Energy Security, Risk and Resilience

Description and Timescale: The Powering our Lives: Sustainable Energy Management and the Built Environment Project was commissioned by the Foresight unit at the UK Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (then called the Department of Trade and Industry) and ran during 2007. I was tasked with undertaking work on ‘Uncertainty, risk and the evolution of the built environment’.

Project summary: This Foresight project explored how the UK built environment might evolve to help manage the transition to secure, sustainable, low carbon energy systems over the next 50 years.  Emphasis was placed on how this would meet the fluid needs and requirements of society, the economy, and of individuals. The overall project focused on four scenarios highlighting some major areas of future uncertainty as well as potential future challenges and opportunities. The full report Powering Our Lives: Sustainable Energy Management and the Built Environment (2008) can be found here.

The specific part of this work I was involved with concerned ideas of security, risk and resilience and how these have become increasingly embedded in urban planning and design practice, and in national security and energy policy, as attempts have been made to make the built environment and critical energy infrastructure more resistant to disruptive challenges. This has taken place with particular regard to the threat of climate change and to the security challenges faced by many cities as a result of the threat of terrorism. In this context, I highlighted the possible synergies between security and environmental issues, and policies connected to the planning, design, and engineering of the built environment.

Key outputs:

  • Coaffee, J. (2008) Risk, resilience, and environmentally sustainable cities, Energy Policy, 36 (12) 4633-4638
  • Coaffee, J. and Bosher, L. (2008) Integrating counter-terrorist resilience into sustainability, Proceeding of the Institute of Civil Engineers: Urban Design and Planning, Vol 161, Issue DP”, 75-84

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