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Urban Resilience for Whom, What, Where, When and Why?

CSS Publication Number
Full Publication Date
July 12, 2016

In academic and policy discourse, the concept of urban resilience is proliferating. Social theorists, especially human geographers, have rightfully criticized that the underlying politics of resilience have been ignored and stress the importance of asking “resilience of what, to what, and for whom?” This paper calls for careful consideration of not just resilience for whom and what, but also where, when, and why. A three-phase process is introduced to enable these “five Ws” to be negotiated collectively and to engender critical reflection on the politics of urban resilience as plans, initiatives, and projects are conceived, discussed, and implemented. Deployed through the hypothetical case of green infrastructure in Los Angeles, the paper concludes by illustrating how resilience planning trade-offs and decisions affect outcomes over space and time, often with significant implications for equity.

Research Areas
Urban Systems and Built Environment
adaptation, green infrastructure, social-ecological systems, Urban resilience, urban sustainability, vulnerability
Publication Type
Journal Article
Digital Object Identifier
Full Citation
Meerow, Sara, and Joshua P. Newell. (2016). "Urban resilience for whom, what, when, where, and why?" Urban Geography 40(3): 309-329.