Work

 

Resilient Places & Communities

Embedding sustainability in urban developments

To achieve sustainability on complex projects with many stakeholders and constraints, we run workshops (with development agencies, built environment consultancies, and public authorities) to define a site-specific resilience vision, and a rigorous yet understandable supporting framework of performance indicators and implementation routes. We find the means for commercially feasible regional masterplans to embed evidence-based principles of placemaking, inclusive well-being, net zero carbon, circular economy and nature-based design.

Communities of Innovation

Facilitating Collective Intelligence With Communities

We support communities to come together to learn, share and practice exploring systems solutions to systemic challenges.  We bring novel collaborative tools and systems approaches to help form experimental learning communities with subject experts, public institutions and local people.

Data-informed Decision Making

Agreeing priorities using collective knowledge

We focus on the human experience of turning data into wisdom, by quickly prototyping and sharing ‘open access’ digital tools that combine different types of information (like integrated technical models of complex systems), with clear visual presentation of exactly what matters most to the people using them (multilateral agencies, university partners and risk-taking companies).

Climate Resilience and Risk

Analysing and planning climate adaptations

We provide strategic advice and implementation support to help understand the effects a changing environment might have on particular places and human activities, and how a step-by-step adaptation plan can transform risk into opportunity.

Strategic Collaborations

Convening purposeful cross-sector collaborations

We are skilled brokers, conversation starters and network facilitators. We work across geographic and disciplinary divides to bring people (from universities and consultancies, multilateral agencies, and technology companies) together and explore systemic problems in a structured yet friendly and creative way.

Sustainable Finance

Innovating and brokering green investment

We provide technical assistance to support funding and investments in new green infrastructure.  We bring expertise on innovative governance and finance partnerships, and can support investors, development banks and municipalities to assess their risks and report on non-financial performance targets like contributing to the UN sustainable development goals.

Projects & Initiatives

Exeter Living Lab

Exeter Living Lab

The Living Lab brings cross-sector stakeholders together for local solutions

Ebbsfleet Central

Ebbsfleet Central

Collaboratively defining a sustainability vision and decision tool for a garden city

City Finance lab – Northern Gateway

City Finance lab – Northern Gateway

Advising green infrastructure investment for the Northern Gateway

Pivot Projects

Pivot Projects

Investigating the opportunities of creating a green recovery

ACT on NBS

ACT on NBS

Support uptake & scale up of Nature-Based Solutions

Nexus Resilience

Nexus Resilience

Integrating town planning, public health, climate, biophilia & neuroscience expertise

Bristol Water

Bristol Water

Review of an action plan to enhance the approach to Ofwat’s Resilience in the Round

Anaklia

Anaklia

Evidencing the commercial vision to deliver a commercially attractive, climate-resilient city

Meridian Water

Meridian Water

Strategic advice in support of sustainability visioning and data integration

City Finance lab – Norway

City Finance lab – Norway

Technical expertise to develop finance solutions for green urban projects

Hunter Water

Hunter Water

Using agent-based modelling to analyse the potential for waste-to-energy from water

Silver Access – Capstone project

Silver Access – Capstone project

Data and place based access for & co-created with, local at risk groups

URGED for Scottish Canals

URGED for Scottish Canals

Decision-support tool for managing flood risk to infrastructure using satellite data

Future Cities Africa

Future Cities Africa

Using agent-based modelling to plan for water supply and waste water infrastructure

A flexible three-stage approach to deliver solutions to complex issues

We champion a practical, integrated systems approach to driving sustainable performance in city regions. Our offering allows for a gradual onboarding to secure approach validation and internal buy-in, followed by prototype demonstration of systems-based solutions and capacity building. The first two stages are designed to prepare cities for a fully functioning systems modelling platform to support planning and investment decisions that will help them build sustainability and resilience.

5

Onboarding

Approach validation

Regional stakeholder buy-in

City Analysis
  • Stakeholder & governance
  • Procurement
  • Institutional capacity & data
City Routemap
  • Priority focus areas
  • Prototype model data & tech requirements
  • Access to funding
  • Practical next steps Results Matrix (RM)
Cross-network opportunities
Results Matrix (RM)

Topic exploration and prioritisation

5

Prototyping

Prototype demonstration of systems-based solutions to region-specific challenges

Capacity building through advance learning

Collaborative workshop
  • Regional priorities, focus area

  • Prototyping & discovery

  • Learning & capacity building

  • Investment & brokering solutions

Prototype Model
  • Data maturity support
  • Rapid prototyping
  • Topic-expert user group
  • Model interoperability
Use cases and action plan
  • Enhanced data use & analytics
  • Realistic simulation of a sector solution
  • Routemap adopted and completed by project actors
  • Outline investment proposal
  • Integration of effective solutions
5

