Page 30 - Final Report-8 NO TRANSPARENCY

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Resilient urban systems:
a socio-technical study of community scale climate change adaptation initiatives
5. Analysis of system resilience and
adaptive capacity
Energy and water systems face a similar range of hazards across Melbourne, with local variants. So far, the
alternative systems at both case study sites have proven effective at providing the same types of services
expected in conventional housing developments, with some additional services and benefits. Each site faces
slightly different hazards, involves different system configurations, and contains a range of unique contextual
In the absence of a well-tested process for quantifying and comparing socio-technical system resilience, this
project sought to identify and characterise existing factors that could enable such systems to:
A. Withstand, absorb and adjust to internal and external disturbance, and
B. Engender flexibility in order to reduce the impact of disturbances.
Following the framework outlined in Section 3.3, these enablers of resilience and adaptation were derived
from literature review together with analysis of each system’s technical and physical design, institutional
structures and functions, and associated social practices as presented in the following sections.
Technical enablers of resilience
The energy and water systems in the case studies display a number of technical and physical design
features that contribute to (or enable) system resilience. These features (see Tables 2 and 3) help absorb,
adjust to, or avoid impacts from system faults or external disturbances; many were incorporated at the
system design stage. These feature support system resilience by providing one or more of the following five
Functional diversity and redundancy
– allowing key functions to be performed through alternate
means and / or alternate processes.
Resource diversity and redundancy
– allowing resources to be replaced, either through back-up
supplies of the same kind or through a different form of resource.
Fail-safe mechanism
– ensuring impacts of faults are minimised or contained.
Design for modification
– reducing barriers for changes to system behaviour or configuration.
Feedback mechanism
– ensuring changes in system function (or contextual operating conditions)
are detected and acted on rapidly.