Urban resilience

A call to reframing planning discourses

Authored by: Ali Adil , Ivonne Audirac

The Routledge Handbook of Urban Resilience

Print publication date:  December  2019
Online publication date:  November  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138583597
eBook ISBN: 9780429506666
Adobe ISBN:


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The term “resilience” stems from the Latin resiliere, “to rebound” or “to recoil”, and was first used in the the academic literature in 1818 to refer to timber’s property “to accommodate sudden and severe loads without breaking” (McAslan 2010, p. 2; cf. Tredgold 1818). After its reconceptualization by ecologist C.S. Holling in 1973, to refer to the ability of natural ecosystems to recuperate from natural or man-made perturbations, the term entered the lexica of a variety of disciplines ranging from resource management to mental health, and from disaster preparedness, in the context of climate change to post-disaster urban recovery and reconstruction. Despite frequent criticism of terminological malleability surrounding its adoption by multiple disciplines (Baggio et al. 2015; Olsson et al. 2015), “resilience” continues to gain traction as a foundational concept and a guiding principle. Compared to sustainability, resilience is perhaps more attractive because it invokes hope and optimism and “the ability to cope in the face of adversity” (McAslan 2010) as opposed to continual preparation for an ever-distant future.

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