More and more cities are developing strategies and implementing actions to increase their resilience to a diversity of environmental, social and economic challenges. International networks such as 100 Resilient Cities, established by the Rockefeller Foundation, are supporting cities to find and implement solutions to ‘shocks and stresses.’ This new approach to urban governance, often initiated by philanthropic organizations, is debated. On the one hand, these initiatives are celebrated as catalysts for transformational change through ‘collaboration’ and ‘co-design’ in contexts such as mobility, energy, green space or housing. On the other hand, urban resilience initiatives have been criticized for prioritizing private sector agendas and top-down approaches and hollowing out public sector tasks and democratic participation. However, little is known how urban resilience strategies are actually implemented in practice. Embedded action research on the implementation of the Resilient Melbourne strategy provides the opportunity to have a closer look at this highly contested topic. This paper provides first insights into the research project Urban Resilience in Action, using the Resilient Melbourne strategy to assess the implementation of selected actions. It shows that a reconceptualization and new analytical dimensions are needed to understand urban resilience as an urban innovation strategy.
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