28 November 2013 — A gathering of Australia’s top infrastructure leaders today [Thursday] in Sydney has called on government to invest in resilience for buildings and infrastructure.

David Singleton, global planning leader for Arup and chairman of the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia, called for the building and infrastructure sectors to invest in resilience, rather than resistance, in order to create successful and sustainable urban communities.

“We can no longer design to resist the full impacts of climate change or natural disaster,” Mr Singleton told the Green Building Council of Australia’s Sustainable Communities and Infrastructure conference. “Rather, we must design a system that is resilient.

“As engineers we have applied factors of safety to achieve resistant designs. We can no longer be sure that an investment in resistance will fulfil its purpose, and there is a chance an investment in resistance may make matters worse.”

Mr Singleton said he believed investment in resilience was a better strategy.

“Cities should adopt a systemic approach to resilience that allows them to fail ‘gently’, rather than catastrophically.

“A solution based around ‘gentle’ failure is considered a success when the city is able to function after disaster by using alternative resources and systems and through the initiatives of the local community.”