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Adaptation

Structural Adaptivity Facilitation Examples - Part III

Here are my last three Facilitation Examples, proposed activities by planners and others to influence the development of the built environment toward structural adaptivity and resilience as we progress into an ever more uncertain and unpredictable future. 

 

Rethinking Homeownership.  Conventional owner-occupied land and buildings in the US many times tie the owners into long-term tenures.  It makes moves, to other locations, overly cumbersome even when such moves are in the occupants’ best interests.  Adaptivity requires the ability to make quicker changes than in the past, including the self-initiated movement of people and businesses to other locations when beneficial.  Alternative types of ownership or tenure must be facilitated, types which are more adaptable to quick change.

 

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Some Examples of Structural Adaptivity - Part III

 

Here are 4 more examples of structural adaptivity for resilience.  As with the other examples presented previously, they only are intended to illustrate the concept of structural adaptivity for resilience.  They are intended to focus on the structure or structural elements of cities and/or regions.  Moreover, they are intended to demonstrate how such structural elements can be located, organized, or otherwise developed to have capacity to adapt to the continuing needs of the citizens - as the unknown and rapidly changing future unfolds.

 

Polycentric Urban Development.  Urban development need no longer be monocentric (having only one center).  In fact, such a pattern is not adaptive to meet the future.

 

Central business districts have traditionally been the home of government, financial institutions, offices, civic plazas and the like, as well as many commercial retail and services.  They have also often contained many churches, health care facilities, educational institutions, libraries, museums, convention centers, theatres, etc.

 

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Risk and Risk Underwriting

In writing about the importance of promoting private enterprise, as well as in many other sections of my work, I suggested an almost near certainty that the risk management industry eventually will facilitate resilience and structural adaptivity in our built environment.  In my larger draft, I included a short section about this, which I am posting below (somewhat revised).  I believe it is beneficial to share this section now in order to explain my optimism for resilience. (I also wrote short sections on Time, Rapid Change, Optimism, A Futurist Perspective, and The Human Factor but do not necessarily intend to post them here.)

 

The future will be all about risk and trying to find protection from the rapidly increasing threats to our world as we advance in population size, social/cultural/economic complexity, and cutting-edge science and technology.  Risk underwriting will play a big role in how well or how poorly we adapt to accelerating change. 

 

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Structural Adaptivity Thinking

Here, I would like to explain more extensively my thinking about structural adaptivity as a critical aspect of resilience.  (In researching this subject, I was surprised by the lack of information/ideas conveniently available about the characteristics of adaptivity or adaptability. The following are my own preliminary conceptions.  I hope others will improve upon them.)

 

The world is changing so fast that our government, think tanks, universities and research institutions, business leaders, builders and developers, and “planners” have no hope of being able to keep up with it.  Many thinkers describe our world as actually undergoing rapidly accelerating change.  To be able to plan for the change, or even to be able to react to such transformation while it is happening, we need to do more than just keep up with it.  We need to jump out in front of it.

 

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Structural Adaptivity Facilitation Examples - Part II

Here are some more Facilitation Examples.  By Facilitation I am meaning general activities by planners, and others that cause or guide development, to influence the development of the built environment toward structural adaptivity as we progress into an ever more uncertain and unpredictable future.  Some might call them implementation strategies or “calls to action.”

 

These examples have not been identified or studied by teams of experts; they are only my personal ideas intended to illustrate possibilities.  Hopefully, however, they will convey a sense of the real prospects for structural adaptivity to be achieved.  I believe that structural adaptivity is critical to resilience over the long term.

 

Promote the Futurist Perspective.  With more attention in our society to the “futurist perspective,” sooner rather than later, such attention will also come to focus on the need for all forms of adaptivity, including structural adaptivity in our urban areas and regions.  Structural adaptivity is the most, if not only, logical approach to facing a future that now is uncertain, unpredictable and rapidly changing.

