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Dr. David Nabarro (UN Special Envoy on Ebola) on Ebola - General Assembly, Informal Meeting, 69th Session (13 November 2014)

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13 Nov 2014 - Statement by Dr. David Nabarro, UN Special Envoy on Ebola at the General Assembly Informal meeting of the plenary briefing on the Ebola virus outbreak.

(CLICK HERE - VIDEO - Statement by Dr. David Nabarro, UN Special Envoy on Ebola)

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Structural Adaptivity, Rebalancing by Watersheds - Part II

Here is the second part of my Rebalancing by Watersheds Exercise.  I presented the background work recently in my Part I post.  Part II contains a Concept Plan Map and a discussion of the more particular information and data that led me to the Plan. 

 

Both Parts I and Part II are only a condensed version of the full text I prepared.  Within the portions I left out for this version is a considerable amount of technical information that some readers may want to see.  I will provide more of it upon request. 

 

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Structural Adaptivity, Rebalancing by Watersheds - Part I

 

One of the applications of structural adaptivity that I have presented is re-balancing our nation by major watersheds.  The benefits would be two-fold:  (1) growing our nation into urban regions where each would have resilient economic and adaptivity capacities; and (2) tying the regions to ample sources of fresh water by linking them to regional U.S. watersheds.

 

Because it would be such a large departure from recent trends and because I could discover no literature showing its possibility or desirability, I sought to perform an exercise to demonstrate its possibility.  In doing this, I am setting aside my own considerable shortcomings.  I am assuming that criticism of my arrogance in attempting such an exercise is less important than taking a step in a much-needed new direction.

 

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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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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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Nigeria: Lagos Overwhelmed, Nigeria Asks for Ebola Outbreak Help

- Reuters, AFP, dpa, AP

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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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