Resilience and adaptability of infrastructures

A complex adaptive systems perspective

More Info
expand_more

Abstract

While we rely on the continuous functioning of infrastructures such as water, electricity and Internet, 100% uptime is not possible. Infrastructure systems must therefore be resilient – they must be capable of flexing in response to disruptions and recovering quickly. In this paper we explore options for supporting infrastructure resilience from a complex adaptive systems perspective. Building on work from the field of social-ecological systems, we introduce a novel definition of infrastructure resilience - the capacity to manage shifts between attractors in infrastructure operation. We define adaptability as the capacity to manage shifts between attractors in infrastructure evolution. To explore the usefulness of these definitions, we introduce a simulation model of an electricity network exposed to perturbations in its environment. The results of this model demonstrate how an evolutionary-level attractor shift leads to greater resilience of the modeled infrastructure. This model and the elaborated definitions can help to guide the development of future models for supporting infrastructure resilience and adaptability in line with a complex adaptive systems perspective.

Files