Resilient New Zealand

Visionweek NZ 2020 – day four

Visionweek NZ 2020 - day four

Visionweek - Some of the best and brightest minds from across NZ and the globe envision what the new New Zealand could look like.

Quality Living

One core theme to emerge from today’s discussion was the importance of community and the need to put people at the centre of all our infrastructure decisions, whether it be housing, transportation systems or electricity networks.

The idea of the 20-minute city, already being tested in Sydney and Paris, promotes the design of communities where education, healthcare, shopping and work are all within a 20-minute walk or bike.  Could this be the future blueprint for decentralised cities?

A number of the speakers spoke about housing and urban design and the importance of creating safe places for people to gather and connect and develop a sense of community. Sir Peter Gluckman noted the need to reduce the depth of control of bureaucracies on vulnerable people and enable communities to support themselves.

The importance of achieving quality living sustainably was also noted. Kate Boylan encouraged us to work with what we have instead of always focussing on building new.  Kirsti Luke and Tamati Kruger spoke of new design that exists in harmony with the environment: net zero water, energy, waste.

The newly established infrastructure Commission has been tasked with the job of developing a 30-year infrastructure strategy for New Zealand.  Community and wellbeing is at the centre of their thinking.  Their challenge – to balance the need for bold changes with strategies that are achievable and affordable.

Jon Grayson (CEO, InfraCom) noted the need to develop an infrastructure strategy that builds agility into our infrastructure systems.  Agility and infrastructure are traditionally quite juxtaposed.  So how can this be achieved?  We’ve been working with the critical infrastructure community since we began in 2004.  Over that time we’ve seen a gradual shift from infrastructure as an asset to infrastructure as a community service.  NZTA now see their role as ‘connecting people’ rather than building and managing roads.  Auckland Transport are focussed on ‘easy journeys’.  We need to take the next step and, working with community, design the next generation of infrastructure.

When we think about the resilience, adaptability, and agility of our built infrastructure we need to radically shift our thinking.  Are our centralised infrastructure systems suitable for the high change world we live in?  Do we invest in upgrading old systems or invest in new decentralised systems (grid electricity to household generation)?  How can we design houses that are adaptable to the changing needs of our communities?  Can we build transport systems that meet today’s transportation preferences with tomorrow in mind?

We need to be testing our decisions against multiple futures to ensure they are robust in the face of uncertainty.  We need to involve diverse stakeholders to get creative and relevant ideas.  We need to create an enabling regulatory environment that empowers new ideas and allows us to rapidly respond to disruptions and take advantage of opportunities that emerge through new technologies or crises.  And of course, community and wellbeing must be at the heart.

Visit #visionweekNZ for details of the speakers and to listen to webinar.

Visionweek NZ 2020 – day three

Visionweek NZ 2020 - day three

Sustaining NZ

The COVID-19 response demonstrated New Zealand’s leadership. Our leaders looked at the science and took early and decisive action to address the threat. We need to extend this approach to address other sustainability threats and opportunities that we face. That was the overarching message that we took from Wednesday’s Vision Week webinar entitled “Sustaining NZ”.

The initial COVID-19 recovery investment needed to be quick and relatively coarse – there simply wasn’t time to do otherwise. Subsequent waves of investment can and need to be more considered and nuanced. By applying a sustainability lens to our COVID-19 recovery actions we can ensure the very substantial investment being made is truly no regrets, maximises the benefits for future generations (from whom we are borrowing) and avoid locking us into costly or unsustainable pathways.

The speakers highlighted that while climate change is less dire in the short term, the long-term consequences are severe. Like COVID-19, the science is sufficiently clear, and the benefits sufficiently obvious, that early action is warranted. We need to address both emissions and adaptation to the effects, such as rising sea levels, more severe weather events (floods, droughts, wind) and bio-security threats. Failure to act will only increase the long term economic, social and environmental costs.

The opportunities for improving sustainability apply across the board, including infrastructure (three waters, transport, energy) as well as natural based systems such as agriculture and tourism were all spoken about. The point was made that businesses that embrace sustainability tend to be more profitable, in part because they are more forward looking and better prepared to take up opportunities.

