Special Issue "Urban Resilience and Urban Sustainability: From Research to Practice"
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2016)
Dr. Patricia Romero-Lankao
Urban Futures Program, Climate Science and Applications Program, Research Applications Laboratory, National Center for Atmospheric Research, 3450 Mitchell Lane, Boulder, CO, 80301, USA
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Phone: +1 303 497 8104
Fax: +1 303 497 8401
Interests: the dynamics of urbanization and urban areas shaping resource use, vulnerabilities, capacities and risk; and the dimensions of decision makers’ capacity to develop governance arrangements for effective mitigation and adaptation actions
Dr. Olga Wilhelmi
GIS Program, Climate Science and Applications Program, Research Applications Laboratory, National Center for Atmospheric Research, 3450 Mitchell Lane, Boulder, CO, 80301, USA
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Phone: +1 303 497 8126
Fax: +1 303 497 8401
Interests: the intersection of GIS and atmospheric sciences; societal risk and vulnerability to extreme weather events and climate change; urban heat and human health.
Dr. Mary Hayden
Weather, Climate and Health Program, Climate Science and Applications Program, National Center for Atmospheric Research, 3450 Mitchell Lane, Boulder, CO, 80301, USA
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +1 303 497 8116
Fax: +1 303 497 8401
Interests: the intersection of weather, climate and health, social mobilization, and population vulnerability
The question of how to change behaviors, infrastructures, cultures, and institutions to move toward the creation of more sustainable and resilient cities has received increased attention among scholars, decision makers, and global organizations (e.g., ICLEI, Rockefeller’s 100 Resilient Cities). However, while sustainability and resilience have become core issues for different strands of scholarship and communities of practice, strategies for bridging research and practice in our efforts to affect change towards more sustainable and resilient urban centers remain elusive. This Special Issue seeks to synthesize state-of the-art knowledge on theories and practices of urban sustainability and resilience. In particular, this Special Issue invites theoretical and empirical research articles that address the following questions: what are urban resilience and urban sustainability? How do these intersect, complement or contradict each other? What does it mean to have a city that is climate-resilient and sustainable? How one would measure urban resilience and sustainability? How does interdisciplinary research connect to policy-making to affect change towards sustainability and resilience in cities? How can resilience and sustainability be achieved in specific urban sectors, such as public health, water, and infrastructure?
Dr. Patricia Romero-Lankao
Dr. Olga Wilhelmi
Dr. Mary Hayden
Manuscript Submission Information
Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.
Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.
Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.
- urban resilience
- urban sustainability
- science-policy interface
The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.
Title: The Scaffolding of Municipal Sustainability: Discovering Patterns of Government-Citizen Interaction and Altered Collective Behavior
Authors: Jennifer Vanos 1, Robert Forbis 2 and Nathaniel Wright 3
Affiliations: 1 PhD, Assistant Professor of Atmospheric Science, Climate Science Center Faculty Associate, Department of Geosciences, Texas Tech University; E-Mail: email@example.com
2 PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Climate Science Center, Texas Tech University
3 PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Climate Science Center, Texas Tech University
Abstract: Municipalities have become policy labs for sustainability efforts with an eye to climate change. One indicator of this phenomenon is the emergence of Offices of Sustainability within municipal governments. Most academic literature concerning the efforts of these administrative entities is found in the field of Urban Planning. Importantly, most of this literature concerns itself with the process by which municipalities have undertaken individual programs and/or projects, their implementation, and whether they appear to have been successful in achieving their specified objectives. Thus, there is an absence of integrative academic research where municipal sustainability efforts are examined as a whole in order to determine—in a holistic and interdisciplinary manner—whether or not these efforts have had the effect of altering the environmental behavior of a city’s population, bridging research and practice, and/or creating a more resilient city.
One reason for this gap in knowledge is the lack of available data documenting local sustainability efforts and the processes used by local offices of sustainability. Therefore, this research will collect, analyze, and synthesize data from United States municipalities where sustainability programs are in varied stages of implementation. The new understanding gleaned from the collected data will lead to the formulation of a preliminary framework demonstrating the ideal mechanisms for sustainability-oriented informational networks. Secondly, findings from this study will be used to develop a framework that will synthesize state-of the-art knowledge on theories and practices of “environmentally-oriented” efforts of urban sustainability and resilience, while the focus on interdisciplinary perspectives will provide empirical data that deal with core issues for different strands of scholarship and communities of practice.
