Nine Principles for a Resilient World


My thinking and practice around the notions of resilience draws inspiration from Brian Walker and David Salt’s ‘Nine Principles for a Resilient World’ (2006).

Walker and Salt argue that resilience “allows us to understand the changing conditions of our world, develop the necessary responsive skills to engage in it, and build a better future in ways that seem possible” (Walker & Salt, 2006). 

Their work mainly focuses upon resilience for environmental and resource management, and even though there is no mention of resilience for the design spaces here, I believe that their work and principles are extremely applicable to implementing resilient fashion and textile design organisations.

"Resilience thinking offers a different way of understanding the world and a new approach to managing resources. It embraces human and natural systems as complex entities continually adapting through cycles of change, and seeks to understand the qualities of a system that must be maintained or enhanced in order to achieve sustainability. It explains why greater efficiency by itself cannot solve resource problems and offers a constructive alternative that opens up options rather than closing them down.” - (Walker & Salt, 2006). 

The ‘Nine Principles for a Resilient World’:

1. Diversity: A resilient world would promote and sustain diversity in all forms (biological, landscape, social and economic). 

2. Ecological Variability: A resilient world would embrace and work with ecological variability, rather than at tempting to control and reduce it. 

3. Modularity: A resilient world would consist of modular components. 

4. Acknowledging Slow Variables: A resilient world would have a policy focus on ‘slow’, controlling variables associated with thresholds. 

5. Tight Feedbacks: A resilient world would possess tight feedbacks, but not too tight. 

6. Social Capital: A resilient world would promote trust, well-developed social networks, and leadership, adapt ability. 

7. Innovation: A resilient world would place an emphasis on learning, experimentation, locally developed rules, and embracing change

8. Overlap in Governance: A resilient world would have institutions that include ‘redundancy’ in their governance structures and a mix of common and private property with over-lapping access rights. 

9. Ecosystem Services: A resilient world would include all the unpriced ecosystem services in development proposals and assessments. 

Soured from: Salt, D. Walker, B. 2006. Resilience Thinking: Sustaining Ecosystems and People in a Changing World. Island Press: Washington.