Theories & Practices of Urban Resilience

The concept of urban resilience appeals to a broad array of disciplines and may serve a valuable function as a boundary object. However, urban resilience is a fuzzy and contested term and some scholars now reject resilience altogether. I believe that the concept is redeemable, but greater attention needs to be paid to the variable meanings, politics, equity implications, and tradeoffs of urban resilience. To this end, I study:

    1. The different ways in which urban resilience is defined and characterized among academic disciplines, policymakers, and the public
    2. The implications of these multiple understandings, and develop frameworks to minimize conceptual confusion and ultimately facilitate more critical and equitable resilience policies.
    3. Cities’ resilience planning processes and plans to understand if and how the growing emphasis on resilience is transforming urban governance.

Illustrative publications

  • Meerow, Sara, Joshua Newell, Melissa Stults. 2016. “Defining Urban Resilience: A Review” Landscape and Urban Planning. 147: 38-49. Link
  • Meerow, Sara and Joshua Newell. 2016. “Urban resilience for whom, what, when, where, and why?" Urban Geography. Link
  • Meerow, Sara and Melissa Stults. 2016. “Comparing conceptualizations of urban climate resilience in theory and practice." Sustainability. 8(7): 701. Link
  • Woodruff, Sierra, Sara Meerow, Melissa Stults, Chandler Wilkins. Forthcoming. “Adaptation to Resilience Planning: Alternative pathways to prepare for climate change.” Journal of Planning Education and Research. Link