The existence of such empirical data would significantly improve the capacity of polycentric systems of municipal governance to affect positive change in collective societal behavior as an overarching strategic objective of sustainability programs. The mapping of an ideal type polycentric system of sustainability will serve as “scaffolding”. Once the scaffolding is built, it will allow future research efforts to more accurately demonstrate the inherent dynamism that is required of such systems if the overarching strategic objective is to achieve the collective benefit the environment and reduce emissions. In turn, we believe findings such as these hold the potential to serve as a framework for other municipalities to implement similar strategies—for the purpose of operating independently, by affecting change jointly—to achieve even greater effect in reducing greenhouse, and increasing urban sustainability and resilience.
Title: Resilience of Socio-Spatial Inequality in Santiago de Chile: Challenges to Navigate towards a Sustainable Urban Development
Authors: Ignacio C. Fernández 1,*, David Manuel-Navarrete 2 and Robinson Torres-Salinas 3
Affiliations: 1 PhD Candidate, School of Sustainability, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USA
2 Assistant Professor, School of Sustainability, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USA; E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
3 PhD Candidate, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USA; E-Mail: email@example.com
Abstract: Chile’s development has followed a path of economic and urban growth since 1990. However, the neoliberal reforms implemented by the Pinochet dictatorship (1973–1990), and the lack of effective policies to offset their social impacts, has resulted in socially segregated cities where human development opportunities are spatially concentrated in richer neighborhoods. Even though political agendas and discourses after 1990 have been packed with calls for reducing poverty and inequality, the pattern of urban segregation has been highly resilient. In this work, we argue that urban inequalities in Chile are structurally rooted in a resilient pattern of development that promotes an uneven spatial distribution of economic, social and political opportunities. We describe this pattern by analyzing multiple dimensions of inequality (i.e., income, education, and health) across time and space, comparing the 34 municipalities making-up the capital city of Santiago from 1992 to 2009. Our results show a highly resilient pattern of uneven development in Santiago. We combine a political-ecological approach with the adaptive cycle and resilience framework to discuss these results. We conclude that combinations of endogenous processes and external disturbances may contribute to break the resilience of the uneven geographical development in Santiago, allowing the city to transform and navigate toward a more equitable and sustainable trajectory.
Title: Unpacking Resilience for Adaptation: Incorporating Practitioners’ Experiences through a Transdisciplinary Approach, the Case of Drought in Chile
Abstract: Current debate on the implementation of resilience in addressing climatic impacts highlights the need for more tangible and salient experiences with these impacts in practice as means for learning and generating pragmatic knowledge on measures to alleviate impacts and reduce losses. In this study we aimed to generate context-specific knowledge of resilience factors considered important for addressing climatic impacts such as droughts in the Chilean context. The analytical framework applied in this study consists of resilience theory incorporating transdisciplinary approaches; specifically, we used the Resilience Wheel tool proposed by Aldunce et al. 2015, combined with participatory approaches for the co-production of knowledge and qualitative content analysis of documents and workshops. From the perspective of practitioners in Chile, we have learnt about the main impacts of recent Mega-drought (system knowledge), what constitute key determinants and their attributes for building resilience to drought (target knowledge), and key considerations related to solutions for addressing droughts (transformation knowledge), which forms the basis for evaluating the effectiveness of resilience building and thereby validates resilience theory in practice. The Resilience-Wheel was useful for navigating the conceptual complexity and perceptual diversity inherent in social actors. In this paper we highlight the importance of social learning in co-producing knowledge on resilience factors that would otherwise remain ambiguous or abstract for implementation or evaluation for resilience building to drought as adaptation.
Keywords: drought; Chile; climate change; resilience; adaptation; transdisciplinarity; co-production
Title: Why Urban Resilience? Examining the Benefits and Caveats of Introducing Urban Resilience in Urban Planning and Governance
Author: Niki Frantzeskaki
Affiliation: DRIFT, Faculty of Social Science, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Abstract: Urban resilience is a concept that only recently has been actively undertaken by cities around the world. Even though the concept exists in the scientific literature since the 1970s and research on urban ecology has engaged with the concept mainly for introducing thinking on complexity, social-ecological systems and their vulnerabilities (Pickett et al. 2008; McPhearson et al. 2015; Andersson et al. 2015), it is only to a limited degree informed plans and policies at city level. Interpretative and analytical work on the benefits of urban resilience concept as an analytical bridging concept for urban planning provided directions for its adaptation by cities (Wilkinson et al. 2010; Wagenaar and Wilkinson 2015). In this contribution we build on this work and extend it by showing what are the recognized benefits and caveats when introducing and taking up the concept of urban resilience in strategic level as well as in program level of urban governance. We build from a multi-case study approach that brings together insights from four European cities that forerun in adopting the urban resilience concept at strategic and program level by being involved in the 100 Resilient Cities of the Rockefeller foundation and the Resilient Europe project.
