You are here

Vulnerability

Ebola outbreak 'could top 20,000'

Published on Aug. 28, 2014

An outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa could amount to 20,000 cases, the World Health organisation says (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention/PA) 

 

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. 

 

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.

 

Electromagnetic Disaster Could Cost Trillions and Affect Millions. We Need to Be Prepared

      

Roasted by a pulse. Credit: arbyreed, CC BY-NC-SA

homelandsecuritynewswire.com - by Anders Sandberg - August 12, 2014

In 1962, a high-altitude Pacific nuclear test caused electrical damage 1,400 km away in Hawaii. A powerful electromagnetic pulse (EMP) – created either by a solar storm or a high-altitude nuclear explosion — poses a threat to regions dependent on electricity, as such pulses could cause outages lasting from two weeks to two years. The main problem is the availability of spare transformers. Superstorm Sandy’s worst effects were in a single location. In the case of a big EMP surge, replacement transformers would be needed in hundreds of locations at the same time. The cost of an EMP pulse to the U.S. economy would likely be in the range of $500 million to $2.6 trillion. A report by the U.S. National Academies was even more pessimistic, guessing at a higher range and a multi-year recovery. Besides disrupting electricity such storms can also destroy satellites, disrupt GPS navigation, and make other parts of the infrastructure fail.

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:

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.

 

Safe burial to reduce Ebola spread

Another challenge in trying to contain Ebola is the very strong cultural beliefs in that area of Africa.

The No. 1 contamination risk is touching the body around the time someone has died from Ebola.

"They do rituals before they bury the body that involves washing the bodies and even, sometimes, sleeping with them, the dead person."

So after someone dies at a treatment centre, the Doctors Without Borders staff bring the family to the centre and do what they call a safe burial.

"We wash the body and we put them in a body bag, but with the zipper open so they can see the face, and we bring the body to the village," in conjunction with the Guinea Red Cross, Forget says.

"People can still do a burial process but in a safe way so they don't touch the body … they can still pray and perform ceremonies but without touching the body.

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. 

 

Oldest Baby Boom in North America Sheds Light on Native American Population Crash

Sites like Pueblo Bonito in northern New Mexico reached their maximum size in the early A.D. 1100s, just before a major drought began to decrease birth rates throughout the Southwest. Credit: Nate Crabtree

Scientists chart an ancient baby boom—in southwestern Native Americans from 500 to 1300 AD

phys.org - June 30, 2014

Washington State University researchers have sketched out one of the greatest baby booms in North American history, a centuries-long "growth blip" among southwestern Native Americans between 500 to 1300 A.D.

It was a time when the early features of civilization—including farming and food storage—had matured to where birth rates likely "exceeded the highest in the world today," the researchers write in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

A crash followed . . .

(READ COMPLETE ARTICLE)

CLICK HERE - PNAS - RESEARCH - Long and spatially variable Neolithic Demographic Transition in the North American Southwest

 

World Refugee Day: Global Forced Displacement Tops 50 Million for First Time in Post-World War II Era

      

Photo: UNHCR

unhcr.org - June 20, 2014

GENEVA, June 20 (UNHCR) The UN refugee agency reported today on World Refugee Day that the number of refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced people worldwide has, for the first time in the post-World War II era, exceeded 50 million people.

UNHCR's annual Global Trends report, which is based on data compiled by governments and non-governmental partner organizations, and from the organization's own records, shows 51.2 million people were forcibly displaced at the end of 2013, fully 6 million more than the 45.2 million reported in 2012.

(READ COMPLETE ARTICLE)

(ALSO SEE RELATED ARTICLE HERE)

Pages

Subscribe to Vulnerability
howdy folks