Tulsa Oklahoma, one of the Resilient Cities 100. Trying here to figure out exactly what Resilience Cities are and do. It was, once, the centre of the US oil industry, but diversified to 'telecommunications, finance and aviation'. What does this mean? call centres? airport hub? But, it has poverty in minority communities. Of course it does. Not only is it in need of resilience from being located in Tornado Alley, local civil society, especially the poverty sector, must be engaged with. Tulsa has 391,900 people. This is the extent of the information on Tulsa as a resilience challenge.
What am I expecting? Microsoft is working with the Resilient Cities 100 on emergency communications during extreme weather events. A Chief Resilience Officer, a CRO, is needed. As Tulsa's challenges are listed as Hurricane/Typhoon/Cyclone, Social Inequity and Tropical Storms, it can be linked to 51 other cities from Belgrade to Arusha.
Resilient Systems, another diagram with rollovers explaining some key terms, all very good, desirable and unchallengeable. Reflective: able to learn. Robust: limits spread of failure. Flexible: has alternate strategies. Integrated: systems work together. Resourceful: can easily repurpose resources. Redundant: has backup capacity. Inclusive: broad consultation and communication.
Last night on the news CBC showed a new way of teaching grade fives how to analyse problems. The task was how to make a playscape for their school. Lots of bubble diagrams were created, arrows, priorities, who does what. When it came to materials the pupils dutifully wrote in their bubbles 'swings', 'slides', 'monkey bars'. Good god, for all that analysis, they still see a playscape as a traditional playground set that's been in every school yard since 1952. Somehow all this systematic organisation seems to reorganise knowns and givens while excluding lateral, creative thought. One suspects that no amount of bubble diagramming or rollovers will come up with a vegetable garden in the corner of the school yard – that kind of idea floats in from some different universe.
If we have CROs, CEOs and CFOs, we have governance structures and hierarchies. If there was anything revealed in On Site review 32: weak systems, it is that hierarchies are rarely robust and are structurally incapable of being resilient.