Page 46 - Final Report-8 NO TRANSPARENCY

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Resilient urban systems:
a socio-technical study of community scale climate change adaptation initiatives
For significant issues, householders use the OC so that the nature and extent of the problem, and its
implications for the whole community can be assessed. Decisions tend to be arrived at collectively and the
implications, in terms of cost or otherwise, shared appropriately. This level of agency:
• Increases householders’ capacity to share knowledge with other householders;
• Creates clarity around who is responsible:
• Allows opportunities to identify issues across the community
• Provides the means for a collective and ‘louder’ voice to act on behalf of a larger group and activate/
enable timely response; and
• Reduces the burden on individual householders’ time and finances in having to individually bear the
costs of any action.
The capacities to self-organise and act collectively may be largely dependent on the community, however,
the institutions involved must be prepared to interact, listen and receive this ‘action’ to create a situation
where “synergistic social capital and inclusive decision-making institutions promote the sustainability and
legitimacy of any adaptation strategy” (Adger, 2003; (Smith and Stirling, 2008).
Co-management refers to
“collective control and responsibility for the management of resources”
(Strengers, 2011)
and is an institutional arrangement said to
“promote[s] the adaptive capacity of societies
to cope with climate change”
(Adger, 2003).
Research has shown not only that reconfiguring systems to require mutual control and responsibility is more
likely to engage householders in less resource-intensive practices, but also that this approach can potentially
change the underlying conditions by which resource provision and consumption take place (Strengers,
2011). In this paper, Strengers highlights the potential for this paradigm shift towards the ‘co-management
of everyday practices’ to become an enabler of technical and institutional, as well as social resilience.
WestWyck is an example where co-management of the systems of provision provides householders
with greater agency over their operation and maintenance than has been demonstrated by more typical
development provision models. Beyond WestWyck, it is possible to envisage systems within which existing
practices are reconfigured. In such a system:
relationship of co-management dominates, whereby carriers and facilitators of everyday practices
are mutually and collectively responsible for their composition and enactment in everyday life. Flexible and
interchangeable roles emerge across multiple scales. Householders and communities co-manage practices
within the context of the household, through their interactions with others, and with reference to their
relationship with utilities, government and materials infrastructures”
. (Strengers, 2011)
A proponent of co-management as a way of expanding the possibilities for adapting to climate change,
Adger (2003) suggests that
“building successful collective actions, possibly in the form of co-management
arrangements for natural resources can enhance the resilience of communities, as can maintaining
ecosystem services and ecosystem resilience.”
This section has shown that social enablers of resilience are inextricably linked with the design and
implementation of the technical infrastructure and the institutional arrangements surrounding it. The three
elements cannot be separated if maladaptive responses to alternative systems, designed to improve
resilience to climate changes and other disturbances, are to be avoided.