Categoriearchief: Ecosystem City

The UK Government Resilience Framework

HM Government, Cabinet Office | 2022

The professionalism and commitment of the people who contribute to the UK’s resilience is extraordinary, and we have a well-established framework for civil protection in the UK. But the last few years have exposed the need to build on these strong foundations and strengthen our resilience to prevent better, mitigate, respond to and recover from the nation’s risks. That is why the UK Government committed, in the Integrated Review, to a new Resilience Strategy: The UK Government Resilience Framework (pdf) or online.

The framework is the first articulation of how the UK Government will deliver on a new strategic approach to resilience. It is based on three core principles:

  • A developed and shared understanding of our civil contingencies risks is fundamental.
  • Prevention rather than cure wherever possible: a greater emphasis on preparation and prevention.
  • Resilience is a ‘whole of society’ endeavour, so we must be more transparent and empower everyone to make a contribution.

This framework focuses on the foundational building blocks of resilience, setting out the plan for 2030 to strengthen the frameworks, systems and capabilities which underpin the UK’s resilience to all civil contingencies risks. The framework’s implementation window reflects the UK Government’s long-term commitment to the systemic changes needed to strengthen resilience over time and matches the commitments made in the Integrated Review. Delivery has already begun, and we are making quick progress on our commitments, with 12 expected to be completed by 2025. This framework represents a package of measures to broaden and strengthen the resilience system centred on six themes:

  • Risk.
  • Responsibility and accountability.
  • Partnership.
  • Community.
  • Investment.
  • Skills.

For each theme, this framework aims to demonstrate how our proposals will deliver tangible changes and benefits for those working in the resilience system and the public.


From Annex D. Acronyms and definitions

Crisis: An event or series of events that represents a critical threat to the health, safety, security, or well-being of a community or other large group of people, usually over a wider area.

Resilience: The ability to anticipate, assess, prevent, mitigate, respond to, and recover from natural hazards, deliberate attacks, geopolitical instability, disease outbreaks, and other disruptive events, civil emergencies or threats to our way of life.

RiskAn event, person or object which could cause loss of life or injury, damage to infrastructure, social and economic disruption or environmental degradation.


Oliver Dowden, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster: “These are unsettled and troubling times. Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine; the wide-ranging impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic; increasing signs of the impact of climate change; and constant and evolving cyber challenges are recent examples of an evolving threat picture.

We live in an increasingly volatile world, defined by geopolitical and geoeconomic shifts, rapid technological change and a changing climate. This context means that crises will have far-reaching consequences and are likely to be greater in frequency and scale in the next decade than we have been used to. We have a responsibility to prepare for this future.

This challenge is not unique to the United Kingdom but faced by countries around the world. However, we must act now to bolster the United Kingdom’s resilience and ensure we have plans to prepare for and mitigate a wide range of risks when they arise on our shores, ensuring we can face the future confidently.

We have bold and comprehensive plans to build resilience to specific risks. We have launched our Net Zero Strategy, the National Cyber Strategy and the British Energy Security Strategy, all of which tackle some of the most pressing challenges we face. We are also refreshing our Integrated Review to ensure that the UK’s security, defence, development and foreign policy strategy keeps pace with the evolving environment.

But alongside these plans, we must strengthen the underpinning systems that provide our resilience to all risks. This UK Government Resilience Framework is our plan to achieve this… This Framework is a broad and tangible set of actions. It is the first step in our commitment to develop a wide and strategic approach to resilience. We are committed to working with partners, industry and academia from across the UK to implement this Framework but also as we continue to develop our approach.

A strong resilience system – including UK Government departments, devolved administrations, local authorities, emergency services and the private and voluntary and community sectors – is more important than ever.

Working together to build our national resilience will mean we are better equipped to tackle the challenges that come our way, ensuring businesses grow, our communities thrive, and citizens can build a brighter future.”

