Page 55 - Final Report-8 NO TRANSPARENCY

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Resilient urban systems:
a socio-technical study of community scale climate change adaptation initiatives
7. Conclusions
This pilot project has identified a wide range of technical, social and institutional enablers as influencing
system resilience. Qualitative research focusing on two community-scale systems in Melbourne, one
community-led and the other developer-led, has identified a gap in resilience assessment and proposes an
approach that emphasises matching infrastructure system designs with an expected degree of uncertainty,
through the analysis and incorporation of technical, institutional and social enablers.
Aurora, the developer-led system, and WestWyck, the community-led system, provide examples of
innovative energy and water supply systems operating at different scales and locations. These were
selected for the study following a survey of systems in Phase 1. It is important to note that while both
systems have been in place for similar periods of time (less than a decade) they do exhibit key differences
beyond the configurations of alternative energy and water systems. Firstly, Aurora is a much larger scale
development and secondly, it is established in an outer fringe setting. In contrast, Westwyck is within an
inner urban setting, and is occupied by households who in general are at more established life stages.
These and other differences limit direct comparisons of performance and indicate the need for further
research involving more cases from which to generalise patterns and findings (see below).
The adaptive and maladaptive practices of householders living with alternative systems under each type of
institutional/governance arrangement was examined in Phase 2. The implications for resilience were found
to be that; householders’ knowledge (both learned and shared), their context in terms of priorities, finances
and the design of the house/systems, and finally their capacity for agency, through community organisation
and collective action, are significant enablers of resilience. Of all the social enablers, community cohesion, or
social capital, emerged as a notable mechanism that is able to ameliorate certain technical and institutional
challenges to system resilience, and supports long-term system resilience.
The different organisational arrangements surrounding both systems were identified in Phase 3. In providing
for system resilience, this research established the importance of adaptive, integrated and inclusive design
and management models, with clear lines of responsibility and cross-scale interaction.
The implications of wider uptake of these systems a discussed in Section 5.4, with the key outcome being
a framework to address uncertainty. Preliminary criteria to assist policy makers in evaluating the resilience
of new urban system options have been developed, with particular emphasis on the role of social adaption.
What emerges from this pilot study is clear evidence that community resilience is associated with a complex
interplay of technical and social factors. For policy, this means an emphasis upon social dimensions of
community development and capacity is as critical as the provision of appropriate technical infrastructure in
ensuring resilient urban systems in Victorian communities, in an era of climate variability.