From the «Resilient city» to urban resilience. a review essay on understanding and integrating the resilience perspective for urban systems

Lorenzo Chelleri

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    57 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Resilience appears to have become a buzz word since the ecological, psychological, social and economic sciences began to use it to refer, respectively, to the capacity of ecosystems, people, societies, the economy, and more recently even urban systems to cope with disturbance. In fact, it is unclear exactly what the catchword «resilient city» means. Based on these assumptions, this article reviews resilience perspectives and their possible application to urban systems. In the first part of the paper, the concept of resilience, its evolution and perspectives (from engineering to social ecology) are analyzed with reference to ecosystems, societies and complex systems. In the second part we try to shed light on this panacea of concepts applied to cities. Important insights of this review are that certain resilience engineering perspectives (such as recovery and persistence views) can lead to unsustainable patterns of development in cities, while from complex systems resilience perspectives the principles of sustainability and transformability emerge as the consequent and necessary trajectory. While the term «resilient cities» often refers only to the capacity to maintain functions and structures, we argue that urban resilience should be framed within the resilience (system persistence), transition (system incremental change) and transformation (system reconfiguration) views.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)287-306
    JournalDocuments d' Analisi Geografica
    Volume58
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012

    Keywords

    • Adaptation to climate change
    • Resilient cities
    • Sustainability
    • Transition towns
    • Urban resilience

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