RESILIENCE THROUGH INNOVATION: CRITICAL LOCAL TRANSPORT AND UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE

Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: Civil Engineering

Abstract

The physical infrastructure that facilitates the transport of people, freight, waste and utility services, and thus provides the essential support to civilised life, is under threat from numerous sources: deterioration through (often extreme) ageing, adverse ground chemistry, surface loading or stress relief due to open-cut interventions; severely increased demand; ever changing (different, or altered) demands; terrorism; the effects of climate change; funding constraints and severe natural hazards (extreme weather events, earthquakes, landslides, etc.). Such vulnerability, and the need for resilience in the face of such threats, is recognised widely - see Building Britain's Future17 and the ICE's State of The Nation Report: Defending Critical Infrastructure18 (both 2009), and the aims of the new Infrastructure UK delivery body18. This feasibility study seeks to explore radically different ways of conceptualising, designing, constructing, maintaining, managing, adapting and valuing the physical infrastructure to make it resilient no matter which threats are manifested or how the future develops. In this context resilience refers to the symbiosis existing between infrastructure, management systems and end users.Recent years have witnessed a shift to a more transdisciplinary concept of resilience that integrates the physical (both built and natural) and socio-political aspects of resilience. This change has been crucial because the socio-political and managerial aspects are arguably as important to the attainment of resilience as the physical aspects; resilient engineering also demands a more resilient infrastructural context with regard to the professions and the structures and processes which govern engineering activity.This proposal explores the engineering and social dimensions of resilience research needed to bring about radical changes in thinking and practice for an assured future in the face of multiple challenges. The following represent two core resilience themes at the interface of engineering, spatial planning and social science, from which feasibility studies to address key challenges will emerge via a series of workshops. The tangible manifestation lies in Local Area Agreements - a set of 32 centrally-approved and locally-implemented performance indicators linking engineered solutions, mechanisms for adoption, behavioural adaptation and education.1. Bespoke local utility infrastructures for resilient communities2. The role of transport in societal resilienceThe research team draws from five major research groups at the University of Birmingham, all of whom are addressing core themes of infrastructure and resilience. The team is supported by innovative thinkers drawn from the stakeholder community, both practitioners and policy makers. The primary themes to be studied are the creation of local utility infrastructures and transport to deliver resilience, recognising the UK shift towards enhancing innovation in the public/private sectors and local decision-making and delivery. Our team will deepen trans-disciplinary research by overcoming the tension that exists between the engineering focus on solutions and the social scientists concern with problems by developing realistic solutions to local problems. This requires exploration of the interface between four communities of practice: engineering and physical sciences, social sciences, private firms and local government. The intention is to identify solutions that reduce costs and enhance delivery, but also to identify new projects that have the potential to create innovative products that have commercial value.

