Page 36 - Final Report-8 NO TRANSPARENCY

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Resilient urban systems:
a socio-technical study of community scale climate change adaptation initiatives
“[the level of] empowerment and disempowerment is really, really important [to getting problems solved].
Unless responsibility is clearly defined, people often don’t take it on to do things.”
“In a WestWyck, there’ll be a very high level of shared responsibility. So, if somebody sees something that
really needs to be nipped in the bud straight away, they’re likely as not to either get on and do it in a physical
way or get onto it, in getting the right person to know that it needs to happen.”
“When you move to the next level, like Aurora… sometimes community wants to do
something but often it feels disempowered. Like: ‘that swale outside my place, that silt
needs to be stopped, … what do I do, is that my responsibility, or do I ring up the council,
but when I ring up the council, they seems to be awfully slow in responding’, or ... they
don’t see it as being an important issue in the scale of all the other things.” (S15)
At WestWyck, the clarification of responsibilities was assisted and formalised through the creation of the
WOC. As one respondent noted:
“Here is a community… who to varying degrees share things. Sharing things mean
they’ve got collective responsibility. That means decisions about the administration of
those systems needs to take account of some sort of decision making process and…
formality to that.” (S3)
However, while responsibility is clearly defined at WestWyck, it is shared and not rigidly enforced. Residents,
the developers and the Owners Corporation can all take action to address a system fault, but will ensure
that the other stakeholders are informed:
“At WestWyck, you’ve got a community there, that is well educated in the sense of
collective responsibility; obligations to consider other people: ‘we’re in this together’ …
they all know they’re reliant on each other doing the right thing.” (S3)
Feedback mechanism:
A distinct difference between the systems at WestWyck and Aurora was the
different relative capacity for problems to be easily detected and acted on. At Aurora, a lack of community
cohesion, clear lines of responsibility and effective links between residents and the institutions they rely on
for their services means that when problems occurred and were detected, the path for information to reach
the responsible organisations was slow, needed to be re-routed or never occurred.
In contrast, at WestWyck, connections between residents and between residents and the WOC are effective
and rapid:
“[if there’s a problem] they yell, and when you yell the people closest hear you first.” (S3)
In addition to phone calls, residents have access to decision-makers and each other through formal
meetings, and group emails. Residents are also linked through an interactive internet portal where people
can register issues, as a result:
“Everyone is aware of any communication going on.” (S3)
Embedded learning and experience:
While not easily identified, the history of experience and learning
embedded within the water and development industry and individual stakeholders was expressed as a
significant contributor to system resilience at both sites.
For example, at Aurora, the water treatment system uses well-tested technologies
and incorporates a long history of water management experience. The water utility’s
risk management experience was also a key factor in its ability to adapt and apply the
HCCCP (Hazard analysis and critical control points) procedure (developed for food safety)
to assess risks from recycled water services specifically for Aurora (S5).