T4.4b: Panel on Culture and Resilience

The special session on “Culture and Resilience” focused on the research and papers developed under the INCA project, a decision support framework for improving cross-border area resilience to disasters.

The objective of the INCA project by authors from MINES ParisTech, Paris-Dauphine University and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and funded by ANR (Agence Nationale de la Recherche) and DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, the German Research Foundation) is to contribute to the understanding and the enhancing of the cross-border area resilience with regard to the risk of disasters with conceptual and empirical research and the development and experiment of a decision-support system taking into account the cultural dimension. On a different note, the last intervention highlighted the relevance of the local-specific interpretation of urban way of life to contribute in redefining the model of a resilient urban system.

The session highlighted the critical roles that communities have within urban sustainability transition. The first three talks, framed within the same project, revolved around the idea that in order to increase their response capacity in the event of disasters, communities need to work together to avoid breaks in “the resilience chain” and overcome the challenges that cultural differences might bring. The final talk illustrated the tensions between the global agenda and the economic targets and the specific-local needs and cultural identity fighting to survive the gentrification.

Impact of culture on urban resilience: exercising inter-organizational collaboration through scenarios.
Louise Lemyre, Eric Rigaud

The session started with the joint presentation by Eric Rigaud from MINES Paristech and Louise Lemyre from University of Ottawa on the impact of the viability of culture on resilience within the French-German project INCA dedicated to study borderland resilience and to try to develop technological methodological solutions to understand it. Resilience is associated with non-linearity and complexity and on the potential of supplies of a situation that individual organizations and territory have to recover from. But the most important thing of resilience on the territory is that its activation is based on the network of different organizations (public private, citizens, civil society) that at one moment or another have to decide, act, communicate, collaborate, cooperate. One of the viabilities of the dynamic of this network is culture. Culture has been defined, studied by anthropologists to understand how the collective adapt to their ecological safety and how they will adopt some rules in order to be able to communicate and collaborate. And also to understand how they decide to take action or how they cooperate.

Mrs Lemyre, continues explaining that diversity exists in the national identities, but also in the disciplinary background as well as the organizational cultures in terms of the way that decisions are being made. When organizations work together, in terms of their governance, sometimes they coordinate to share information but for more requiring problems they will have to cooperate and share some resources but yet keeping their identities and their decision making. For resilience, where you need to transform and find new solutions, you need to collaborate and for that you need a new scheme and a new way to interact. Resilience is about problems that are so big that one organization could not solve on their own, there is always certain parts of expertise that is missing.

A Multi-Agent System to Improve Resilience of Critical Infrastructure in Cross-Border Disasters
Miriam Klein, Farnaz Mahdavian, Marcus Wiens, Frank Schultmann

Ms Klein’s presentation outlines the scope for an agent-based simulation of cross-border cooperation in the case of a power blackout. To achieve a high resilience, it is important to overcome language and culture barriers and to fasten the information and capacity exchange. Cross-border communication and cooperation in crisis management present a high potential to analyze different trajectories of a crisis and to find strategies for fast and efficient reactions. 

The simulation shows the dynamic evolution of the crisis where the failure of critical infrastructure together with people behavior directly affects the responding capacity of the health system. Using an event-based perspective, it is possible to identify the initial cause or first order effects of failures making it possible to propose appropriate preventive measures. A second type of analysis refers to the interoperability of authorities. It can be analyzed how communication and coordination among actors of different nationalities can be improved such that delays in information flows are minimized. The project comprises behavioral studies, expert interviews and workshops, which lead to a deeper understanding of the character of a cross-border area. The project aims to strengthen the resilience of the border region by finding a strategy for the optimal intervention to avoid cascading effects in critical infrastructure and to minimize delays in information flows.

Considering Inter-organizational breaks when implementing resilience
Nour Kanan, Anouck Adrot

Kanaan and Adrot presentation talks about the issue of inter-organizational breaks. Urban resilience is the capacity of the city to revamp from destruction. Cross-border urban areas present a double challenge. Analyzing a cross-border coordination failure between France and Italy in 1999 in the Mont Blanc tunnel fire, their research focuses in studying inter-organizational breaks that might occur in disaster situations understanding those as the phenomena of social difficulties characterized by amplification of conflicts between responders in situations of crisis and erosion of social needs between the same responders than can threaten the response to the crisis. When resiliency occurs in a regional level, governance shall anticipate and avoid critical situations. The theoretical gap focuses also in the link between resilience and culture, on the lack of understanding of the nature of culture while assessing crisis management situations. They propose a multi-layered approach and analytical framing of resilience and culture. Resilience is not only about individual is not only about organizations is something that materializes and is embodied in a multi-layer holistic view of culture. They identify 4 layers: cognitive, operational, managerial and structural.

The Actualization of local-specific Urban Culture: The Case of Traditional Street Markets in Jakarta.
Regina Suryadjaja, Miya Irawati, Jo Santoso

To conclude the session, Jo Santoso talks about the problem between the functional city as a human settlement and as part of a global system. People that talk about globalization are only thinking about integrating the city in the global economic system but many people are not aware that this process of integration has an impact in the entire social ecological system of the city. Through the globalization the relation between cities in one country is changing, each city is trying more to find their own way to integrate, to be a part of the global system and have less interest in the connection with the neighbor cities. Through globalization, cities are changing their relation to the hinterland: the city will tend to take more advantage to benefit from the globalization instead of thinking how to strengthen their relation with the hinterland. On the other hand, the relation between the urban areas within the same city is changing as well through globalization system. Mr. Santoso presents a case study using the local-specific markets role in the city of Jakarta and how these can help overcome the impact of urbanization and how they present a conflicting situation with globalization. Jakarta has a different cultural system and globalization is threatening that culture. Santoso displays several pictures and description about the local-specific market and praises the cultural aspects of these Indonesian jewels.