Inderscience Publishers

Urban vulnerabilities: think simple

Noting the signals coming from the community of complex critical infrastructures management indicating, on the one hand, a definite preoccupation with identifying and properly characterising system vulnerabilities and, on the other hand, a dissatisfaction with (generally) expert capabilities to provide the effective ways and means sought, this paper submits that contributing to the situation is experts being caught in an unfortunate spiral of attempting to match objective complexity with increasingly complex, sometimes unintelligible for the stakeholders, solutions. It is suggested that an occasional change of lane in methodology, on the less analytical yet surprisingly insightful path lead by heuristic methods including cellular automata schemes may bring in just the breath of fresh air that may restore some degree of confidence in 'what nerds can usefully tell practitioners'.

Keywords: urban vulnerabilities, atmospheric dispersion, cellular automaton, critical infrastructures, emergency response, emergency management, air quality, quality assessment, dispersion modelling, air pollution

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