Embedding

Fully functioning systems modelling for value creation

Project infrastructure options to build regional sustainability and resilience

Systems Modelling Platform
  • Codeveloped Integrated systems model
  • Scenario testing for project design and investment decisions
  • User-Friendly interface
  • Hackathon for regional
    cross-sector leaders
Learning & Capacity Building

Training, knowledge sharing & increased learning power

Brokering investment & effective technology
  • Connecting investment & innovations to bankable projects
  • Codeveloped with expert-user group

How we Work

Tools and approaches

At Resilience Brokers we are continuously working with our partners to improve and develop new approaches that embrace systems thinking and collaborative ideals to help unlock ‘system value’ and achieve greater resilience, and flourishing in regions. This section outlines some of the latest methods and approaches we’ve employed with partners and clients. If you’re interested in finding out more or trying out these then do get in touch with our team.

Systems Thinking

What is systems thinking?

The urgent transformational change required by regions to withstand the emerging global challenges can be achieved through systems thinking. 

Systems thinking allows us to better understand the whole context of a complex challenge, with all its connections and interrelationships. This approach helps to identify the root cause as well as the potential source of a potential opportunity, enabling data-informed, long-term and cost-effective decision making. 

Systems thinking uses methods like ‘causal loop diagrams’ (which show how problems rely on many interconnected ‘loops’ or factors) and tools such as dynamic models that show the ‘feedback loops’ of a system. Feedback loops are the cause and effect between different variables (like amount of rainfall) or actions (like a planning decision to use natural vegetation to capture rainfall) that lead to a particular outcome (like reduced flood risk in a cost-effective manner). 

Systems thinking, then, allows stakeholders to better comprehend how a system functions through the connections between different elements and components of a system — environmental, social, economic, or policy-related — and to understand the behaviour or interests these connections generate, by exploring different ‘what-if’ scenarios and different types of interventions. 

How we use systems thinking

Resilience Brokers was set up to bring systems solutions to tackle systemic challenges. Our approach to systems thinking establishes collaborative environments and embraces inclusive planning to unlock shared value and the open-data movement, powered by pioneering systems modelling technology and advanced data science to drive sustainable performance.

Integrated-systems modelling for city-regions

We have prototyped and are applying an open-source, integrated human-ecology-economics systems platform that enables climate-compatible, risk sensitive planning, policy-making, investment and procurement for city-regions globally.

resilience.io is designed as a computer-based platform that provides an integrated systems view of a city-region. An analysis and decision-support tool for collaboration and resilience decision-making, the resilience.io platform combines computer representations of resource flows, human and business activities and infrastructure systems. The platform contains a growing library of process models (digital twins) of typical human, industrial and ecological systems, the relevant ones of which are used in a local instance to create a tailored integrated systems model for a city-region.

Users work in multi-disciplinary teams in regions to create integrated models, test scenarios including infrastructure, fiscal, policy and behaviour interventions and build an understanding of preferred options to achieve their own regional objectives.

It is designed to connect to many data sources (see Data Integration), including from earth observation satellites, government and private sector data, local sensor networks, smart phones, tablets and local survey data. This data is processed by the systems model and visualised to give an improved understanding of the human, economic and ecological systems within a region including how these are interlinked.

Prototype originally developed with Imperial College London and the Institute of Integrated Economic Research. More details including research papers can be found on resilience.io web pages.

Projects involving Integrated Systems Modelling

Sustainability Compass

Achieving sustainability in the built environment requires a systemic approach centred around simple solutions that achieve multiple sustainability objectives and deliver a highly sustainable return on investment. Resilience Brokers developed our Sustainability Compass as a bespoke tool to help clients meet their ambitions through a systemic approach centred around simple solutions that embed sustainability into masterplanning and the collaborative delivery process, which often involves multiple actors (e.g., engineering, cost consultants, architecture and urban design, as well as project stakeholders).

The Sustainability Compass tool fosters innovation and continuous improvement, using proven and industry-leading approaches that many stakeholders can contribute to; the tool allows a balance to be struck that avoids disengaging people or incentivising adverse unintended consequences from overly prescriptive performance targets or onerous monitoring requirements. The sustainability framework behind the compass is structured in response to central questions, with the project-specific answers, of: who (people – both end users and development partners), when (process –architectural work stages), where (place -i.e. site or land use class), what (performance targets – using standard indicators and assessment methods), and why(sustainability objectives). We then frame the objectives, usually into four thematic categories: Society, Economy, Environment, and Development. This brief identifies performance targets linked to all four sets of objectives, and cross-cutting examples of how they might be achieved in practice.

