For a community to show resilience in difficult times, we need infrastructure that makes our lives better – projects that help us to bounce back after extreme weather events such as bushfires and floods or helps solve mental health challenges such as isolation and loneliness. This infrastructure must also be ready to withstand the range of challenges that the future may hold.
“Just as we have provided input into the bushfire recovery, we aim to provide guidance for organisations and governments helping communities bounce back from the pandemic, ensuring the resilience of people and livelihoods is at the heart of decision-making processes” says Kieran Power, WSP’s National Lead for Resilience and Climate Adaptation.
2020 – The Year of Shocks and Stresses
For Australia, 2020 has brought forward challenges associated with globalisation and climate change more than any other year. Ravaged by bushfires at the end of 2019 through to January this year and then sent into a lockdown by a global pandemic in March, we are now facing the worst recession since the Great Depression.
“As we look to rebuild from recent extreme weather events or recover from the pandemic, it is imperative that community perspectives are central to the design process. Transparent and accessible engagement supports shared understanding, better project outcomes and more resilient communities.”
To address this, WSP has released the Online Community Portal designed to improve the effectiveness of community engagement.
The proprietary tool helps project shapers to engage with the community in a more contemporary user-friendly way by transforming technical information into a visually engaging, easy to understand format with 24/7 access.
Importantly, because of its digital nature, projects can be brought to life sooner through improved engagement and a better understanding of community needs which in turn enhances business cases and design integration in addition to assisting with the environmental approval process.
“We’re excited to be bringing the Online Community Portal to the market for the benefit of our clients and the communities in which we work, live and play,” says Rebecca Davis, WSP’s Director of Environment, Advisory & Digital. “This easy to use tool provides clear lines of communication for all stakeholders via digital engagement with transparency and openness.
“It allows questions to be answered and opinions to be heard in a non-threatening forum. In what has been a trying time for communities all around the world, building and maintaining trust is key to creating a society that thrives long into the future.”