This publication is part of Ecosystem City: Lessons from the Forest

Forest and City

If the city is considered an ecosystem, then the city can be defined as (Odum, 1971): “A community of living (biotic) and non-living (abiotic) components interacting through cycles of water, nutrients and energy flows.

Our approach assumes that the general laws of nature and their main driving mechanisms apply to all living ecosystems. As a consequence of considering the city as an ecosystem, the city fully obliges to and functions under the laws of nature.

In this ecosystem, organisations are considered organisms. They, like plants, fungi and animals live, feed and interact. From this standpoint, people like governors, managers and employees are considered part of the organisation.

To find the analogies we think we are best equipped to think from the natural forest ecosystem because it is – with the coral reefs – considered as the most complex system on earth. The developed methods and techniques for forest diagnosing are advanced and can be made applicable to the ecosystem city.

Bibliography

Odum, E. (1971). Fundamentals of Ecology (Third Edition). Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Co.

The Need

There is a need for a holistic approach to governing the city’s public domain and to develop integrated and feasible solutions to our issues. Kickert (2007) concluded the reason why: “A segmented public administration has to a large extent created segmented reforms”, underlining the implicit need for less segmentation and fragmentation in public governance with an integrated, trans-disciplinary approach.

The need to do so has been underlined more than once by the strong emergence of public risks, the large-scale disruption of shared values, and the intensely felt need for integrated public governance to solve common issues. They have emerged for over fifty years since the Club of Rome report Limits to Growth (Meadows et al., 1972). Public governance needs to deliver in protecting many of our shared values.

A holistic standpoint can be beneficial to see present values, issues and risks in an integrated context. It supports the proper diagnosis. This can generate new ideas for public governance to develop integrated and coherent solutions. Can we learn from the forest? Can ecology be helpful to politology and public administration?

Bibliography

Kickert, W. (ed.) (2007) The Study of Public Management in Europe and the US. Routledge. Taylor and Francis Group, London & New York.

Meadows, D. H., Meadows, D. L., Randers, J. & Behrens, W. (1972) The limits to growth: A report for the Club of Rome’s project on the predicament of mankind. New York: Universe Books.

Inspiration

To compare the forest and the city as an ecosystem is quite challenging. And to find possible analogies is even more exciting. Both are complex systems. Why a city as a metaphor and not a region or a country?

For citizens, the city mostly has an association with their personal well-being. It is natural and existing: you are born, marry, raise your children and die in a city. The mayor of your city signs your passport. It is the nearest and most tangible governmental system, the closest to people’s self-identification (“Where are you from?”). 

The public canvas of the city, where components, interests, roles, relations, factors, processes, and cycles meet, is the most dynamic in cities. The fabric of society is woven within the boundary of the town. The term politics has been derived from the Greek: πολιτικά, politiká, meaning “affairs of the cities”. 

So there is some logic to starting the journey for exploration on the city level. It is this entity where at the end, all things meet. The American politician O’Neill et al. (1994) stated once:  

“All politics, after all, is local.” 

The city is not a closed but a lively and open ecosystem. It is interconnected as part of a region, metropolitan area, province and state. Downwards it consists of subsystems such as districts, sites, neighbourhoods, streets, houses/families and individuals. The city overall, in general, has that organic image from an eagle-view perspective, like on this map of Genua.

The organic appearance of the city, City map (1836) of Genua.

Like the forest, the city is influenced by biotic factors (a result of the activities of human beings, groups and all kinds of organisations) and abiotic factors (the non-living components such as terrain, climate and availability of energy, water and nutrients). Those factors influence the city and its inhabitants. The elements combined form the habitats of the city. These are the places where citizens live. This analogy is elaborated, comparisons explored, and new light is shared on the governance of cities. A city, after all, is a living thing.

Ecology was the starting point for this discovery because it can offer ways to enter the city from a holistic point of view and surf its levels. Naturalist, explorer and geographer Alexander Von Humboldt (1856) concluded that zooming out leads to more overview and allows interconnecting things (and even sciences). Von Humboldt gave guidance on the relationship between ecosystems and abiotic factors. At the beginning of the 19th century, he came to a fascinating, revolutionary conclusion. 