Planned Impact

The potential impacts of feasibility studies such as these are enormous, yet are impossible to quantify at this stage. It is widely appreciated that transport and utility services infrastructures represent an enormous capital investment, are wearing out and are being maintained and replaced at a rate that will leave future generations with very large legacy costs. This bid proposes research that could lead to an alternative paradigm; one in which the services are valued by individuals and responsibility for their continued maintenance and operation is, to some degree, shifted towards the members of the society that relies upon these services. This shift towards collective 'ownership' will influence user behaviour, and behavioural change is important as one feature of bringing about resilience. A simple analogy is water metering: usage without meters is largely unrestricted, yet with meters installed water usage is valued (driven here by a direct cost penalty for overuse) and usage markedly drops. In very difficult economic times, this research will offer potential alternatives and society will be the main beneficiary. However, behavioural change will not happen without societal and individual willingness to embrace it, hence the necessity of the cross-disciplinary approach. Moreover, these feasibility studies are needed urgently as governments are desperately struggling to find acceptable solutions that can protect these vital national assets; the case for timeliness is unarguable. These studies provide a vehicle for direct extrapolation, albeit via major leaps in thinking, of the combined research of the consortium and deliver efficiency in all sorts of ways, not least the potential to reach the numerous stakeholder groups associated with our current projects. The deliverables from the project will aid policy makers, planners and other high-level decision makers in creating more sustainable and resilient cities and city regions, and ultimately benefit the societies that they serve and the national economy. In the far future, the beneficiaries of follow-on research from the project are: - City Councils, who are responsible for managing the sustainable redevelopment of the areas under their control and who will be able to make direct use of the findings to deliver more resilient infrastructures. - The infrastructure owners, which is likely to include a public-private mix, and one that might change from the present given that road privatisation features as a possibility in the new coalition government's plans. - Practitioners in the field of urban resilience, ranging from developers, architects, consultants, contractors, planners, environmental scientists and utility service providers to economists and businesses. - The regional development agencies - one of their stated objectives is to 'engender sustainable practices'. - Local authorities and equivalent international bodies in the process of seeking effective transport and utility solutions, who may wish to adopt the project outcomes and identify best approaches to implementation. - The developing UK environmental technologies industrial clusters, which will gain insight into the needs and potential for new technologies in the context of urban resilience, as identified by the feasibility studies. - Policy makers, regulators and non-governmental bodies with interests in resilience issues, who will gain insight into means of bringing about more resilient, and therefore sustainable, practices.

Publications


10 25 50
Rogers C (2012) Resistance and resilience - paradigms for critical local infrastructure in Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Municipal Engineer
 
Description The purpose of this feasibility study was to identify knowledge gaps and opportunities for future research in the area of critical local infrastructure. To do this a review of resilience was undertaken from four different perspectives:

Ecological resilience - the magnitude of disturbance that can be absorbed before a system changes its structure.

Economic resilience - the inherent and adaptive responses to disasters that enable individuals and communities avoid some potential losses.

Infrastructure resilience - the ability of a system or organisation to withstand and recover from adversity.

Community and social resilience - the capacity of an individual, community or system to adapt so as to sustain an acceptable level of function, structure and identity



Four feasibility studies were then drafted and eventually amalgamated into three:

1. Bottom-up Resilience: The third sector, local communities and Critical Local Infrastructures (CLIs).

2. Evaluating and Modelling Resilience of Critical Local Infrastructure Systems.

3. Integrating Local Infrastructure with Local, National, European and Global Infrastructure.
Exploitation Route Practitioners can use underpinning research to influence their thinking in the area of critical local infrastructure. Indeed, such impact has already taken place with workshops held with the Worcester Partnership and Birmingham City Council. The purpose of the arising large grant will be to materially influence policy. The three feasibility studies described above are currrently being combined into one potential programme of research from which a large grant application is being drafted for submission to EPSRC. The outcomes from this programme of research will be used to influence school curricula as well as being able to be incorporated into Master's programmes.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Energy,Environment,Healthcare,Security and Diplomacy,Transport,Other
 
