Auckland Unplugged

Auckland Unplugged : Coping with Critical Infrastructure Failure

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Virtually all of the socio-technical systems that maintain public order, quality of life, and commerce depend on a reliable electric supply, and critical infrastructure failures such as "blackouts" have profound implications for citizens and for those who govern in their name. Social scientists have noted the impact of such failures on society, and undertake the study of crisis management to improve our knowledge of why critical systems fail and how such systems can be made more reliable. Auckland Unplugged is a major contribution to this field. Using the 1998 blackout of the central business district of Auckland, New Zealand, as a case study, the authors reveal a number of important insights into the central challenges of crisis governance in post-industrial, democratic societies. These challenges include finding an appropriate division of responsibility and labor between public- and private-sector actors, crafting and coordinating a crisis response that addresses perceived threats to community values and avoids the twin perils of underreaction (e.g., passivity or paralysis) and overreaction (e.g., "crying wolf" or political grandstanding), coping with competence/authority discrepancies under stress: Those who have expert knowledge of the technical issues rarely have the authority to make policy; those who have the authority generally lack the technical expertise to comprehend the subtleties and uncertainties of the issues at stake, maintaining credibility and legitimacy when facing acute, ill-structured problmes in politicized, publicized, and highly uncertain environments. Such challenges are by no means specific to Auckland or to the problem of coping with urban "blackouts." Auckland Unplugged clearly describes and carefully explores general and recurring problems faced by crisis managers around the more

Product details

  • Hardback | 218 pages
  • 152.4 x 231.1 x 25.4mm | 408.24g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • 0739104861
  • 9780739104866

Review quote

These five chapters provide a valuable contribution to the literatures on variably coupled systems, crisis management, organisational behavior, and the politics of management. [An] interesting case study. Political Studies Review This book offers a fascinating account of what happens when a big city faces acute infrastructural failures. It teaches us that in these situations policymakers, no matter how well prepared they are, will face surprises and vexing questions. It analyses how the Auckland authorities coped with these challenges and offers many useful suggestions for managing future infrastructural and urban crises. In short, this book is a must-read for anyone who knows that it is not just apocalyptic events such as 9-11 that can greatly disturb the fabric of modern cities. -- Paul 't Hart, Leiden Universityshow more

About Eric Stern

Lindy Newlove is a doctoral student of the interdisciplinary Tema Institute at the University of Linkoping. Eric Stern is acting Professor of Government at the Swedish National Defence College and Associate Professor of Government at Uppsala University. Lina Svedin is a Ph.D. student at The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse more

Table of contents

Part 1 Public Sector Reform, Electricity Policy and Crisis Preparedness in New Zealand Part 2 The Power Outage Crisis: Key Events and Critical Decisions Part 3 Urban Crisis Management in Auckland: Thematic Analysis Part 4 Lesson for Crisis Managersshow more