“Physical geography…, elevated to a higher point of view… embraces the sphere of organic life…”

The connection between sciences is necessary to find accurate answers. Oldeman et al. (1990) underlined the need for a holistic approach to diagnosis in cross-border studies of forests. He always encouraged me, within the fragmented landscape of sciences, to try to cross the individual university so heavily guarded boundaries. He stated:

“The group that was responsible for the forest components theme decided to accelerate the process by starting an ambitious project, the writing of a common book. There is no way in which cooperation can be stimulated better, but this way has to be learned and practised too. The result is now before you. The book is not yet ideal, in our opinion, because it still contains too many traces of the old University tradition of researchers working, each apart, on such narrow subjects as they know best. 

This way of executing the course research is necessary to reach sufficient depth. But it carries the risk of loss of vision of the whole system, parts of which are studied. Still a little bit unbalanced, but on its way to improving along lines that are more clear now, this presentation in a pluridisciplinary way is a first step, however, to overcome both the limits of individual researchers and the shallowness of groups. We trust, however, that it is exactly this wrestling with integration of broad views versus the deepening of restricted views that may be as interesting to the reader as the facts, figures, conclusions and hypotheses on forests and their components which are presented in the following pages.”

Von Humboldt and Oldeman are inspiring in this cross-scientific discovery. What an exciting journey for an ecologist to discover the public domain.

Bibliography

Humboldt, A. von (1856) Cosmos: A Sketch of a Physical Description of the Universe [Volume 1]. New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers. 406 pp.

O’Neill, T. and Hymel, G. (1994) All Politics Is Local: And Other Rules of the Game. Canada: Bob Adams, Inc. 

Oldeman, R., Schmidt, P. and Arnolds, E. (1990) Forest components. Wageningen: Agricultural University, 111 pp

This article is part of the Chapter Foreword of Ecosystem City: Lessons from the Forest.

 

Ecosystem City

Summary

This book is about diagnosing the city. For that, the city is considered an ecosystem, like a forest. The city is regarded as a metaphor for society. It combines scientific discoveries, art impressions and practical insights to come to a holistic diagnosis of the city’s dynamics and diversity.

This can lead to a better understanding of values and their related issues and risks. It can offer the possibility of more integrated public governance because of the ecosystem approach.

Collecting and writing this book has been inspired by the sensed need by many governours and managers of public and private organisations to overcome segmentation and fragmentation in the governance of society. The natural forest offers excellent possibilities for finding connections and integrations.

Breda, 21 June 2023,

Jack Kruf

_______

The chapters and articles of this e-book will be subject to change during the development phase of this book in 2023 and early 2024. It is a step-by-step elaboration and open approach based on progressing insights and suggestions or corrections by the co-readers.

Cover ‘Ecosystem City: Lessons from the Forest’.

Dedication

I dedicate this book to Marij. Only through her love, care and warmth was this possible.

I hope that some wisdom will find its way into the daily life of my daughters Renée, Michelle and Louise, my sons-in-law Jelmer, Ludo and Cas and my grandchildren Sam, Sebas, Nine and Jochem.

In dear memory of my parents, Corry Huiszoon and Ad Kruf, who allowed me to discover the world and develop myself. I thank my dear sister Marlies who has always been at my side.

Framework CINETONE®

CINETONE® is a framework for diagnosing a community of life (civitas) within the public domain. It focuses on finding the tone, using measurement, dialogue, co-creation and presentation. The name is the acronym of CIvitas Naturalis Ecosystemic TONE.

The framework uses various methods and techniques for data collection and measurement of the ecosystem. We operate using in-depth interviews, quantitative surveys with factor analysis and pattern matching, literature review, design thinking, tribal dialogue and (e)co-creation. We measure the biotic side being the determinants component, role, interaction, phase and trait, as well as the abiotic side being the cycles of energy, water, nutrients, geography and climate. The determinants are derived from research and proven technology in daily practice. They tell us about the physiology, morphology and ecology of the ecosystem.

