Florence, 5th - 6th September 2008
Villa Agape - Via della Torre del Gallo 8/10 - Florence
Individual reaction to extreme events and the emergence of collective effects in urban systems: mitigation, response and recovery
The key issue of the workshop will be to consider extreme events as complex systems. The meeting will focus on both the individual response to extreme events and the role of the network of social relations.
We intend to analyze the individual response during the three main phases before and after the extreme event: prevention, immediate response, and recovery.
In the prevention phase, the discussion of risk management strategies deals with insurance and mitigation as two complementary strategies for reducing future losses and providing funds for recovery, and addresses the role of public-private partnerships in this regard.
In the response phase, immediately after the event, collective phenomena emerge from individual behavior: the effects of a disaster can be amplified or reduced by the collective behavior of the persons involved (panic vs. cooperation), the so called self-organized disintegration. Starting from the individual response, the next problem in this phase is the re-organization of the network destroyed by the event, or of the set-up of a new special network devoted to the management of the rescue. Decentralized, peer-to-peer communications could weaken the effects of a disaster, for instance by allowing communications in the presence of a failure of centralized structures.
In the recovery phase the complex character of society plays a preminent role. The extreme event does more than damage physical artifacts in the system. It also damages or destroys relationships between the individuals and the institutions. Recovery is complex and difficult because it requires establishing or re-establishing important relationships within the system and between the system and its environment. Achieving post-event viability is a function of the individual choices made by the constituent elements of the community concerning their roles, actions, and relationships following the event and during the aftermath.The Workshop is organized by the Center for the Study of Complex Dynamics in collaboration with the Departments of Energetics and of Town and Regional Planning of the University of Florence