The visual metaphor of a compass pointing towards sustainability is used to integrate these components. Targets are informed by a holistic approach to sustainability that usually includes, for example, the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Social and Natural Capital, Low Carbon development, Biodiversity Net Gain, Quality of Life indices, and Whole Life Circular Economy principles. Reference projects and case studies and others examples are included within the brief to illustrate how they could be achieved.

For the actors involved with a project’s delivery, the Sustainability Compass and its accompanied sustainability framework set out masterplan-level sustainability objectives and assessment criteria, illustrative examples of possible approaches, and key processes and responsibilities (that can be updated dynamically in real time) expected of the design and delivery team to achieve the overall sustainability vision.

Example project: Ebbsfleet Central

Systems visualization and mapping

Resilience Brokers use a systems mapping approach to organise complex information and relationships into a map that is visual, aesthetically pleasing and useful for investigating challenges and thinking about interventions. A user can see direct relationships between key areas (nodes) and navigate around the map to find nodes that positively reinforce one another to create a virtuous circle (a self-reinforcing dynamic that supports a particular objective). The co-creation of a systems map helps communities, local government, businesses, academics and students to come together and tackle shared problems.

Open Data Infrastructure for Resilient Cities

The Open Data Infrastructure Roadmap (ODIR) for Cities is a strategic tool for the development of city-level open data infrastructure aligned with the City Disaster Resilience Scorecard and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction 10 Essentials for urban resilience.

Resilience Brokers helped with the creation of the original document providing and selecting relevant case studies and data sources.

In the second phase of the development Resilience Brokers led a team to redesign the ODIR as a dynamic, non-linear online tool and make it available online.

We also re-configured it to consider city-level data infrastructure development for cities.

Open Data As A Key Enabler Of City Disaster Resilience

The Roadmap, Showcase and Guide to Open Data Infrastructure for City Resilience aim to help place data at the centre of another growing practice area that intersects with the smart cities sector – that of urban resilience and disaster risk reduction. It has a particular focus on open data as a key enabler of the kind of collaborative problem definition, risk analysis and response that resilience action planning requires. It also highlights how investments in open data-based approaches combined with the use of geospatial data and geographic information systems (GIS) can generate strong resilience dividends for city authorities.

A Resource For Urban Planners And Risk Managers

Open Data Infrastructure for City Resilience has been developed as a resource for city officials with responsibilities that include urban planning, risk reduction, resilience building and civil contingency. It has been designed, therefore, to help cities to integrate open data policies and infrastructure into their wider city data strategies and the development of their resilience action plans.

 

 

Glossary of Terms

FAIR data principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable)

Findable: have sufficiently rich (meta)data and a unique and persistent identifier, to enable discovery. Accessible: retrievable by humans and machines through a standard protocol. Interoperable: (meta)data use a formal, accessible, shared, and broadly applicable language for knowledge representation. Reusable: (meta)data provides rich and accurate information; both humans and their analytical tools know what can be done with the data (license) and can assess its provenance.

Living Lab – AKA Collaborative Laboratory (Collaboratory)

A Living Lab is a virtual place where people from various backgrounds come together to address local problems and aspirations through a collaborative system approach.

Networked Organisations

Drawing strength from our open and collaborative approach and the far-reaching networks of our delivery and knowledge partners. We operate in a space between private, public, knowledge and civil society sectors/actors.

Place-based Investment

Bringing together multiple sources of revenue from consumers, householders, corporations, land-value capture, municipalities /non-departmental government bodies.

Resilience Brokers Network

Connecting global and local expertise, effective solutions and sources of funding to deliver systems solutions to region-specific challenges.

resilience.io

An integrated systems modeling platform that helps decision makers and communities plan, manage and finance urban development.

Roadmap 2030

Roadmap 2030 is the consolidation of leading-edge research and practice from city experts, renowned scholars and world-leading specialists including Eugenie Birch, Aromar Revi and Jeffrey Sachs among many others. It was the first fully integrated action plan presented at Habitat III, capable of supporting the implementation of the New Urban Agenda.

Routemap

An independent and tailored ‘wiki’ document that is in a user-friendly and digestible format with clear referencing and links to further information, use cases, and relevant experience. The routemap enables the city to onboard or ‘socialize’ the information to raise awareness and start conversations within the city’s or institution’s practices areas to prioritise actions and begin the process. 

Systems-level investment plans

Transformative systems change in planning processes and how infrastructure investments are made are required on an urgent timeline to deliver sustainable development and to allow communities to adapt to climate-related impacts. 

Systems Mapping

Systems mapping organises complex information and relationships into a map that is visual and useful for investigating challenges and designing solutions. The creation of a systems map for the region works best where local communities, local government, businesses , academics and students all come together.

 

 

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A growing community of practice that allows for a rapid deployment and global scale up of systemic solutions to systemic problems.

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