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A Social-Ecological Resilience Assessment and Governance Guide for Urbanization Processes in East China

State Key Laboratory of Pollution Control and Resources Reuse, School of the Environment, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023 China
Key Laboratory of Coastal and Wetland Ecosystems (Ministry of Education), College of the Environment & Ecology, Xiamen University, Xiamen 361102, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Tan Yigitcanlar
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1101;
Received: 14 July 2016 / Revised: 30 September 2016 / Accepted: 21 October 2016 / Published: 28 October 2016
This article presents a social-ecological resilience assessment and attempts to explicitly examine the impacts of urbanization on resilience, with a view to explore how to strengthen social-ecological governance of the resilience of urban ecosystems. We use a combined Grey-Fuzzy evaluation model to discuss a case study of the Su-Xi-Chang city cluster, a metropolitan area in East China, in which total social-ecological resilience scores generally exhibited an upward trend, from 0.548 in 2001 to 0.760 in 2013. In the same period, resilience increased in relation to deterioration of environmental quality, pollution discharge, and landscape and ecological governance change, but decreased in relation to social-economic development. Besides, different contributions of indicators to their related resilience values reveal the heterogeneity of the resilience in terms of various disturbances. In addition, several scenarios are posited in an attempt to detect the relationship between social-ecological resilience and urbanization with the goal of improving urban governance. The results suggested that rapid urbanization under rigid and vertically organized forms of governance would cause the social-ecological system to lose resilience, or even to bring it near collapse. When the growth rate of urban land expansion reaches 16%, disturbances caused by urbanization would push the social-ecological system over a particular threshold, where the way it functions changes. However, it is found that adaptive and collaborative governance, incorporating increases in both public participation and the efficiency of environment administration, would strengthen social-ecological governance of resilience to provide the urban system with a wide operating space, and even with accelerated urbanization ratios. View Full-Text
Keywords: social-ecological resilience; urbanization; assessment; governance; Grey-Fuzzy model social-ecological resilience; urbanization; assessment; governance; Grey-Fuzzy model
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Zhang, C.; Li, Y.; Zhu, X. A Social-Ecological Resilience Assessment and Governance Guide for Urbanization Processes in East China. Sustainability 2016, 8, 1101.

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