The cities from which we build upon as empirical research grounds for this contribution include: Veijle, in Sweden, Glasgow and Bristol in United Kingdom and Thessaloniki in Greece. For each city a series of interviews with policy officers from different planning departments were conducted to acquire information on the recognized and perceived benefits and limitations of the concept of urban resilience. The interviews took place from November 2015 to January 2016. We employed a narrative frame analysis to the collected data that resulted in the following common frames for benefits and caveats of urban resilience across all the cities.
The commonly recognized and perceived benefits of (uptaking and adopting the concept of) urban resilience in urban planning and governance include: At the strategic level of urban governance (a) urban resilience is an integrative concept that allows to connect objectives and actions across different departments for developing a common understanding and strategic agenda for achieving it; (b) urban resilience is a concept that allows to search for systemic solutions in (view of) vulnerabilities and risks (“turn risks into opportunities”); and (c) urban resilience is transformative concept that requires new planning approaches that address resilience qualities such as redundancy and flexibility that are contradictory to the quality of efficiency (that is a basic principle to new public management approach that many cities follow). At the program level of urban governance (d) urban resilience is a multi-faceted concept that requires a new understanding of contextual conditions across social, ecological, economic and institutional sub-systems and in turn, allows for policy learning about assets and vulnerabilities and (e) urban resilience is an empowering concept for community engagement and programs that allows deeper understanding of assets and barriers to overcome social vulnerabilities and social problems.
The caveats of (uptaking and adopting the concept of) urban resilience for urban planning and governance include: (a) the conceptual exchangeability with sustainability that undermines the benefits it may bring for policy learning (a topic also addressed by Elmqvist, Frantzeskaki et al. 2016); (b) the appearing apolitical meaning it may receive due to the association with engineering robustness and resourcefulness as well as (c) the false association with neo-liberal agendas on incentivized ‘self-organisation’ as an aspiration for achieving social urban resilience (see also Olsson et al. 2014).
Title: Urban Heat Stress Vulnerability in the U.S. Southwest: The Role of Sociotechnical Systems
Authors: Mike Chester and Stephanie Pincetl
Abstract: Heat vulnerability of urban populations is becoming a major issue of concern with climate change, particularly in the cities of the southwest United States. In this article we discuss the importance of understanding coupled social and technical systems, how they constitute one another, and how they form the conditions and circumstances in which people experience heat. We discuss the particular situation of Los Angeles and Maricopa Counties, their urban form and the electric grid. We show how vulnerable populations are created by virtue of the age and construction of buildings, the morphology of roads and distribution of buildings on the landscape. Further, the regulatory infrastructure of electricity generation and distribution also contributes to creating differential vulnerability. We contribute to a better understanding of the importance of sociotechnical systems. Social infrastructure includes codes, conventions, rules and regulations, and technical systems are the hard systems of pipes, wires, buildings, roads, powerplants. These interact to create lock-in that is an obstacle to addressing such issues as urban heat stress in a novel and equitable manner.
Title: Moving from Adaptive to Transformative Capacity: Building Foundations for Just, Inclusive, Innovative Human Settlements
Authors: Gina Ziervogel, Anna Cowen and John Ziniades
Abstract: There is growing acceptance that transformational adaptation is necessary to enable system change rather than relying on incremental adaptation that avoids local disruptions to climate and other risks. This is particularly the case in human settlements where disconnection is rife and injustice plays out daily. This paper argues that in order to transform towards thriving social-ecological systems, transformative capacity needs to be strengthened. The paper builds on the rich literature of adaptive capacity, alongside concepts of transformation that are drawn from organizational change and developmental psychology literature. Agency and social cohesion are put forward as two foundational aspects of transformative capacity. A transdisciplinary case study of the FLOW project in the Bergrivier Municipality, South Africa is used to explore how transformative capacity has been built in practice. Three vignettes unpack where transformative capacity has started to be built, namely through (1) an innovative curriculum for unemployed urban youth, (2) exploration and introduction of a community currency in the informal business sector and (3) strengthening cross-scalar interaction between the local municipality and youth. The paper suggests that working across sectors and scales is a challenging endeavor but necessary for transforming the socio-ecological system.
