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About this book

As the cities of the world increasingly come under threat from crisis and disaster, planners are searching for ways to build resilience into the foundations of modern urban centres.

This important book provides a comprehensive account of the theory and practice of urban resilience in response to a range of disruptions, including terrorism, climate change and economic crises. It examines how the concepts and principles of resilience exert increasing significant influence over the form and function of planning. Discussing a 'politics of resilience' in which fundamental questions of social and spatial justice are posed, this book examines how urban planners are increasingly tasked with the responsibility of safeguarding the future of urbanised centres and those that live in them.

Drawing on international examples and detailed case-studies, this book provides a nuanced account of the uses, and misuses, of resilience and points a way forward for planning activity, from an approach that is too often narrowly technical in focus towards an integrated and adaptable model for coping with risk, crisis and uncertainty. It will make essential reading for students of urban planning and researchers alike.

Table of Contents

Towards a Framework for Resilient Planning and Urban Living

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Why Does Urban Resilience Matter?

Abstract
This century, more than any other, is the century of the city, where rapid urbanisation and greater global connectedness present unprecedented urban challenges. Such increased urbanisation also concentrates risk in cities making them increasingly vulnerable to an array of shocks and stresses. Under such circumstances, city managers are increasingly having to plan for risk, crisis and uncertainty: they have to enhance urban resilience. In this endeavour, urban and regional planning has a central role to play in defining urban resilience, addressing underlying risk factors and building resilience to reduce the exposure and vulnerability of people and assets to a range of current and future hazards and threats. Urban resilience provides an operational framework for reducing the multiple risks faced by cities and communities, ensuring there are appropriate levels of resources and capacities to mitigate, prepare for, respond to and recover from a range of shocks and stresses.
Jon Coaffee, Peter Lee

Chapter 2. The Origins, Evolution and Critiques of Resilience

Abstract
Resilience is everywhere today, rapidly becoming a principal framing device for political discourse: ‘It falls easily from the mouths of politicians, a variety of state departments are funding research into it, urban planners are now obliged to take it into consideration, and academics are falling over themselves to conduct research on it’ (Neocleous, 2013, p.3, emphasis added). The term has entered into the lexicon of policy communities, the media and academia to not only assess and understand the resistance to shock events of people, households and communities, but also to describe the properties and ability of interconnected and complex ecological, technical (e.g. engineering), social and economic systems to adapt and change in the midst of failure. As the UK’s Leverhulme Trust noted in 2010 in its call for research:
This is the century in which the human race will have to respond to major challenges resulting from environmental change, from the need to attain sustainable and equitable social structures, from contrasting demographies, from conflicting cultural models and from enhanced global economic uncertainty. Linking these challenges are notions of risk assessment and of the required changes which must lead to adaptive human behaviour.
Jon Coaffee, Peter Lee

Processes of Urban Resilience

Frontmatter

Chapter 3. The Resilience Turn in Planning Policy and Practice

Abstract
In their 2011 work on the politics of resilience Walker and Cooper note that ‘resilience as an operational strategy of risk management has more recently been taken up in financial, urban and environmental security discourses’ (Walker and Cooper, 2011, p.143). In the last decade ideas of resilience, and its underpinning principles, have also slowly infused into urban policy-making circles. Resilience perspectives have become increasingly rooted in urban and regional planning with policy makers and the public increasingly turning to planners in times of risk, crisis and uncertainty to provide protection from a volatile future:
As urban areas expand […] how to plan for resilience will continue to raise important questions for city governments and planners. Urban planning approaches that recognise these challenges and aim to maximise synergies between municipal government, the planning profession, hazard scientists, civil society, private sector, residents and other critical stakeholders can prove highly effective in managing risk and emerge as a key component of resilience. (Valdes and Purcell, 2013, emphasis added)
Jon Coaffee, Peter Lee

Chapter 4. Urban Resilience as Adaptive or Maladaptive?

Abstract
Ideas surrounding adaptability and the capacity to respond to risk and perturbation are at the heart of urban resilience. Resilience practices of the epistemic planning community or wider civil society that seek to enhance the adaptability of critical built infrastructure, and to proactively respond to the occurrence or threat of disruptive challenge, often achieve the very opposite effect with poor or suboptimal planning decisions frequently serving to reduce resiliency and increase urban vulnerability. Therefore, rather than urban and regional planning being reimagined, through the lens of resilience, as in pursuit of the adaptability of the built environment, the actions of planners can in many cases be viewed as maladaptive and obdurate to change.
Jon Coaffee, Peter Lee

Chapter 5. Assessing City Resilience

Abstract
The discussion we have engaged with in this book concerning what urban resilience is and what it does is further complicated by questions of how to measure and assess its qualities. In recent years, and across numerous disciplines, many indices have been developed which seek to standardise methods of assessing the properties of resilience. However, as Prior and Hagmann observe (see also Hinkel, 2011):
[I]n general, these measures employ different definitions of resilience, they are constructed using dissimilar constituents (indicators or variables), they are utilised for different purposes — and as a result they ultimately measure different things. Even a basic exploration of what might constitute a measure (or index) of resilience, for example, reveals the difficulty in establishing a measure that is both accurate and ‘fit for purpose’. (Prior and Hagmann, 2013, p.4)
Jon Coaffee, Peter Lee