Description The CDFA team held its first meeting of the Practitioner Forum on the 5 April 2011 to identify issues of critical importance with regard to local infrastructure (with a focus on transport and utilities) and resilience and to scope the first two of four proposed feasibility studies. Delegates included representatives of industry infrastructure owners (eg national rail) and developers (eg CH2M HILL, Halcrow), transport (DfT, TfL) as well as national security (eg NATSCO). Beneficiaries: The delegates and, by extension, their organisations John Bryson led an in-depth interview / meeting with Birmingham City Council on the 3 October 2011 to discuss the four feasibility studies arising from the project and to scope opportunities for a future, collaborative bid. Beneficiaries: The delegates and, by extension, their organisations The CDFA team hosted an international workshop at the Institute of Directors on the 26 April 2012. The purpose of the workshop was to explore the key elements of critical local infrastructure from an international perspective. Outcomes arising are journal papers / briefing articles. Delegates included representatives of the international community (Hong Kong, The Netherlands, Canada and America) alongside UK practice (Ch2M HILL, Nationalgrid, Halcrow, Network Rail). Beneficiaries: The delegates and, by extension, their organisations The CDFA team held is second meeting of the Practitioner Forum on the 6 September 2011 to review the two completed feasibility studies and scope further the remaining two as well as future research proposals. Delegates included NATSCO, Network Rail, MA Shepherd Ltd, Halcrow and TfL. Beneficiaries: The delegates and, by extension, their organisations The CDFA team held a workshop with Worcester County Council on the 12 September to unpick issues of relevance and importance to Worcestershire and to scope opportunities for a future, collaborative bid. Beneficiaries: The delegates and, by extension, their organisations This research still underpins much of the current portfolio of research that has developed beyond EPSRC's Sustainable Urban Environments programme, and is cited by the PI in the frequent seminar and workshop presentations to which he is invited. It provided a foundation from which iBUILD: Infrastructure BUsiness models, valuation and Innovation for Local Delivery (an ESRC/EPSRC consortium researching infrastructure interdependencies and novel business models) has developed and is supporting thinking in the Urban Living Partnership plots.
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Construction,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Energy,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice,Security and Diplomacy,Transport,Other
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Economic
 
Description Assessing the Underworld
Amount £3,782,838 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/K021699/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 06/2013 
End 05/2017
 
Description EPSRC
Amount £6,244,233 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/J017698/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 05/2012 
End 04/2017
 
Description Transforming the Engineering of Cities to deliver Societal and Planetary Wellbeing
Amount £6,244,233 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/J017698/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 05/2012 
End 12/2017
 
Description iBUILD
Amount £3,567,862 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/K012398/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 08/2013 
End 07/2017
 
Description EU Advisory Team on Smart, Sustainable Innovations 
Organisation European Commission (EC)
Country European Union (EU) 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution John Bryson is a member of the EU?s Advisory Team on Smart, Sustainable Innovations.
Start Year 2011
 
Description ICIF Infrastructure Grand Challenges: Exhibition and Networking Forum at a world café event of rolling conversations on ICIF's four primary themes. London, on 21st February. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Professor Rogers attended the ICIF Infrastructure Grand Challenges: Exhibition and Networking Forum. At the Institution of Civil Engineers, during which he represented the Urban Futures, Liveable Cities, iBUILD and Urban Living Birmingham projects, by feeding the learning into a world café event of rolling conversations on ICIF's four primary themes. London, on 21st February.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description EPS Newsletter April 2011 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Primary Audience Participants in your research or patient groups
Results and Impact Resilience through innovation: local transport and utility infrastructure, College of Engineering and Physical Sciences Newsletter, April 2011, University of Birmingham.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description EPS Newsletter October 2011 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Primary Audience Participants in your research or patient groups
Results and Impact Resilience through innovation: local transport and utility infrastructure, College of Engineering and Physical Sciences Newsletter, October 2011, University of Birmingham.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Ecobuild 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Professor Chris Rogers delivered a presentation entitled "Resilient Infrastructure - Designing the Underworld" to Ecobuild 2014, ExCel, London, 5th March 2014. He also chaired a session entitled "Delivering Integrated, Resilient Green and Grey Infrastructure - Strategies for Success" as part of the Future Cities Seminar Programme.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Exploring the Underworld - A Hidden World of Opportunity 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Professor Chris Rogers delivered a presentation entitled Exploring the Underworld - A Hidden World of Opportunity to the Midland Geotechnical Society, at the University of Birmingham on 4th February 2013. He summarised the findings from Mapping the Underworld, presented the findings on underground space usage deriving from Urban Futures and on local infrastructure resilience from the C.D.F.A Critical Local Infrastructures project, presented the initial findings from Liveable Cities, and presented the case for a new research programme entitled Assessing the Underworld. Presentation to the Midlands Geotechnical Society, Birmingham on 4th February 2013, attended by 60 professional geotechnical engineers and engineering geologists.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Future Cities Technology Innovation Centre (TIC) meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Primary Audience
Results and Impact Bryson John R. (2011), Sustainability and Resilience in Cities, invited presentation to the Future Cities Technology Innovation Centre (TIC) meeting with the Technology Strategy Board and Birmingham City Council, 14 October 2011. The meeting was arranged by Science City for the TSB as part of the development of a business case to establish a Future Cities TIC.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Future Infrastructure Forum 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Professor Chris Rogers became a core member of the Future Infrastructure Forum, thus representing all of the relevant EPSRC-funded projects with which he is involved (Mapping the Underworld, Urban Futures, Critical Local Transport and Utility Infrastructures, Liveable Cities, and Assessing the Underworld). He attended all five fora on 26th and 27th September 2011, 17th and 18th January 2012, 17th and 18th April 2012, 5th and 6th September 2012, and 27th and 28th March 2013. He is a member of a small team organising a meeting of the core members to advance the research agenda. . Awarding Body - Future Infrastructure Forum, Name of Scheme - Future Infrastructure Forum
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011,2012,2013
 
