Urban resilience

The Urban Resilience program will focus research on the major challenges facing urban systems and the landscapes they comprise. The same questions arise for urban as for regional social-ecological systems: how much and which kinds of disturbances can urban areas absorb without shifting to alternative less desirable system regimes?

The Research Prospectus (available for download below) provides a framework for science organization and delivery that will help the RA connect with other research groups, as well as provide a platform for engaging with related global initiatives.

The first phase of research, to be undertaken over the next 3-5 years, will develop and explore a set of robust propositions or working hypotheses about the dynamics and resilience of urban systems and their landscapes. Organised around four key themes of inquiry - (1) metabolic flows, (2) social dynamics, (3) governance networks, and (4) built environment - this research will be grounded in a select set of comparative urban case studies. It will be led by an established network of urban researchers from CSIRO, Australia, Arizona State University, USA, and Stockholm University, Sweden.

What this work aims to provide is a multi-level understanding of the resilience of urban systems which recognises the role of metabolic flows in sustaining urban functions, human well-being and quality of life; governance networks and the ability of society to learn, adapt and reorganise to meet urban challenges; and the social dynamics of people as citizens, members of communities, users of services, consumers of products, etc, and their relationship with the built environment which defines the physical patterns of urban form and their spatial relations and interconnections

To learn more about the Urban Resilience program please download the prospectus below.


The UN estimates a global increase from the current 2.9 billion urban residents to a staggering 5.0 billion by 2030.
Urban resilience is the degree to which cities are able to tolerate alteration before reoganising around a new set of structures and processes (Alberti et al 2003)
Towards the end of this decade the world is expected to cross an unprecedented threshold, for the first time in history more people will live in urban areas than outside them (UN)
Reducing resilence increases vulnerability, exposing urban systems to greater risk of the vagaries of uncertainty and surprise (ICSU).


IHDP Urbanization Science Project

Diversitas science plan on urbanisation (pdf)

UNESCO's initiative on Urban Biospheres

The Millennium Ecosystem Assessement

 File Downloads  

Urban Resilience Research Prospectus (475 KB) 
CSIRO, Australia; Arizona State University, USA; Stockholm University, Sweden   download...

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