Page 44 - Final Report-8 NO TRANSPARENCY

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Resilient urban systems:
a socio-technical study of community scale climate change adaptation initiatives
In identifying certain features of context that shape householders’ options and responses to disturbance,
this section highlights the potential outcomes of a lack of coordination between the role and activities
of the house designer, the house builder, the system designer, and the system installer. The design and
installation decisions these stakeholders make ultimately determine the lived experience of the householder.
An absence of coordination and alignment of design and performance features between each of these
elements increases the likelihood of unexpected and possibly maladaptive outcomes.
The level of agency, influence and control that householders have in dealing with issues and disturbances
has emerged as a significant enabler of resilience. In this respect, the following two factors have been
identified through this research as contributing to agency:
• Community organisation and system governance
• Co-management
Community organisation and system governance
The significance of agency for the adaptive capacity and resilience of communities to climate-related and
other disturbances, lies in the effect it has of closing the gap between system elements and increasing
feedback and response times (Cox, 1998). Where householders and communities are more detached and
isolated from the spheres of technical and institutional control, they may be less able to articulate or manage
system issues. Agency bestows householders and communities with a level of control or a ‘voice’, which
introduces a mechanism for feedback from the bottom-up as well as top-down and thereby increases
overall system resilience (Tompkins and Adger, 2003).
“In the context of climate change, many potential risks necessarily involve intervention and planning by the
state, yet adaptation strategies are equally dependent on the ability of individuals and communities to act
collectively in the face of risks”
(Adger, 2003)
The capacities to self-organise and act collectively appear to be essential pre-requisites of agency
(Carpenter et al., 2001, Trosper, 2002, Adger, 2003). On the basis of these criteria, it is possible to assess
the potential for effective agency at both Aurora and WestWyck.
At Aurora, institutional arrangements are characterised by a large number of stakeholders and a clear
separation between the householder as the customer and receiver, and the developer, builders, contractors,
utilities and local government as providers. Given this separation, it is unsurprising that there was a gap
between householders expectations and outcomes, and attribution or responsibility towards providers
rather than the community:
“My perception was, okay VicUrban [Places Victoria] they show you all the recycled
water and the conception of alternative systems but when you step out from there, you
just going in the business way, luxuries. They definitely didn’t differentiate. I don’t know
like maybe they did use it [environmental materials] but they didn’t mention it. I think also
the fact is, maybe they tried to keep the prices down in this area so they probably made
assumptions about what people wanted to know.” (A4)
“I think they [the builders] were more about quality and luxury [of additional fittings and
fixtures] than the environment, the environment was not the main point.” (A3)
“They weren’t really pushing green or not pushing green: the choice you had was, you
could have the normal lights or you could have the down lights, and we didn’t really like
the standard lights that they were putting in so we just upgraded. And we upgraded the
whole house pretty much with everything.” (A5)