When Holling meets Kandinsky: Panarchy, Resilience and Abstraction

“Identifying and managing risks is nowadays key in any strategic planning. Under the wording risk management, companies aim to control and minimize the risk level that could impact their short or long-term profitability. In cities, risk management is expected to drive urban planning safety approach and better integrate hazards occurrence. It is based on procedural and systemic approaches, most of the time certified, built on conventional and analytical methodologies.

In a rapidly changing world where surprise is likely (1), the same descriptive approach applies on our environment threatened by natural hazards. Our fragility awareness reflects in greater consideration for human vulnerability, but the modus operandi to decrease the risk level is comparable, based on decision tree analysis and quantitative/qualitative frameworks. Amongst the first questionings on the relevance of such linear thinking, Holling’s “panarchy” (2) conceptual model introduced the idea that social and ecological systems are interlinked and continuously restructure and renew depending on their environment. By reconsidering the norms, introducing unpredictability as a random variable and conceptualizing risk management, the seeds of resilience had been sowed. On one hand, a normative approach; on the other, a critical thinking?”

Full post and a rich bibliography here.




Leave a Reply