Urban resilience has gained considerable popularity in planning and policy to address cities’ capacity to cope with climate change. While many studies discuss the different ways that academics define resilience, little attention has been given to how resilience is conceptualized across different urban contexts and among the actors that engage in building resilience ‘on the ground’. Given the implications that resilience frames can have for the solutions that are pursued (and who benefits from them), it is important to examine how transformative definitions of urban resilience are in practice. In this paper, we use data from a survey of nine US and Latin American and Caribbean cities to explore how the concept is framed across multiple governance sectors, including governmental, non-governmental, business, research, and hybrid organizations. We examine these framings in light of recent conceptual developments and tensions found in the literature. The results highlight that, in general across the nine cities, framings converge with definitions of resilience as the ability to resist, cope with, or bounce back to previous conditions, whereas sustainability, equity, and social-ecological-technological systems (SETS) perspectives are rarely associated with resilience. There are noticeable differences across cities and governance actors that point to geographic and political variation in the way resilience is conceptualized. We unpack these differences and discuss their implications for resilience research and practice moving forward. We argue that if resilience is going to remain a major goal for city policies into the future, it needs to be conceived in a more transformative, anticipatory, and equitable way, and acknowledge interconnected SETS.
- Climate change
- Social-ecological-technological systems
- Urban resilience
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Nature and Landscape Conservation
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law