Local resilience against system failure is a matter of how well local networks (individual, household, immediate social surroundings and neighbourhood, town) can go on doing what they’re doing when the wider network fails to deliver. When power fails, or transport is interrupted to bring supplies, for instance. Or when the financial sector collapses around you.
Local resilience is increasingly important in our very connected and therefore increasingly complex world. Our complex world is a boon when it comes to the exchange of ideas and information, the richness of global human culture, and empathy for others. It’s the great feat of our time, primarily made possible by our new communication infrastructures internet and mobile communications. At the same time complexity also can mean you’re vulnerable to things happening somewhere else outside your scope of influence that propagate very quickly to you through the myriad of connections between you and the rest of the world. All our actions are both local (doing what we do where we are) and at the same time hyperlocal (because of our connectedness).

All this is visible if you look at the systems that surround us in our everyday lives. Power, water, fuel, food, all are delivered to us through large internationally and globally connected systems. How to build resilience on those fronts to counteract potential negative fall-out of our complex world?

This weekend I came across this interesting diagram (pdf) depicting the six general ways we have to die: too hot, too cold (both about shelter), hunger, thirst (about supply), illness and injury (about safety). It then plots a number of infrastructures and systems on that map. The result is a quick overview of how different things impact different dangers to us. A good starting point to think about local resilience on town,household and personal level. Right now the papers are full of a threat in the illness category, swine flu, that within 2 days spread from Mexico and US to Australia and Europe. What options do you have locally to counteract it, if needs be?

More pdf files, presenting the same notions in different forms are available.
All are by the Hexayurt project and public domain.