 

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Some Examples of Structural Adaptivity - Part II

Here are some more examples of how I propose that structural adaptivity could be applied as a leading principle for resilient development in the US over the next 20-50-100 years.  These are intended to support my conviction that structural adaptivity is the only logical approach to advancing our built environment for a rapidly changing, uncertain, unpredictable future.  I am hoping that others will review these concepts and propose their own personal and team-researched applications of the principle.

 

In re-balancing our nation, do so by major watersheds.  I propose that the re-balancing of our nation’s urban development (as I discussed before) should be based on the locations and characteristics of our major watersheds.  All major urban development regions should have a long-term dependable natural source of fresh water. 

 

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Conflicting Scenarios Exercise

I have been proposing that, rather than trying to foresee the future, we consider accepting and conducting further research on a much more fundamental, all-encompassing and long-term-resilient approach to our built environment.  I have been proposing that such an elemental approach should be structural adaptivity.  I believe that our world must and will give maximum adaptivity to the basic elements of our built environment to adjust to and meet our needs for the unpredictable, rapidly changing world over the next 50-100 years. 

 

 

In working on this, I conducted an Exercise.  I experimented with a number of different future conditions, or scenarios, that I think are quite possible.  The first two that drew my strongest concern were the conflicting scenarios of: (1) how planners might address our urban areas after global warming has abated – and the problem is continuous hot weather and more storms – as opposed to (2) how planners are now addressing the need to stop or slow down global warming.  I also experimented with additional scenarios that I do not think we are able to, presently, forecast accurately.  Most of them, however, I believe will surface eventually, in one way or another, and cause huge problems.

 

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SOME FACILITATION EXAMPLES FOR STRUCTURAL ADAPTIVITY

  

I believe that structural adaptivity will become generally accepted in our world even without conscious effort.  As change continues speeding up, and as planners, developers, futurists, risk managers, and many others come to recognize that change is coming at an accelerating rate and that the future is ever more uncertain and unpredictable, they will focus on adaptivity.  However, the longer we wait for people to realize this, the greater the chances are that much harm will occur that should have been avoided or mitigated by the resilience we should have been already building.

 

The facilitation strategies and techniques that I propose are primarily intended to show some logical possibilities.  Hopefully other people will be better able than I am to come up with the best ones. 

 

For now, I will present the full list of the possibilities that I have come up with and then present a discussion of a few of them. <!--break-->

 

My full list:

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Some Examples of Structural Adaptivity

 

As a follow-up to my post titled A New Approach, following below are several examples of how I propose that structural adaptivity should be applied as a guiding principle for future growth and development in the US.  As I explained before, I believe that structural adaptivity is the only logical approach to building our man-made environment for a rapidly changing, uncertain, unpredictable future.

 

Bus Rapid Transit.  Bus rapid transit (BRT) is a system of individual self-propelled vehicles (often several linked together) that can and do travel on conventional streets and highways, on dedicated lanes on surface streets, and/or on separate intersection-free busways dedicated to buses only.  Likewise, the rapid transit buses can leave their normal routes of travel and enter and leave most all areas of a city or region.  As a modern system providing rapid mass transit, it also normally has features similar to rail rapid transit, e.g., off-board fare collection, platform-level boarding, efficient and rapid scheduling, etc., and it oftentimes has traffic signaling priority at any street intersections.

 

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A New Approach

I would like to share the results of my research, thinking and writing with the U. S. Resilience System in the hopes that its viewers can incorporate some of it into their own work.  I also hope to receive feedback so I can improve my ideas.

 

My background is in city and regional planning.  More recently it has expanded to include futures research.  I believe that the much-needed resilience many of us are seeking can best be achieved if we are working on immediate plans and actions plus long-range plans and actions at the same time.  Immediate or short-term actions are seldom sufficient by themselves.

 

Resilience to the wide variety of critical problems and uncertainties we expect to face this century requires systemic changes in our country and world.  It requires changes in the way we think, act, organize and communicate, and in what and where we build.  We slowly build our man-made environment to fit our needs and then our man-made environment shapes and controls us for many decades - even after our needs have changed. 

 

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