Title: Increasing Climate Change Resilience through Emplacement of Green Infrastructure across an Urban Landscape: A Case Study of Knoxville, Tennessee, USA
Authors: Esther S. Parish 1, Olufemi A. Omitaomu 2, Erin Gill 3 and Jim Hagerman 4
Affiliations: 1 Climate Change Science Institute (CCSI), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA; 2 Urban Dynamics Institute (UDI), ORNL, Oak Ridge, TN, USA; 3 Office of Sustainability, City of Knoxville, Tennessee, USA; 4 Office of Engineering, City of Knoxville, Tennessee, USA
Abstract: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is promoting the use of green infrastructure (e.g., porous pavements, green roofs, street planters) to reduce urban storm water runoff, which can be a significant and costly nuisance for cities. While tools exist to measure local runoff changes resulting from individual green infrastructure (GI) projects, most U.S. cities currently have no method of analyzing the collective impact of individual GI projects on urban stormwater systems under future rainfall scenarios and impervious surface distribution patterns. Based on collaboration with the inland, mid-sized City of Knoxville, Tennessee, we propose a set of indicators to analyze potential risks and benefits associated with investing in GI under different scenarios of combined climate change and population growth. We explore the effectiveness of the proposed suite of indicators across several spatial scales (e.g., site, neighborhood, watershed, city) in order to evaluate potential changes in overall climate change resilience that might result from the collective implementation of GI projects across an urban landscape.
Keywords: climate change resilience; emerging cities; urban hydrology; green infrastructure; indicators; future scenarios; population growth; Urban-CAT
Title: At the Street Corner and in the Garden: Recognizing Civic Stewardship Practices as Indicators of Social Resilience
Authors: Heather McMillen 1, Erika Svendsen 2, Lindsay Campbell 2 and Renae Reynolds 3
Affiliations: 1 US Forest Service, Postdoctoral Research Social Scientist;
2 US Forest Service, Research Social Scientist
3 US Forest Service, Program Coordinator for Landscapes of Resilience
Abstract: While resilience theory has received increased attention over the last decade in a range of disciplines, there has been comparatively less discussion of how to recognize, and therefore support social resilience at the community level, especially in urban areas (Meerow et al., 2016). Research has developed frameworks and articulated indicators of social resilience in cities. Key elements include collective identity and mutual support, observed as community engagement, strong social networks, and social integration (Rockefeller Foundation 2014; Resilience Alliance 2010). At the same time, scholars examining how stewardship can enhance social-ecological resilience identify the following key dimensions, among others: trust, knowledge co-production, shared governance, social networks, and attachment to place (Chapin et al., 2009; Tidball et al., 2010). There are social practices that are essential for fostering virtuous cycles that occur through interactions with urban green space (Tidball and Stedman 2013), while other practices are indicators of vicious cycles at work. What does resilience look like on the ground, or more specifically on the street corner, in the park, or in the garden? How can we understand stewardship, the act of caring for the environment on behalf of a greater public good, as a means to strengthen social trust, enhance civic participation, and foster social innovation, and thus contribute to urban social resilience? When and how does environmental stewardship create social relations that bridge beyond the boundaries of the site? Drawing on interdisciplinary, longitudinal research of Forest Service social scientists, we address those questions by describing and analyzing three types of community managed-open spaces that have exhibited resilience to various disturbances: economic shifts, a hurricane, and a terrorist attack. In each case, we identify and characterize the type of grounded, empirically observable stewardship practices that serve as indicators of resilience at the community level. In so doing, we aim to refine social indicators to inform research frameworks and strengthen practice and programming.
Keywords: stewardship; social resilience; community; urban green space; New York City
References: Chapin, F.S., III, G. P. Kofinas and C. Folke. (eds.) 2009. Principles of ecosystem stewardship: Resilience-based natural resource management in a changing world. New York, Springer.
Meerow, S., Newell, J. P., & Stults, M. 2016. Defining urban resilience: A review. /Landscape and Urban Planning/, /147/, 38–49. doi:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2015.11.011
Resilience Alliance. 2010. Assessing resilience in social-ecological systems: Workbook for practitioners. Version 2.0. Online: http://www.resalliance.org/3871.php
Rockefeller Foundation. 2014. /City resilience index: City resilience framework/. Retrieved from https://www.rockefellerfoundation.org/report/city-resilience-framework/
Tidball, K. and R. Stedman 2013. "Positive dependency and virtuous cycles: From resourcedependence to resilience in urban Social Ecological Systems" Ecological Economics 86:292-299.
Tidball, K. G., Krasny, M. E., Svendsen, E., Campbell, L., & Helphand, K. (2010). Stewardship, learning, and memory in disaster resilience. /Environmental Education Research/, /16/(5-6), 591–609. doi:10.1080/13504622.2010.505437