A strategic approach is needed. Some investment decisions are easy and obvious – such as home insulation that delivers multiple benefits to the nation as well as home occupants. In some cases, wise investment may mean delaying large long-term investment decisions to ensure we are not locking ourselves into short-term fixes that we have worse outcomes in the longer term (Dr Carr gave the replacement on the Cook Straight ferries as an example).

Several speakers highlighted that changes are already starting and the need to stay ahead of the pack. Kirsti Luke and Tāmiti Kruger gave an example of looking at overseas technology and applying it locally. Similarly, Ian Proudfoot and Alan Sutherland emphasised the need to learn from others. NZ is blessed with resources and opportunities. We need to get creative, use local knowledge and innovation but also draw from overseas experiences and expertise to inspire and stretch our imagination and creativity. This cannot be left to Government, businesses are critical to this.

Much of the discussion was related to managing risk. This includes ensuring our investments are ‘no regret’ options.  It also means addressing issues such as the vulnerability of our supply chains highlighted during COVID-19, as mentioned by Alison Andrews. Being prepared for, and resilient to, low probability but high consequence events, such as pandemics, are part of being sustainable.

Leadership, consensus and a long-term approach is needed. The role of iwi in providing a long-term perspective was noted, as was the need to avoid the short-termism of the three year election cycle. Our sustainable future can be built on the shared values and vision that allowed us to lead the world in our COVID-19 response.

For us the speakers highlighted the tight coupling between resilience and sustainability.  To be sustainable and meet the challenges of climate change we need to be resilient to disruption, as well as be adaptable to a changing world.  We need to be inclusive, innovative, open to opportunity, flexible, and we need to move together towards a clear and common goal.

Go to #visionweekNZ to see details of the speakers and to listen to webinar.

Visionweek NZ 2020 – day two

Visionweek NZ 2020 - day two

Connecting NZ

Day two of #visionweekNZ highlighted the opportunities present in our tourism, technology and transport sectors to connect and create a future proof New Zealand. From new technological innovations in tourism that enables people to virtually bungy jump from their couch (if you haven’t done it yet, try it here!) to improved connectiveness in our technology and infrastructure sectors to enable better planned developments that address the needs of digital equity and lower carbon transport options.

COVID-19 is seen to provide a great opportunity to these sectors in enabling them to stop and reflect on past issues, lessons learnt during lockdown, and how they see the future of their sectors.

Although currently in survive mode, the tourism sector is embracing the opportunity to create a more sustainable tourism sector that reflects New Zealanders values including a larger emphasis on being more inclusive of community needs, a more restorative approach to nature and increased productivity.  One suggestion included moving from a profit-based, input-output model to a cooperative closed system model that is a partnership between community, environmental and industry groups.

Highlighted was the timing New Zealand is offered during COVID to rethink their infrastructure networks in tourism hotspots so that they better meet the needs of both the community and international tourists whether that be increased connectivity in mobile coverage or congestion on roads. The ability and willingness to reflect, learn and grow from experiences is the sign of resilience in an organisation/industry sector.

In technology, the focus is on how this newfound flexibility in how we work can be harnessed and integrated with wellbeing and physical connection to create a better work environment to all. This is along with utilising our innovation and creativity as entrepreneurial kiwis to develop new technologies that can be shared on a world stage, whether it is on or off planet (how many of you thought of the satellite networks that made it possible for your daily zoom calls?!). Innovation and people, two core tenants of a resilience paradigm, again at the forefront of conversations about our post COVID future.

The infrastructure sector is working towards being able to offer more choice of lower carbon options to communities either by the electrification of aviation and rail or by well thought out approach to developments to ensure there is a greater focus on being more walkable and community focussed. Also highlighted was the need within the sector to connect better and become less fragmented in order to produce more integrated solutions for New Zealand.

Many of these key lessons covered key resilience themes.  This included innovation and creativity to change what we were doing to what we want to do, breaking down silos and engaging in effective partnerships outside your own sectors to create more integrated approaches, and how we proactively position ourselves to meet the post-COVID future and ensure we are creating a New Zealand we want that is futureproof.

