This contributing paper looks into the use of disaster science in policy making for urban systems, where major risks need to be managed by bringing together emergency management, organisational resilience and climate change adaptation. This study applies the theory of cascading, interconnected and compound risk to the practice of preparing for, managing and responding to threats and hazards. This methodology is illustrated with an example from the United Kingdom, namely the work of the Greater London Authority and its partner organisations. London has long been a champion of resilience strategies for dealing with systemic risk. The chapter investigates the potential and limitations of this approach.
The study identifies that there remains a need to identify common points of failure, especially where they relate to interconnected domains and where they are driven by climate change. The roadmap of systemic risk management should become less conservative and more innovative. The possible disruptions that could arise in future years have multiple triggers and varied paths of development. In dealing with this, tools such as risk registers are not necessarily effective. The increased uncertainties associated with networked infrastructure and climate change suggest that it is necessary to create resilience by identifying and prioritising common points of failure in society. Radical new thinking is required in order to ensure operational continuity in the face of growing systemic risk.