Resilience and design
Long-term environmental sustainability demands the capacity for resilience – the ability to recover from a disturbance, to accommodate change, and to function in a state of health. This chapter argues that concomitant with the language of resilience is the need to develop nuanced, contextual, and critical analyses coupled with a scientific, evidence-based understanding of resilience. It proposes an evidence-based approach that contributes to adaptive and ecologically responsive design in the face of complexity, uncertainty, and vulnerability. The general concept of resilience has origins across at least four disciplines of research and application: psychology, disaster relief and military defense, engineering, and ecology. There is an important connection between stability, change, and resilience – a property internal to any living system and a function of the unique adaptive cycle of that system. Successful strategies for resilient design should use a diversity of tactics through in-situ experimental and ecologically responsive approaches that are safe-to-fail, while avoiding those erroneously assumed to be fail-safe.