While collecting and measuring, we look at (1) production, such as weight, dosage, biomass (literally) and importance, power and influence (figuratively), (2) population, such as presence, numbers, and quantity and (3) architecture, in the form of structures, shapes, forms.

A selection of the results is expressed in this book in media and tools: images, graphs, fabrics, diagrams, colours, symbols, transects and grids (chessboard). Consider the results as attempts to catch the tone of the living ecosystem involved. For that, we make use of a limited set of determinants.

Component

In our approach, organisations are the organisms of the city. They are considered as components of the ecosystem. They are grouped according to functional differences, such as business, civil society, finance, government, nature, non-government, politics and science. These are responsible for most of the dynamics and interactions within the ecosystem city. Every function has its colour for readability. We make use of the Pantone® Matching System for consistent use.

Interaction

Systems are structured by countless interactions between components, which are driven by the felt or experienced degree of profit of a relationship with another component, expressed as beneficial (+), unfavourable (-) or neutral (o). Seven types of interactions can be defined:

Symbiotic

  • Mutualism (+ +). Components benefit from each other.
  • Commensalism (+ o). One component benefits from another that is not affected.
  • Amensalism (o –). One component inflicts harm to another without any costs or benefits received by itself.
  • Parasitism (+ –). One component, the parasite, benefits from the interaction, while the other (host) is harmed. It is a form of symbiosis which comes with a price. 

Oppositional

  • Competition (– –). More components compete for the same resources or between them.
  • Predation (+ –. One component hunts (being predator or herbivore) and eats the other (being prey or plant). Among equal components, it is called cannibalism.

Neutral

  • Neutralism (o o). Two components that do not affect each other, interactions are negligible or insignificant.

Phase

In nature, ecosystems find themselves in a mosaic of phases. The natural forest is not a homogeneous static but can be defined as the sum of different phases that are present and co-exist simultaneously. This mosaic makes the forest what it is in essence. In each phase, the energy, nutrient and water flows are different, as well as their resilience, population dynamics and biodiversity. Oldeman (1990) describes the four phases of the architecture in which the units of the ecosystem show themselves:

  • Innovation: a new beginning after reorganisation, fire, colossal competition, or new seedlings.
  • Aggradation: the build-up individuals are in development and growth, in prospect, expansion.
  • Biostasis (maturity): individuals determining the rules, a balancing act, stable, mature phase, rich structure, high biodiversity.
  • Degradation: individual components are in decay, dying, leaving, and part of the system collapses.

What counts for trees in a forest can also be applied to organisations in a city ecosystem. In the diagnosis process, it is wise to know to which phase the public issues involved organisation belongs.

Role

Elaborating on the roles of components within an ecosystem is relevant to understanding its dynamics and diversity. In principle, all components can take all roles and differ highly depending on time, place, value and factors. Knowing a role of a component in society is vital to understanding the actual systemic situation we are diagnosing.

Of course, laws, rules, regulations and the Constitution are elementary in the division of roles and have led to a more or less predictable attribution of roles among components. With present transitions, though, a more flexible division is needed and coming.

A usable set can be found in the work of The Quality Institute Dutch Municipalities (KING) and is summarised in the report De Staat van de Gemeente by Aardema et al. (2005). It is a set of interconnected roles from an actor or governance perspective and from an object or governed perspective. We have chosen chess pieces to symbolise these roles.

Actor roles

  • Steward (black king): symbolise, identify, connect, show compassion, take care, welcome, strengthen cohesion, carry rituals, and guard.
  • Regulator (black queen): decisiveness, power, threaten, demand, courage, perseverance, set things right, constrain, discipline, set the rules and enforce them.
  • Collector (black bishop): go-between, facilitate, contract, collect tax, process.
  • Developer (black knight): involve, sense of community, strengthen cohesion, share and distribute, (letting) participate, co-create.
  • Service provider (black rook): deliver, serve, provide, distribute, front office.
  • Representative (black pawn): chosen by the people during an election in councils, representing the people as citizens.