Description GEES Newsletter June 2011 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Resilience through innovation: local transport and utility infrastructure, GEES Newsletter, 13 June 2011 (also displayed on GEES news webpages), University of Birmingham.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Integrated Assessment Modelling Discussion Session 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Professor Chris Rogers was an invited panel member for a Panel Discussion Session entitled "Integrated Assessment Modelling" as part of Urban Integration 2014, Sheffield City Hall, 6th March 2014 at which he presented the findings from Urban Futures and Critical Local Infrastructures projects, and the emerging findings from Liveable Cities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description International Conference on Smart Infrastructure and Construction (ICSIC), Cities Theme, 28th June 2016, Cambridge, UK. Professor Chris Rogers 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited talk based on my strong research record in future cities
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Keynote Paper to Re-Engineering Our Cities Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Chris Rogers presented the Keynote Paper to the Re-Engineering Our Cities Conference, Coventry University, 14th September 2016, entitled "Re-Engineering Future Sustainable, Resilient and Liveable Cities". It described the outcomes of the Urban Futures and Liveable Cities ESPRC funded programmes.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.ice.org.uk/eventarchive/re-engineering-our-cities-coventry
 
Description Linking up Infrastructure and Smart Transport Systems 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Linking up Infrastructure and Smart Transport Systems"Speciality Session on Future Cities at Utility Week Live 2015, NEC, Birmingham on 23rd April 2015
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Policy Commission 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Chris R is leading a University of Birmingham Policy Commission on sustainable, future cities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Presentation to Untangling the Infrastructure Web 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Professor Chris Rogers presented a talk entitled "Infrastructure Research: From Future Liveable Cities via Foresight to Assessing the Underworld" to a CIRIA Conference and Workshop entitled Untangling the Infrastrcuture Web
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Professor Chris Rogers delivered a presentation entitled "Future Proofing City Systems, and the UK's System of Cities" to Resilience and Growth for Future Cities international conference, Civil Engineering Triennial Summit, Institution of Civil Engineers, 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Reaching an audience of approximately 100 delegates from the UK, US and Canadian practitioner communities.

To follow
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description UK-GBC Cities Summit 2016 debate: "Birmingham: Building a Greener City", 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Professor Chris Rogers was invited to be a member of an Expert Panel at the UK-GBX Cities Summit 2016 on 23rd February 2016. He took part in a panel debate entitled "Birmingham: Building a Greener City", making an introductory presentation, responding to a structured discussion and fielding questions from an audience of 150 practitioners and local government officers. He subsequently contributed to a cascading series of workshop sessions designing city interventions for Birmingham on 23rd and 24th February 2016. He reported on the emerging findings of Liveable Cities and iBUILD.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016