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Designing Resilience

Designing Resilience

Edited by Louise K. Comfort, Arjen Boin, and Chris C. Demchak

Publication Year: 2010

Designing Resilience presents case studies of extreme events and analyzes the ability of affected individuals, institutions, governments, and technological systems to cope with disaster. This volume defines resilience as it relates to disaster management at specific stages: mitigation, prevention, preparation, and response and recovery. The book illustrates models by which to evaluate resilience at levels ranging from individuals to NGOs to governmental jurisdictions and examines how resilience can be developed and sustained. A group's or nation's ability to withstand events and emerge from them with their central institutions intact is at the core of resilience. Quality of response, capacity to improvise, coordination, flexibility, and endurance are also determinants. Individual case studies, including Hurricane Katrina in the United States, the London bombings, and French preparedness for the Avian flu, demonstrate effective and ineffective strategies. The contributors reveal how the complexity and global interconnectivity of modern systems-whether they are governments, mobile populations, power grids, financial systems, or the Internet-have transcended borders and created a new level of exposure that has made them especially vulnerable to extreme events. Yet these far-reaching global systems also possess the ability to alert and respond at greater speeds than ever before. The authors also analyze specific characteristics of resilient systems--the qualities they possess and how they become resilient-to determine if there are ways to build a system of resilience from the ground up. As such, Designing Resilience will inform a broad range of students and scholars in areas of public administration, public policy, and the social sciences.

Published by: University of Pittsburgh Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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Tables and Figures

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

This project has its origins in two small international workshops organized around the intriguing topic of resilience. The University of Pittsburgh hosted the first workshop, Managing Extreme Events: Transatlantic Perspectives, held on March 3–4, 2006...

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1. The Rise of Resilience

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pp. 1-12

Resilience has become a fashionable buzzword in recent years. The term is frequently found in many different discourses, ranging from the sports pages (resilient teams overcoming late-game deficits) to the international news (the war in Iraq), from reports of natural disasters...

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2. Resilience Exploring the Concept and Its Meanings

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pp. 13-32

The term resilience has many meanings in academic discourse. It is derived from the Latin word resilio, meaning “to jump back” (Klein, Nicholls, and Thomalla 2003, 35; Manyena 2006, 433). In physics and engineering, resilience refers to “the ability of a material to return to its former shape after a deformation”...

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3. Designing Adaptive Systems for Disaster Mitigation and Response The Role of Structure

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pp. 33-61

The concept of resilience, defined here as the “capacity for collective action in the face of unexpected extreme events that shatter infrastructure and disrupt normal operating conditions,” is characterized by experienced researchers as involving the mental processes of sense-making (Weick 1995), improvisation (Mendonça, Beroggi, and Wallace 2001), innovation (see Demchak‘s chapter in this volume),...

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4. Lessons from the Military Surprise, Resilience, and the Atrium Model

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pp. 62-83

Nations run as effectively as their underlying critical systems. Deleterious surprises can trigger breakdowns as unexpectedly linked events cascade into catastrophes. The continuous operation of these critical infrastructures in the face of surprise and disruption depends on collective knowledge systems and the willingness to act in concert...

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5. Building Resilience Macrodynamic Constraints on Governmental Response to Crises

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pp. 84-105

When societies suffer substantial losses as the result of some calamity, it is natural to wonder whether the harm might have been avoided and how similar harms can be avoided in the future. In this volume, the problem is expressed in terms of societal resilience...

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6. Federal Disaster Policy Learning, Priorities, and Prospects for Resilience

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pp. 106-128

This chapter considers the extent to which federal-level “learning” from disaster experience yields policy changes that enhance disaster resilience at the local level. There is evidence of learning from experience at the state and federal levels after major natural disasters (Birkland 2006); that is, disaster policy changes and in some ways improves based on disaster experience...

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7. Designing Resilience Leadership Challenges in Complex Administrative Systems

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pp. 129-142

It is widely perceived, in both academic and practitioner circles, that largescale systems have become increasingly vulnerable to catastrophic breakdowns (Clarke 1999; Rosenthal, Boin, and Comfort 2001b; Quarantelli, Lagadec, and Boin 2006; Perrow 2007)...

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8. Rapid Adaptation to Threat The London Bombings of July 7, 2005

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pp. 143-157

On a damp and unseasonably cool Thursday in July 2005, bombs set off by suicide terrorists exploded at four locations in the center of London. Exactly two weeks later, technical faults in bomb-making were the only factor that stopped a second wave of outrages from convulsing the city. If the bombs destined to be exploded on July 21 had gone off...

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9. The Price of Resilience Contrasting the Theoretical Ideal-Type with Organizational Reality

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pp. 158-179

When asked how he had maintained performance in the face of overwhelming adversity, a control room shift manager of the California electricity grid answered: “I have six words: By. The. Seat. Of. Our. Pants.” According to most definitions, the shift manager’s organization had demonstrated remarkable resilience...

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10. Planning for Catastrophe How France Is Preparing for the Avian Flu and What It Means for Resilience

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pp. 180-195

We are witnessing the emergence of new threats with fairly specific characteristics. The scale on which they unfold is wide and increasingly global. Their effects can be ascribed to specific agents or events as much as to vulnerabilities peculiar to today’s societies. Health threats top the list of these future threats...

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11. The Limits of Self-Reliance International Cooperation as a Source of Resilience

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pp. 196-219

In late August 2005, Hurricane Katrina bore down on the Gulf Coast of the United States. Katrina caused severe and catastrophic damage. In addition to ripping homes open and destroying power lines in Mississippi and Louisiana, the storm breached two levees in the city of New Orleans (Seed et al. 2005)...

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12. International Disaster Resilience Preparing for Transnational Disaster

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pp. 220-243

On Monday, April 6, 2009, at approximately 3:30 in the morning, the Abruzzo mountain region of Central Italy was shaken by an earthquake that measured 6.3 on the Richter scale (U.S. Geological Survey 2009). Nestled within a lush valley, and surrounded by the Apennine Mountains, is L’Aquila, the capital city of the Abruzzo region and home to more than seventy thousand Italian citizens...

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13. Designing Resilient Systems Integrating Science, Technology, and Policy in International Risk Reduction

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pp. 244-271

When a massive earthquake, measuring 9.3 moment magnitude on the Richter scale of earthquake intensity, occurred on December 26, 2004, at 7:58 a.m. (local time) off the western coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, it triggered not only a devastating tsunami wave that struck coastal communities in twelve nations around the Indian Ocean basin but also a wave of concern, interest, and commitment in the global...

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14. Resilience Revisited An Action Agenda for Managing Extreme Events

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pp. 272-284

In the early spring of 2009, the city of Fargo, North Dakota, came under threat of the rapidly rising Red River. Flood threats occur periodically as the snow melts up north and spring rains are heavier than usual. The citizens of Fargo thus know what a flooding Red River can do. As the river rose higher than ever before, the people of Fargo sprang into action. In a remarkable display of perseveranc...


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pp. 285-294


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pp. 295-328


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pp. 329-334


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pp. 335-349

E-ISBN-13: 9780822973706
E-ISBN-10: 0822973707
Print-ISBN-13: 9780822960614
Print-ISBN-10: 0822960613

Page Count: 360
Publication Year: 2010