Object roles

  • Inhabitant (white king): citizen living in the city and neighbourhood.
  • Servant (white queen): obey and follow laws, rules, and regulations.
  • Contributor (white bishop): tax pay, contribute, donate, volunteer, support, finance, fund.
  • Partner (white knight): develop, contribute in knowledge, feelings and insights, co-create.
  • Client (white rook): receive products and services, indicate a choice.
  • Voter: elect the representatives, the best of the best.

Trait

A trait or character is a feature of a component. It results from cultural factors, business type and leadership and management forms. One trait for optimal development is mentioned over and over again in the helix concepts. That is the attitude, empowerment and willingness to cooperate with other components (on the local or regional level).

“In natural ecosystems’ traits play a central role because it is the trait that determines how a species (the component in our model) reacts to environmental change and how this reaction influences ecosystem functions.” (Astor, 2011). A direct relationship exists between an organisation’s trait and the system’s effect. That is truly a holistic essence. 

“In this respect, functional traits can be defined as those phenotypical components of an organism that influence ecosystem properties or biogeochemical processes, and those that determine the response of an organism to environmental conditions” (Lavorel et al., 2002; Hooper et al., 2005). We distinguish the following stages of this trait:

  • Evasive: Inward-looking and operating independently from other components. Hard to be approached.
  • Square: Working and focusing mainly on their own targets, unaware of the bigger picture they can benefit from. Stiff and leaning back on cooperation.
  • Delta: Improving and learning organisation, more and more aware of the environment and possible benefits of enhancing basic processes to own performance.
  • Rolling: Cooperating and networking with a main accent on self-satisfaction, basic processes are good, and there is an excellent network to deliver products and services on a reasonably high level.
  • Mature: Cooperating with maximum benefits, well-organised and open to cooperation, initiating alliances, and being an optimal player in the bigger picture of common goals.

Bibliography

Aardema, H. en A. Korsten (2005). De Staat van de Gemeente: Op weg naar een handzame, landelijke gemeentemonitor. Den Haag: VGS, BMC, PON, Open Universiteit Nederland, InAxis.

Astor, T. (2011) The importance of species traits in biodiversity-ecosystem functioning research. Uppsala: Department of Ecology, SLU, Uppsala Link

Cirtwill, A., Eklöf, A. (2018) Feeding environment and other traits shape species’ roles in marine food webs. Ecology Letters, 2018; DOI: 10.1111/12955 Link

Hooper D.U., Chapin F.S., Ewel J.J., Hector A., Inchausti P., Lavorel S., Lawton J.H., Lodge D.M., Loreau M., Naeem S., Schmid B., Setala H., Symstad A.J., Vandermeer J. & Wardle D.A. (2005) Effects of biodiversity on ecosystem functioning: A consensus of current knowledge. Ecological Monographs, 75, 3‐35.

Lavorel, S. & Garnier, E. (2002).Predicting changes in community composition and ecosystem functioning from plant traits: revisiting the Holy Grail. Functional Ecology, 16, 545‐556.

Linköping University (2018) Deeper understanding of species’ roles in ecosystems. ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/04/180412102905.htm (accessed July 2, 2023).

Oldeman, R.A.A. (1990). Forests: Elements of Silvology. Berlin Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

US Government | December 2, 1970

This organisation was founded as an independent executive agency of the United States federal government tasked with environmental protection matters. Beginning in the late 1950s and through the 1960s, US Congress reacted to increasing public concern about the impact that human activity could have on the environment. In 1959 congress passed the Resources and Conservation Act to establish a Council on Environmental Quality in the Executive Office of the President and declared a national environmental policy, which required the preparation of an annual environmental report. The groundwork for the Environment Protection Agency was laid.

The 1962 publication of Silent Spring by Rachel Carson alerted the public about the detrimental effects on the environment of the indiscriminate use of pesticides.

