Alina Tepes, Marc B. Neumann, Multiple perspectives of resilience: A holistic approach to resilience assessment using cognitive maps in practitioner engagement, Water Research, Volume 178, 2020
Resilience has become a regulatory concept influencing investment decisions in the water and wastewater sector. However, current assessments predominantly focus on technical resilience and on engineering solutions. Here we propose an alternative, more holistic approach that captures multiple perspectives of resilience by eliciting and comparing cognitive maps of diverse agents both from within as well as external to a wastewater utility. We use Fuzzy Cognitive Mapping as a practical tool to elicit subjective views on resilience mechanisms and illustrate the methodology in co-production with professionals from the wastewater sector in the Belfast area (Northern Ireland). We find that the proposed participatory process facilitates a more “reflective”, “inclusive” and “integrated” assessment than current approaches. Screening for risks and vulnerabilities using this new approach can foster an integrated system perspective by (i) systematically identifying connections between (sub)systems which are normally assessed separately, (ii) detecting feedbacks between system components which may reveal unintended consequences of resilience interventions and by (iii) obtaining a wider portfolio of potential interventions to increase overall resilience. We conclude that the suggested approach may be useful for strategic planning purposes within a utility and for improving cross-departmental communication among both internal and external agents.