Resilience – making it happen! The title has multiple meanings.
Politically and culturally, our world is fragmented. For survival, all societies are linked through their common environment. Planet Earth and its inhabitants are one system, under threat of climate change and its consequences. We urgently need to learn to manage this system. The time is here to create a society that is based on resilience. Resilience is the capacity of a system to maintain or recover certain functions while undergoing shocks and pressures. It emerges from the many interactions between people and natural and/or artificial system components, and the capacity of people to adapt. We work on food security, flood protection, continuous energy supply, sustainable cities, and so forth. All these topics involve aspects of resilience. We need to involve other people in our resilience thinking, build a community of resilience thinkers. Hence this summer school: making the resilience community happen. We invite you to participate.
Talking about resilience is one, but doing things with it is two. Resilience is a nontrivial, emerging property of the social systems we study, whether they are cities, agri-food systems, electrical grids, or otherwise. People have an active role as autonomous, decision-making agents in all these systems. Whether we are managers, policy-makers, or citizens, we cannot just force the systems we intend to govern into a resilient regime. We first have to understand not only the technical and natural aspects of these systems, but also the human side. This includes psychological, behavioural, sociological, economic, and institutional aspects. Without an understanding of systems as complex adaptive systems, we cannot hope to properly govern them or create the needed resilience. To implement your ideas about resilience you have to construct models that are capable of describing these agents and simulating the emerging resilience. Hence this summer school: by means of simulating with agent-based modelling we are making resilience happen.