Page 57 - Final Report-8 NO TRANSPARENCY

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Resilient urban systems:
a socio-technical study of community scale climate change adaptation initiatives
Adaptive capacity:
The ability of technical, institutional and social components of a system to learn and
adjust in response to a disturbance in order to maintain a desired outcome or change the nature of the
desired outcome. Adaptive capacity is vital to a system’s ability to increase or decrease its resilience. Two
closely related concepts are ‘maladaptation’ and ‘transformation’.
Where a particular response - social, technical or institutional, to an actual or predicted
disturbance weakens the system’s overall resilience by exacerbating the impacts and/or hindering
The capacity of a system to absorb, adjust to or avoid shocks and disturbance without losing
basic structures, functions or identity. The level of resilience in a system is an outcome of interactions
between system components and the contextual environment. Resilience is therefore a dynamic state that
can increase or decrease over time in response to changes in any one or more components. Resilience
incorporates the concepts of adaptive capacity and transformation. A system’s resilience therefore depends
on its ability to avoid maladaptation and successfully adapt or transform to maintain a desired outcome
or change the nature of the desired outcome. Resilience is a critical area of leverage for reducing system
A coherent arrangement of complex interacting components. For the purposes of this project, the
systems in focus are the technical, social (which includes householders and communities) and institutional
components and functions that together provide water and energy resources and services.
A system’s ability to change itself. May involve a deliberate change to structures, functions
or identity, i.e. achieving a system ‘transformation’. Transformation reflects a very high degree of adaptation,
despite the loss of original system identity, provided this process is deliberate and results in desired
: Shaped by the exposure, sensitivity and resilience of the person, system or community in
focus, where exposure relates to the nature of disturbance encountered or projected, sensitivity refers to the
technical and design characteristics of the system (e.g. location, durability, stress limits,) and resilience is a
function of social, technical and institutional factors that determine what options are available to respond to