Changing emphasis to a resilient future

In the aftermath of World War Two – as affected nations tried to rebuild from the rubble and establish viable governments, effective economies and stable societies – we witnessed an explosion of human and material investment in the resurrection of Europe and the high-velocity growth of American industrial and military might.

The concept of resilience was much less important than confirming that newer, more modern and technologically advanced systems could be built and managed which would catapult society optimistically towards the last 50 years of the 20th century.

Thoughts about permanently overcoming the recurrent risks of disasters, major crises, costly emergencies and other destructive events were less defined in the 1980s and 1990s, as many regions of the world found themselves in rough economic and technological equivalence by the mid-90s and benefiting from nonstop investments in growth.

The combination of crippling disasters, the emergence of terrorism, and the recognition that many complex urban systems and their associated infrastructures in western and Asian societies were approaching 70 years of relentless demand put enormous pressure on political leaders to devise a strategy that offered at least three major goals:

  • Existing systems approaching 70 years of use must be refined, renewed and upgraded to ensure at least another 70 years of reliable service
  • The ongoing political-economic competition between major nations must not dramatically alter the strategic geopolitical balance of ‘advanced’ and ‘less advanced’ states
  • States aspiring to be among the top five global economic powerhouses must invest in their futures by relying on long-term strategies rooted in the concept of resilience

What emerged at the end of 2010 was a deeper awareness that Europe, the USA, China, Korea, the Middle East, and selected regions elsewhere were embarking on a 20-year campaign to ensure these three goals were paramount in their national strategic plans.

Nobody wanted 2030 to dawn and find themselves slipping below the top five global economies or losing ground in the eternal competition among nations for influence and prominence.

Your task

Can you identify projects, either in your region or internationally, that match the goals highlighted above?

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This article is from the free online course:

Foundations in Resilience, Security and Emerging Technology

Coventry University