Urban Resilience in Practice

Frontmatter

Chapter 6. Adaptive Resilience to Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events

Abstract
Urban resilience has gained notable prominence as a result of the global threat of climate change that has localised consequences, particularly flooding, that must be mitigated and managed if catastrophic social and environmental effects are to be avoided, especially in our ever-expanding cities (Stern, 2006; IPCC, 2014). As Scott (2013, p.103) highlighted, ‘recent years have been marked by increased flood risk vulnerability caused by intensive urbanisation processes, shifting agricultural practices, out-dated urban drainage systems and fragmented policy responses’. As further noted (cited in Reuters, 2015) by a senior figure in the UK Environment Agency, responding to the devastation wrought by Storm Frank that hit the UK in late 2015: ‘We are moving from known extremes to unknown extremes … we will need to have a complete rethink [and] move from not just providing better defences … but looking at increasing resilience.’
Jon Coaffee, Peter Lee

Chapter 7. Security-driven Urban Resilience

Abstract
Urban resilience is traditionally construed in the disaster management literature as being primarily concerned with protection and recovery from natural hazards and/or the effects of climate change. However, as noted in previous chapters, more recently the term is assuming a new guise as it becomes coupled with national security initiatives by governments across the globe. The primary proclaimed objective of these emerging plans is to restrict opportunities for terrorists to penetrate targets and to take measures to mitigate the impacts of successful strikes (Coaffee et al., 2008a; Coaffee and O’Hare, 2008). Although such concerns regarding terrorist threats (as identified by nation states and national governments) are global in scope, and are far from new, such agendas have been pursued more earnestly in the USA and the UK since the 9/11 attacks and the suicide bombings on London’s Underground network on 7 July 2005. This is not to say that attempts to thwart urban terrorism did not predate these events, but rather that they have acted as catalysts for increased preventative measures being adopted in the planning and design of places considered to be at greater risk, with increased attention on counter terrorism as a core element of a broader and better funded urban resilience agenda.
Jon Coaffee, Peter Lee

Chapter 8. Coping with Large-scale Disasters

Abstract
Recent natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina (August 2005) and Hurricane Sandy (October 2012) in the US, the Queensland floods (December 2010) and the (Tohoku) Great East Japan earthquake (March 2011) as well as major terrorist incidents such as 9/11 and 7/7 have put increased emphasis on how quickly equilibrium is achieved following a large-scale shock. The highly integrated and global nature of social, natural and technical systems has meant that disaster risk reduction or disaster resilience has grown in prominence as a field of study and as a policy-framing device for planning. Within this area of planning for large-scale shocks, particular emphasis has been placed upon so-called ‘Black Swan’ events — lowprobability but high-impact events. Such events defy the normal compensatory operations of risk management and insurance systems, and have dramatic, far-reaching and long-lasting effects which urban and regional planners are increasingly tasked with responding to.
Jon Coaffee, Peter Lee

Chapter 9. Preparing for ‘Slow-burn’ Shock Events

Abstract
While much work has been undertaken to assess the degree of resiliency following disasters and sudden shocks, the concept of resilience remains under-specified for ‘slow-burn’ events and nonspecific threats (Pendall et al., 2010). Martin and Sunley (2015) argue that slow-burn events are not relevant to the theoretical and analytical development of resilience studies within regional economics, arguing that it is the sudden shock event that reveals the resilience of the system and its ability to adapt. However, for urban and regional planning systems, they ask: ‘resilience of what, to what, by what means, and with what outcome?’ (p.12). Their assertion raises important questions for how the urban and regional planning community responds to long-run events that occur across temporal and spatial scales, for understanding urban futures through foresight techniques, and for the study of urban resilience more generally. The problem attenuating for spatial systems is therefore in the precise spatial and temporal location of the long-run or slow-burn event: when did the event begin and what territory is affected?
Jon Coaffee, Peter Lee

Chapter 10. Anticipating the Future: Planning the Resilient City of Tomorrow

Abstract
In its dialogue paper on Raising Standards in Urban Resilience, presented at the Seventh World Urban Forum in Medellín in 2014, UN-Habitat identifies resilience as a cross-cutting theme that can holistically tackle social, economic and environmental inequalities (UN-Habitat, 2014). In the midst of growing uncertainty and complexity, urban and regional planners are increasingly tasked with enhancing resilience and protecting lives, property and infrastructure and to do so they must coordinate their activities horizontally and vertically across local government, with the private sector and other civil society stakeholders. Increasingly urban and regional planning is seen as a remedy to an ever-increasing array of socioeconomic problems, policy priorities and risks facing contemporary society for which anticipatory or pre-emptive resilient responses are required. In relation to city building, resilience can be viewed as:
simultaneously, a theory about how systems can behave across scales, a practice or proactive approach to planning systems that applies across social spaces, and an analytical tool that enables researchers to examine how and why some systems are able to respond to disruption. (Vale, 2014, p.1)
Jon Coaffee, Peter Lee
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