Logo by Chermayeff & Geismar Associates

Steff Geissbühler, partner of Chermayeff & Geismar Associates, about the design process of the 1977 United States Environmental Protection Agency Graphic Standards System:

“Born in the wake of elevated concern about environmental pollution, The United States Environmental Protection Agency was established to unify within one government agency a combination of federal research, monitoring, standard-setting and enforcement activities in order to protect human health and to safeguard the air, water, and land upon which life depends. From regulating car emissions to banning the use of DDT; from cleaning up toxic waste to protecting the ozone layer; from increasing recycling to revitalizing inner-city brownfields, EPA’s achievements have resulted in cleaner air, purer water, and better protected land. That’s how we introduced the project on our project sheet.

I came to the USA from Switzerland in 1967 to teach at the Philadelphia College of Art. It was at first a shock to see trash all over the streets and sidewalks that were littered with chewing gum and cigarette butts, the waste, air and water pollution, pesticide-sprayed fruit and vegetables, and run-down neighborhoods and parks. Richard Nixon, who was later responsible for creating the EPA, was soon elected President. But it was also a time when people all over the world were getting seriously concerned about our planet.

…As the first step, after the extensive audits described in the Foreword, Tom Geismar and myself wanted to shorten the long and complex name to a colloquial acronym. We looked at alternatives but soon understood that the public knew the agency as the EPA and suggested that this should be adapted as a more direct, short and communicative name.

The flower logo or symbol was a carryover from the ’60s “Flower Power” era. I remember very clearly the iconic image of a young hippie girl putting a flower into the business end of a soldier’s machine gun. The center of the existing seal, symbolizing sun, air, water and land, was and is appropriate, but the complex rendition of the flower seemed weak and perhaps too “feminine” to act as the shield of a law-enforcement agency.”

Visit website of Environmental Protection Agency.

This publication is part of Ecosystem City: Lessons from the Forest

Judgment under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases

Biases in judgments reveal some heuristics of thinking under uncertainty

Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman | 1974

“This article described three heuristics that are employed in making judgments under uncertainty: (i) representativeness, which is usually employed when people are asked to judge the probability that an object or event A belongs to class or process B; (ii) availability of instances or scenarios, which is often employed when people are asked to assess the frequency of a class or the plausibility of a particular development; and (iii) adjustment from an anchor, which is usually employed in numerical prediction when a relevant value is available.

These heuristics are highly economical and usually effective, but they lead to systematic and predictable errors. A better understanding of these heuristics and of the biases to which they lead could improve judgments and decisions in situations of uncertainty.”

ScienceDirect summary:

“Many decisions are based on beliefs concerning the likelihood of uncertain events such as the outcome of an election, the guilt of a defendant, or the future value of the dollar. Occasionally, beliefs concerning uncertain events are expressed in numerical form as odds or subjective probabilities.

In general, the heuristics are quite useful, but sometimes they lead to severe and systematic errors. The subjective assessment of probability resembles the subjective assessment of physical quantities such as distance or size. These judgments are all based on data of limited validity, which are processed according to heuristic rules. However, the reliance on this rule leads to systematic errors in the estimation of distance.

This chapter describes three heuristics that are employed in making judgments under uncertainty. The first is representativeness, which is usually employed when people are asked to judge the probability that an object or event belongs to a class or event. The second is the availability of instances or scenarios, which is often employed when people are asked to assess the frequency of a class or the plausibility of a particular development, and the third is adjustment from an anchor, which is usually employed in numerical prediction when a relevant value is available.”

Read article (Source: TU Delft OpenCourseWare)

Judment under Incertainty

tekst

Bibliography
Tversky, A. and Kahneman, D. (1974) Judgment under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases: Biases in judgments reveal some heuristics of thinking under uncertainty. Science, Vol 185, Issue 4157, pp. 1124-1131. DOI: 10.1126/science.185.4157.1124

This publication is part of Ecosystem City: Lessons from the Forest