Updated: Aug 24, 2020
You have talked about connectivity, diversity and redundancy as factors that make a system resilient. However, even if we design the system with an optimal links and diversity and redundancy of nodes, would that be enough to say that the system is resilient? When we are talking about the urban governance system, we all know that challenges that this system faces are constantly changing. It something as a “perfect structure” of the system even possible? Isn’t that an oxymoron, because perfection implies one single state, rigidity, which we have definitely learn is not working very well in any system.
That is the core of the resilience thinking, yes. There’s no perfect solution or perfect structure of a system’s network that will guaranty resilience. It’s all about ability to adapt to inner and outer change. And for that we need to constantly update existing knowledge, awareness about the circumstances in the system, and maintain desired functions through the phases of disturbance and change. That can only be achieved by constant learning in the system. Prior to learning we need to be able to create new knowledge. And here is the trick: there is no way to create new knowledge if we are not able to constantly re-evaluate existing knowledge, internalised values, and old understandings of a system.
That’s why you’ve mentioned before that “stimulating learning processes” is one of the basic guidelines to design a resilient system.
Exactly. If you don’t learn to swim in a wild water, you drown. We all know that the history hasn’t been very kind to any rigid political or social system.
Luckily for us. But again it is clear that it is important to constantly learn, leave behind the concepts that no longer work. But is it possible to apply this thinking when dealing with the city governance processes? Or with any other social group, for that matter?
It is possible, and I’ll tell you now about a model I see as very hopeful. One of the key approaches to manage systems that aim to support learning is called adaptive governance. This concept has gained recognition as a framework for managing systems in which learning is considered central.