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Resourceful societies

How can we develop a resourceful society, better prepared to address the disruption of supply chains? What actions are needed to increase a communities’ capacity to assess, adapt and act?

Recent supply chain crises have emphasised the need for resilience in the way we organise our society. Disruptions in the distribution of basic supplies such as food, water and electricity add additional risks to the vital functions of society.  Chain reactions replicated at multiple levels are placing new demands on our urban environments. More cities are now exploring innovative ways to deal with shortages, disruptions and environmental stressors.

Solar Energy Resilience – Emergency power from solar panels during blackouts

The first stage of building greater resilience minimises the impact of a supply crisis and increases the effectiveness of response in emergency situations. A resourceful society must, therefore, guarantee autonomous and diversified access to basic resources. A good example of this is creating greater resilience for households.

The Urban Insight study ‘Solar energy resilience: emergency power from solar panels during blackouts’ highlights the role of solar power in mitigating the disruption caused by power outages.  In this study, Sweco analyses how resilience could be enhanced through the installation of residential solar-energy panels and emergency inverters.

Few people are aware that solar panels do not work during a power outage. If all new residential solar-energy installations installed from 2023 to 2028 incorporate emergency inverters, then 8% of all nine studied European country’s population could have access to electricity during power outages.

Residential solar panels

Resource-based communities, from wasteful to resourceful – optimising energy, water and food systems

The second stage of building greater resilience is called ‘bouncing forward’. This refers to going forward after a crisis rather than returning to the original way of doing things.

In the Urban Insight White Paper ‘Resource-based communities’, Sweco experts explore the importance of collective production and the optimisation of food, water and energy supply through principles and good practices that go beyond the crisis situation and seek to generate systemic change. By presenting best practices from across Europe, experts showcase how best to strengthen supply networks and build resilient communities by optimising energy, water and food systems.


Resourceful societies

A new toolkit sets out the key steps to achieving urban resilience and climate governance

The third stage of building greater resilience involves scaling up the actions needed to boost resilience in a systematic way through their capacity to expand, replicate and influence other strategies and places.

“Digital tools and methods could tell us more about a neighbourhood’s local resources and help map and visualise sources, reduce carbon emissions and increase climate resilience” says Elise Grosse, Head of Sustainability, Sweco Architects.

Sweco uses a combination of different digital tools in the form of a toolkit to support cities who wish to build more resourceful neighbourhoods and specifically with the aim of boosting resilience by visualising and quantifying all relevant information from carbon emissions to social-value creation.

By exploring the measures required to develop ‘Resourceful Societies’, Sweco experts from different disciplines dive into various strategies to boost resilience, each of them focusing on different actions such as minimising the impact of a crisis, ‘bouncing forward’ and systemic change.