The Crisis Resilience Resilience Academy focuses on learning to better understand, and where possible to augment, the interactions and cooperation between formal authorities, responding organizations and other involved communities during crisis situations. Though the world has always had its share of disturbances and crises, new problems like accelerated urbanization, climate change and globalization create a sense of urgency to adjust the current crisis management systems. The current types of crises are characterized by having multiple causes, by the ambiguity of their effects and different resolutions as well as the shared conviction that solutions should be taken collectively. Formal authorities who are under pressure to ‘restore order’, struggle to govern cooperating reactive networks and local communities in order to manage potential conflicting interests and actions. Traditional top-down command and control solutions therefore often come up short. What is needed, are new perspectives that create partnerships and promote resilience.
Departing from co creation, sense making and civil participation, the ‘Amsterdam Living Lab Crisis Resilience’ project is illustrative to the research conducted by the Crisis Resilience Academy. By learning to better understand – and if possible to enhance – crisis communication and management of the municipality of Amsterdam and its surrounding security region, we focus on analyzing different forms of network cooperation, bottom-up (societal) information flows and sources and how these can be utilized during crises. If these networks can be properly utilized, the city as a whole will be able to deal more resiliently with crisis situations, understanding ‘resilience’ as the capacity of networks and communities to cope with unexpected events and subsequently recover from these without relying on external aid. The living lab approach enables us to research the use of bottom-up initiatives and networks and the role they play in crisis management and crisis communication during actual crises – or retroactively – together with disaster relief organizations, (local) governments and civil networks. The impact of our research is a result of co-production, where new research questions are born and knowledge (theoretical, conceptual, methodical) are translated to professional practices. Overall, it is a joint search towards societal innovation through a process of learning and experimentation.