words@bld50 monthly talks


Resilience in Infrastructure & Urban Form | Thurs. 10 Nov. 7pm | by Che Biggs

Thursday 10 November
Building 50
Orr Street Carlton

Che’s talk will focus on system design principles for transformation and resilience in infrastructure and urban form. It will argue that much of our built environment and critical infrastructure has been (and still is) designed, built and managed under outdated assumptions of environmental and resource stability. This dominant ‘centralised’ model is not only unsustainable, it exacerbates society’s vulnerability to climate change, peak oil and resource scarcity. With these global scale contextual disruptions ‘in the pipeline’, we urgently need new design models for the built environment that are adapted to greater contextual uncertainty, volatility and disruption – models that are more resilient.

The talk will explore results from on-going research at the Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab that has identified the ‘distributed systems’ model as having considerable promise. Che will draw on examples from the natural and built environment to explore what this model looks like and how a distributed approach can benefit society in four critical areas, by:
  • Reducing society’s base load environmental footprint
  • Increasing the resilience of critical infrastructure to shocks and disturbances
  • Supporting and fostering behavior change, community capacity and adaptive governance
  • Undermining the viability of existing production and consumption systems
The talk will end with an open discussion about the types of opportunities and challenges that people within Architects for Peace may face in enabling distributed systems.

Che Biggs is Distributed Systems Research Fellow at the Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab (VEIL). His work focuses on the development of strategies and tools to build society’s resilience to long-term sustainability challenges. A key component of this work addresses the need for new provision systems (for food, energy and water) that strengthen community capacity to adapt to resource scarcity and climate change while enhancing natural capital. Che has a particular interest working with communities to draw out place-based knowledge, envisage common aims and ensure local ownership of development strategies - particularly those increasing people’s relationship to place and nature. Che has a background in environmental science, management and policy and has worked internationally in the environmental sector since 2001 as a consultant, facilitator and researcher.


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