Page 35 - Final Report-8 NO TRANSPARENCY

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Resilient urban systems:
a socio-technical study of community scale climate change adaptation initiatives
Cross-scale influence:
The capacity for system stakeholders to influence each other also plays a key
role in determining how problems are dealt with. Places Victoria’s support for the formation of a residents’
association is one example where cross-scale interactions have facilitated a positive outcome for some in
terms of system resilience:
“VicUrban [Places Victoria] were keen for us to set up a residents association because
they wanted the community to be sustainable and to be able to look after itself once
they were gone and so they’re kind of thinking ahead for the long term… [about] some
systems and grass roots community organisations so that … there’s longevity and
creating a resilience and connected community… I really take my hat off to VicUrban
[Places Victoria] for the work that they did with the community… ” (S16)
The association was set up in 2009 and is seen as a more effective agent for raising concerns to service
providers than individuals:
“…it was set up as a way for residents to have a voice and be able to have a say in
what was going on in the estate and be able to have … more clout in dealing with
organisations and with government departments and agencies …” (S16)
It was successful in negotiating on behalf of residents to improve services from the site’s internet provider,
but there is a perception that it faces limitations in operation:
“…our biggest stumbling block at the moment is getting new people on board to start to
take on responsibilities [who] are willing and able to do that…” (S16)
, critical services are provided on-site. Management and maintenance of those services
is conducted through the WestWyck Owners’ Corporation (WOC). The WOC institutionalises the ability
for individual households to influence governance of the site overall (at one scale) and also acts with the
legal authority to represent households when dealing with other organisations (at another scale). Because
system faults affecting residents have occurred on-site (with the exception of blackouts and potable water
shortages), WOC has been able to act effectively on behalf of residents to address problems.
Clear lines of responsibility:
Knowing who is responsible for system governance, operation and
maintenance was a key factor in determining system resilience and the efficacy with which system faults
were addressed. As articulated by one respondent, a sense of responsibility is important:
“…to have influence can be different, very different to when you see people who’re
actually in some level responsible for things… I find if they are responsible [as] opposed to
thinking that they can have influence … people seem to be a lot more resilient.” (S10)
At Aurora, many stakeholders expressed different opinions of where responsibility lay and how
responsibilities changing over time are affected by initial contractual arrangements. As one respondent
“the infrastructure’s [typically] planned and agreed upon through the developer
contributions, so the project is then budgeted on those developer contributions so
sometimes there can be a difficulty around changing or responding to things...the
difficulty is that its agreed with such a huge project over a long period of time …and then
things change, needs change, demands change, the type of community that develops is
different, so it can be difficult to find flexibility within it…” (S10)
Where knowledge and understanding of responsibilities are limited, this increases residents’ vulnerability
and reduces their capacity to cope with system failures and disturbances. It increases transaction costs for
information exchange and delays response times when problems occur.