21. 09. 2017


by Rita Salgado Brito, LNEC

The analysis of urban resilience relies on the pre-assessment and assessment phases for information gathering, coordination and validation, considering the involved services, infrastructures, interdependencies, cascading effects and redundancies, among others. Within the RESCCUE project, these phases are handled by Work Package (WP) 4, and require an intensive program of meetings.

In Lisbon, this task has been promoted by HIDRA, involving other local RESCCUE partners (Laboratório Nacional de Engenharia Civil (LNEC), Lisbon City Council’s Civil Protection Service (CML), EDP – Distribuição, Águas de Portugal) either in bilateral or joint sessions. We intended to maximize the flow of information amongst the participants and benefit from networking with more knowledgeable people in each urban sector.

Knowledge is often seen as a valuable form of information. Once I have found an interesting distinct definition of knowledge: it is about know-how and know-why. These RESCCUE meetings were typically held as “knowledge sharing” meetings. We not only sought to know which infrastructure stands where, we wanted a small grasp of how it works and why it works that way and not another.

These meetings were therefore mostly held between technicians, able to better explain the dynamic functioning of their infrastructures, both day-to-day and in emergency situations, and to better recognize their fragilities and connections with other services and infrastructures. Soon it was evident that a more cross-sectorial approach was required, going beyond RESCCUE involved services in Lisbon. For such, experts from other stakeholders were heard: from water supply, solid waste, urban planning, transport, fleet management and urban mobility. More than 10 meetings were held.

Everyone was invited, throughout the meeting’s agenda, to share their insight on a given topic, interact, participate and contribute to meeting effectiveness. The “knowledge sharing” approach benefited both parties: hosts gained important knowledge on the overall functioning of the city and those who were consulted recognized unknown synergies with and dependencies from other services as well as the importance of sharing, for their own service improvement. All in all, I think we all got more out than we put in…

I believe that one important outcome of these meetings, additionally to the required RESCCUE tasks and milestones, is that participants build and strengthen professional relationships that enable the dialogue to continue beyond the project. Effective urban services collaboration and knowledge sharing, spanning across the city, will surely contribute to boost city resilience.