Forum 2016 - Infrastructure Space - Detroit (Ruby Press)
233 232 In its proposal to restructure gover- nment, the administrative-continuity model highlights the figure of “the community” as not simply the bene- ficiary of a reformed governmental structure, but as a central figure in the governmental space of resilience itself. “Communities must be drivers of resilience,” headlines the “Collabo- ration by Design” section, a statement that poses questions about how com- munity efforts connect with govern- mental planning, and what gaps exist in the span between the two. If it was “the community” that was the victim of poor governance in the recovery efforts following Sandy, it is now “the community” that must be endowed with new powers within a framework of resilient governance. Just as go- vernment must adopt resilience, so too, the participants of RBD suggest, must communities and civic groups be encouraged to “fully embrace resilience as part of their mission.” 10 Through an “engaged partnership” between government and the local coastal communities of Greater New York City, the notion of community is transformed into a key site in which a new governmental knowledge rele- vant to resilience may emerge. Indeed, if resilient government must work across scales, it must also become inclusive. The government’s expanded field of operation within the category of community thus requires a kind of layered pedagogical campaign that would elucidate the knowledge and set of values that communities must adhere to within the framework of resilient governance. The role blish formal positions in government planning; how governmental models could be reformed to “balance hu- man, ecological and economic needs in coastal areas”; and lastly, how to expand “nature-based solutions” as a form of urban design. The three topics intended to address a realm of design exposed in the initial process, yet go beyond what spatial design itself is able to prescribe: the design of law. 7 What came out of this meeting was summarized in a report publis- hed a year later addressing ways in which governance should be refor- med to accommodate the mandates of resilience. 8 In this summary, RBD participants emphasize the need to coordinate governance across all scales. The current model, described as “fragmented,” operates through clumsy and often nonexistent mecha- nisms to coordinate federal, regional, state, municipal, and local authorities when faced with an emergency on the scale of Hurricane Sandy. What RBD participants propose in response they call “administrative continuity,” which is an effort to restructure government, collapsing all layers of governance into a single, fluid machine of gover- nment tuned to respond to the immi- nent emergencies that climate change promises. This makes sense: since the climate is not bound to a single scale, neither too should the gover- nmental response to its effects. “To address emerging environmental and social challenges, we must operate at the scale of climatic and ecological regions, and in a way that puts com- munities first.” 9 Scaleless Government More recently, RBD has begun to aggressively advocate far-reaching legal reforms that they assert will help to achieve resilience. In June 2014, it published a report aimed to direct conversations that would take place during a roundtable held later that month. RBD asked its ten design teams to identify areas in which their proposals would likely encounter legal and policy-based obstacles. The results of this were distilled into three main topics of discussion: how to formalize “civic infrastructures,” or how community and civic groups may esta- zen groups, “communities,” and indivi- duals can all participate in the real-time construction of the urban as a totality of data. However, to read it as such is to miss the point: the eco-cybernetic space of RBD is one without scale. That is to say, it proposes a system whose management of space occurs across scales. While this is in part a consequence of deploying cybernetic infrastructures across a metro region, it is not merely a question of technology that drives this change: rather, it is the product of the relation between cyber- netic infrastructures and an emergent form of “resilient governance” that this technology makes possible. Fig. 2: Data management and communication system as envisaged by the OMA team.