#visionweekNZ

Bumpy roads to reconstruction

Bumpy roads to reconstruction

In the latest issue of BRANZ's Build Magazine, a recent QuakeCoRE project involving researchers from Resilient Organisations, the University of Auckland and Market Economics, address the question of what differentiates the earthquake rebuilding timeline of Christchurch from other places like Kobe following the 1995 Great Hanshin earthquake and Los Angeles following the 1994 Northridge earthquake?

To find the answer, and to assist in improving the ability to resource future construction, the project team looked at the progress of restoring and rebuilding homes, infrastructure facilities and commercial buildings in Christchurch following the 2010/11 Canterbury earthquakes.

The longitudinal study of earthquake recovery in Christchurch suggested there is a delay in construction demand landing for real construction, which caused incorrect demand perception. Therefore, three essential components should be considered by the government agency and construction industry bodies taking the lead on disaster recovery for future disaster reconstruction planning:

  • A real-time, transparent, cross-sector construction information and intelligence reporting system – not using lagging metrics – that can be publicly accessible, especially for construction businesses.
  • Reduced lead time from intentions of spending to real construction.
  • Increased visibility of construction pipelines.

Read the full article

Queenstown Tourism Operators getting prepared

Queenstown Tourism Operators getting prepared

By Erica Seville (Resilient Organisations) and Trevor Andrews (Emergency Management Otago)
May 2019

This month, Erica Seville, spent an afternoon with the Queenstown Lakes district TORQUE group.  TORQUE (which stands for Tourism Operator Responders of Queenstown), brings together the largest tourism operators in the district, along with the Department of Conservation, the Queenstown Lakes District Council, and Emergency Management Otago, to collectively address the challenge of looking after up to 75,000 visitors in a major disaster.  These visitors underpin the district’s economic prosperity, but also create one of Otago’s biggest challenges in planning for a major event response.  In peak summer and winter periods, there can be up to two visitors for every local in area!

TORQUE members have committed to planning to look after their clients as well as their staff in a major event.  This includes making provision to shelter clients “in place” if necessary, and providing logistical support for moving and possibly evacuating affected people and communities.  This is underpinned by ensuring that their own staff are well prepared and trained for emergencies, and that their business continuity plans are thorough and well exercised.

In her session with the TORQUE group, Erica focused on practical strategies to use within their own organisations, and collectively as a sector, to build engagement and momentum for resilience building activities, and prioritise areas of focus.  “A well-prepared Tourism Operators sector can be a fantastic resource for the region.  They have a fleet of helicopters, 4WD vehicles, boats, and radio communications, as well as trained staff used to dealing with people and operating in extreme and often remote conditions.  There are also opportunities to leverage the skills and capabilities of visitors in the area at the time of an event.   Thinking through, in advance, how to appropriately tap into this visitor resource shifts our frame of reference from seeing visitors as a logistical challenge, to being a potential opportunity for supporting the Queenstown Lakes region during response and recovery.”

Ellie Kay shortlisted for GRRN Young Researchers Award

Ellie Kay shortlisted for GRRN Young Researcher Award

Congratulations to Ellie Kay for being one of just five young researchers invited to compete for the Global Resilience Research Network (GRRN) Young Researchers Award.

Ellie has been invited to attend the GRRN summit in Freiburg, Germany in April to present her research. The GRRN Young Researchers Trophy will be judged and awarded at the summit.

Read Ellie’s research abstract

Expert Opinions on New Zealand Resilience Index

Expert opinions on the New Zealand Resilience Index

The Trajectories Toolbox of the Resilience to Nature’s Challenges Kia manawaroa – Ngā Ākina o Te Ao Tūroa National Science Challenge (RNC-NSC) has been working on the development of the New Zealand Resilience Index (NZRI), which measures place-based community resilience. The index uses a multi-capital model, including indicators of resilience in the built and natural environment, social, cultural, governance, and economic domains. However, some indicators of resilience may contribute more to the measurement of resilience outcomes than others. To understand this, we conducted an expert weighting exercise, eliciting the views of resilience and disaster risk reduction academics and practitioners working in New Zealand.

