Page 23 - Final Report-8 NO TRANSPARENCY

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Resilient urban systems:
a socio-technical study of community scale climate change adaptation initiatives
The use of materials in different parts of the home, particularly upstairs areas also has implications,
depending on the tolerance levels, experience and capacity of the residents. One resident notes that they
had to install an air conditioner upstairs:
“Because it’s not brick: it’s the board upstairs and it just gets that hot, and can you
imagine if it’s 35, what it would be like up there?” I said to my husband, “Maybe we
should live here for a year and see if we need it.” But that would have been a mistake
because there’s no way we would have survived the first summer” (A5)
Most of the house packages at Aurora included an air conditioning unit, but for three of the homes that
didn’t, these householders are already planning to have them installed.
In terms of lighting, internal bathrooms that require lighting all times of the day have been remarked on my
some householders as examples of inefficient design, and garage lighting that turns on from the doorway
with no way of turning it off after departing is a source of frustration for another householder. Once again,
several householders mentioned the extended time they have to run the hot water before it heats up. Due
to the availability of recycled water for the garden, they have stopped collecting this water, which in any
case goes to the grey water system. These are examples of system design scripting householder practices
towards maladaptation.
Issues with systems design and installation notwithstanding, many of the residents at Aurora indicate that
moving to this development has had a positive effect on their awareness and practices:
“It’s made me more aware about the water and power and resources.” (A10)
I attended a healthy environment type cleaning seminar...the girl there explained you don’t
need all these cleaning agents, just water and a damp cloth…and that’s what I’ve been
doing.” (A13)
“I stopped wasting a lot of water, like you know, at the other place I used to take long
shower, leave the lights on and that sort of stuff.” (A8)
“We’ll tend to recycle a lot more things now… we didn’t realise certain things could be
recycled and others not.” (A1)
At both WestWyck and Aurora, where maladaptation can be identified, it is largely attributable to the design
of the home, the design and installation of the systems, and how well the interaction of the two has been
imagined and integrated with the physical living space.
Perceptions of risk and resilience
All twenty interviewed households think that extreme weather events, such as heatwaves, drought, floods
and heavy rain, are likely to continue happening in the future, and that their systems will be variously affected
(indeed some have already been affected by heat and rain). However, they are almost unanimously of the
opinion that there is not much that they can do about it, so there is no point in worrying.
“If you’re worried about things happening, you’d never do anything. And I’m a practical
person and if something’s going to happen, it’s going to happen. Whatever you do,
you’re not going to change things.” (A8)
“Severe events, I don’t think we know really. But no, I don’t worry about.” (W3)
Although perceptions of risk and vulnerability are similar across the two case-study householders, the
source of any sense of vulnerability is different. Intrinsic utility costs related to the grey/black water systems
were questioned by some householders at both locations: