08 february

Applying Resilience In Public Asset Management

Every city has maintenance responsibilities of its so called ‘assets’ in the public space. These assets might include water treatment facilities, sewer lines, roads, utility grids and bridges. Generally, the process focuses on the later stages of a facility’s life cycle like maintenance, rehabilitation, and replacement.

In 2017, the department of Public Works of the City of Rotterdam defined resilience as one of the core values in its strategic asset management plan. As such, Rotterdam aims to implement the multidisciplinary character of resilience in every intervention in the public space. But what does that mean and how can we integrate resilient goals and qualities in the maintenance assessments? And maybe even more important, how can we translate this ambition into practical terms?

To incorporate resilience into asset management practice, a mix of local asset managers and members of the Rotterdam Resilience team started to develop a methodology to make resilience tangible, and preferably even measurable. The 18th of January, it was time for the first test: a workshop with people from different departments of the municipality and a delegation from 100RC. Main goal of this first test was to involve colleagues into resilience thinking by applying it to a case: a park in Rotterdam where a variety of assets is present.

With various activities the participants went through different phases of understanding and applying the resilience framework. From awareness raising by identifying possible shocks and stresses and developing a set of adaptive measures, to implementing by defining and assessing the resilience qualities for their measures. For this assessment was the group used an in-house developed ‘resilience quality maturity model’, which is intended to become a policy instrument to define the ‘level of resilience’ we aim for in relation to our assets and measures.

And, how were the reactions? During the concluding evaluation, participants showed to be positively surprised by the new perspective this workshop gave them on their work. The approach was experienced as a valuable mean to improve current practices, but moreover a practical approach to become aware of future challenges and deal with it. Various ideas for further improvement and applicability were shared. Valuable input the resilience team will use to make a next step in this quest to anchor resilience into the workflows of Rotterdam.

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