Question & Answer with Dr Jonathan Clarke is a Senior Teaching Fellow in Global Sustainable Development and Research Fellow in the Resilient Cities Laboratory at the University of Warwick.

Dr Jonathan Clarke is a Senior Teaching Fellow in Global Sustainable Development and Research Fellow in the Resilient Cities Laboratory at the University of Warwick. His work considers the roles of design, planning and governance in identifying and responding to future urban challenges, with a particular focus upon resilience and local decision making. In addition to his academic work, Jonathan is an experienced urban designer, planner and chartered landscape architect, specialising in regeneration, masterplanning, environmental impact assessment and public realm design. He is a professional practice examiner for the Landscape Institute, a design expert for MADE and an external tutor at the University of Sheffield’s Department of Landscape.


Question 1: Tell us about your role in the project?

Answer: I’m the Research Fellow responsible for the University of Warwick’s (UoW) day to day input into the RESILENS project. In particular, we led ‘WP1 – Overview of Resilience and Risk Management Concepts’, which reviewed the ways in which risk and resilience are currently practiced, providing a baseline for the project through the production of  ‘State of the Art’ and ‘Gap Analysis’ reports.


Question 2: How do you think the project will benefit the wider public?

Answer: One of the challenges outlined within WP1, is the expansion of the critical infrastructure sector and its increasing interconnectedness, which raise the potential for cascade failures in vital systems. The RESILENS project provides stakeholders with a variety of tools for enhancing resilience and building preparedness, including the European Resilience Management Guidelines (ERMG) and e-Learning Hub, which can ensure that infrastructure systems are better protected and the public will suffer fewer service disruptions. 


Question 3: How are you engaging the key target users?

Answer: As part of the Resilient Cities Lab’s wider work, we are engaging a range of stakeholders, including utilities providers, in an ongoing dialogue about future challenges to society. As an example of this, the UoW will be a hosting a workshop on resilient infrastructure networks that draws together a broad range of stakeholders with an interest in this area.


Question 4: Why do you think this project is going to be successful?

Answer: I think RESILENS has been fairly unique in having a a range of critical infrastructure providers as an integral part of the project, including transport, water, energy and local government, meaning that the project outputs can be continually tweaked and adjusted to meet their needs. This ongoing feedback has allowed the project to produce practical resources, which can be easily used by a wide range of practitioners. 


Question 5: What is the legacy of the project?

Answer: The RESILENS tools and resources are already being used by critical infrastructure stakeholders and will continue to be used once the project has completed. Less obviously, the networks of people and knowledge will almost certainly lead to wider understanding of the need for resilience and how it can be achieved. Inevitably, a key outcome of RESILENS has been to give the project team a better understanding of where we need to look next.


Question 6: How does the project work in-conjunction with other similar projects?

Answer: RESILENS is one of many (7???) H2020-funded DRS-07 projects, that looks at different aspects of critical infrastructure resilience. From a personal perspective, it builds on over 6 years of major EU-funded research within this sector, beginning with DESURBS (Designing Safer Urban Spaces) and followed by HARMONISE (A Holistic Approach to Resilience and Systematic Actions to Make Large Scale Built Infrastructure Secure). More recently, the work of RESILENS was integral to UoW’s approach to integrated urban governance system, that shaped the RCUK-funded Urban Living Birmingham pilot project, that looked at new ways of delivering urban systems. I very much hope that the work of RESILENS will shape further research and innovation in formulating collaborative strategies for tackling future challenges.