Climate adaptation of interconnected infrastructures: a framework for supporting governance
Author(s)Snelder, M.; van Thienen, P.; de Wit, S.; Wols, B.; Bollinger, L. A.; Bogmans, C. W. J.; Chappin, E. J. L.; Dijkema, G. P. J.; Huibregtse, J. N.; Tavasszy, L. A.; Schenk, Todd Edward William; ... Show more Show less
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Infrastructures are critical for human society, but vulnerable to climate change. The current body of research on infrastructure adaptation does not adequately account for the interconnectedness of infrastructures, both internally and with one another. We take a step toward addressing this gap through the introduction of a framework for infrastructure adaptation that conceptualizes infrastructures as complex socio-technical “systems of systems” embedded in a changing natural environment. We demonstrate the use of this framework by structuring potential climate change impacts and identifying adaptation options for a preliminary set of cases—road, electricity and drinking water infrastructures. By helping to clarify the relationships between impacts at different levels, we find that the framework facilitates the identification of key nodes in the web of possible impacts and helps in the identification of particularly nocuous weather conditions. We also explore how the framework may be applied more comprehensively to facilitate adaptation governance. We suggest that it may help to ensure that the mental models of stakeholders and the quantitative models of researchers incorporate the essential aspects of interacting climate and infrastructure systems. Further research is necessary to test the framework in these contexts and to determine when and where its application may be most beneficial.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Regional Environmental Change
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Bollinger, L. A. et al. “Climate Adaptation of Interconnected Infrastructures: A Framework for Supporting Governance.” Regional Environmental Change (2013): n. pag.
Author's final manuscript