate blogs about the how and the what’ to show what’s coming.

This is only the beginning of our journey to catalyse resilience within and across critical infrastructure sectors. We hope you will work with us and allow us to work with you to put resilience engineering into practice.


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1 comments on ‘Welcome to the Resilience Shift’

  • Chad Staddon November 29th, 2017

    So exciting to see the new blogspace -- and especially exciting to see Nancy's comments about focusing on infrastructure functions rather than just the physical assets. Hopefully this will help broaden sector thinking to include green and grey-green infrastructure solutions (what UNEP calls "nature-based solutions") as part of the range of options for boosting societal resilience. Our work suggests that this thought revolution is still incomplete and may require attention to specific professional education and capacity building in built environment and engineering professions. Can anyone point to exemplars of what we might call "education for societal resilience"?

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