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Infrastructure Resilience Conference 2018

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Rethinking Risk — Towards Transformational Resilience

The concept of risk allows for the evaluation of an uncertain outcome, in terms of probability and severity. Resilience describes the capacity to survive, successfully adapt, and prosper in the face of change and uncertainty related to disturbances, whether they be caused by stresses and/or acute events. Therefore, resilience presents itself as a useful concept to frame pre-emptive approaches to deal with risk. We propose a set of nine resilience lenses grouped in three dimensions or levels. Structural resilience encompasses redundancy, modularity, and requisite diversity. Integrative resilience emphasises the complex interconnections between the primary system and its environment, where multi-scale interaction, thresholds, and social capital are key elements of understanding. Finally, transformative resilience expands on the time scale with the aim to enhance transformability by exploring distributed governance, foresight capacity, and innovation and experimentation as enablers.

Prof David N. Bresch
ETH Zurich, Risk Center


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