Indicators relating to the built environment were ranked as the most important, with building safety and functionality following a disruption weighted most highly (11.7%). This was closely followed by network infrastructure resilience (11.5%). Indicators related to social and human capital were also rated relatively high, with levels of community networks and sense of belonging and personal resilience capacities of individuals contributing 11.3% and 10.5% respectively. Indicators in the cultural and natural environment spaces were deemed as contributing less to resilience outcomes than built and social indicators. Experts weighted the item heritage and culture are valued and preserved as contributing the least (4.7%), followed by community access to shelters and welfare (5.3%), and availability of natural buffers (6.2%).

 

Table 1. Indicators and indicator weights following the expert weighting exercise.

 

Capital Indicator Part-worth utility
Built Buildings safety and functionality following a disruption* 11.7%
Built Network infrastructure resilience (roads, electricity, water and waste water) 11.5%
Social Levels of community networks and sense of belonging 11.3%
Social Personal resilience capacities of individuals (e.g., education, physical and mental wellbeing) 10.5%
Gov. Health system response capacity 8.9%
Econ. Household capacity to cope with economic disruption 8.9%
Gov. Quality of legislation and plans addressing hazards 8.0%
DRR Household emergency preparedness 6.7%
Econ. Economic diversity (businesses from several different sectors) 6.4%
Natural Availability of natural buffers (e.g., green space, undeveloped flood plains) 6.2%
DRR Community access to shelters and welfare centres* 5.3%
Culture Heritage and culture are valued and preserved 4.7%
* indicator not currently included in the NZRI due to a lack of nationally consistent data

Perhaps one of the more interesting weightings was the comparatively low level of importance given to community access to shelters and welfare centres. However, this could be explained by the higher rating of buildings safety and functionality following a disruption as arguably shelters are less likely to be needed if buildings are safe and functional following an event. It is a reactive rather than a preventative contributor to resilience capacities. The weights of all indicators included in the expert weighting exercise are outlined fully in Table 1.

Download full bulletin

If you have any questions or comments about this bulletin please contact Dr Joanne Stevenson, [email protected].

Resilience to nature’s challenges researchers want to make resilience visible

Resilience to nature’s challenges researchers want to make resilience visible

The human brain processes information visually. How can we help people see resilience? Stories. Photos. Displaying layers of data on a map.

The trajectories toolbox has ammased a bank of over 400 indicators that have been used to capture some aspect of resilience to disruption in the complex systems that make up life in New Zealand. Seeing-the-invisbleThese indicators are being matched to available data and will be geocoded in a way that will allow us to see the differences across space and time.

As the saying goes “what gets measured gets done”. When communities are able to set targets and track their progress it motivates action. Researchers, communities, and resilience practitioners will be able to mine existing public data in a resilience context to assess their strengths, weaknesses, assets, and capabilities. The trajectories toolbox will also continue to work across the challenge working with community based co-creation partners and with Government players needing to track progress toward the National Resilience Plan and the Sendai Framework for Action.

Read more about the Resilience to Nature's Challenge Resilience Trajectories Toolbox Project

Creating future ready farm businesses

Creating future ready farm businesses

Earlier this month, the North Canterbury Drought Response Committee, in collaboration with Resilient Organisations and Fraser Pastoral, held a workshop for a group of farmers in the Hurunui District of Canterbury.

The workshop focused on how farmers could build their capacity now to navigate future turbulence.

Farmers in North Canterbury have recently faced serious adversity with a three-year drought, earthquakes, and shifting public perceptions of farming. The workshop was a chance for farmers to take time out from their day-to day operations and focus on big picture strategy. It gave them tools to change their approach to future disruptions from setbacks to opportunities for innovation and growth. The attendees came with open minds, generated thoughtful discussion, and demonstrated a clear readiness and growing capacity to lead their businesses into the future.

Read the report from the workshop

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