Multi-level governance and biosphere stewardship
Room 24/25 (70)
16:00 - 17:30
Chair/s:
Megan Meacham
The problem with urban climate ‘resilience’ planning in practice (and how to overcome it)
Lida Aljabar
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Alexandria, United States
The Trust for Public Land, Boston, United States
Cities, as bringers and bearers of climate change, are at the forefront of the climate challenge. However, the use of ‘resilience’ as a transformative urban policy goal is in question. Scholars warn against applying this term without a definition, in which its utility is subverted to that of a vague buzzword; others caution against operationalizing equilibrium-based concepts of resilience that risk maintaining status quo conditions. Furthermore, little is understood about how this concept is put into practice.

This exploratory study examines how New York City, as a collection of institutions, policymakers, planners, and designers across sectors, has conceived of resilience and applied it in local climate action planning. New York has embraced this ‘resiliency imperative,’ incorporating it in plans and policies, and associating it with sizable local expenditures. The researcher conducted a qualitative analysis of data from key-informant interviews, as well as citywide climate plans and scientific reports. Data were analyzed through a process of coding and abstraction in a grounded theory approach.

Three linked and reinforcing themes emerged. New York City actors hold an equilibrium-based view of resilience, in which economic growth is the equilibrium state, and decision-making is done in a rational model of planning that views climate change as a technical problem and restricts decision-making to those with subject matter expertise. These findings reveal a climate resilience planning structure that is strikingly similar to 'planning-as-usual,' suggesting that the acclaimed urban innovations underway in New York may not lead to the radical social-ecological transformations at the scale and urgency demanded of the climate challenge.

In addition to presenting project rationale and research design, the researcher proposes to report on the findings of this exploratory study in depth, with emphasized discussion of solutions for overcoming legacies of technical planning and narrow growth agendas to achieve sustainable, resilient cities globally.

Presenter/s:
Lida Aljabar
Presentation type:
Speed talk
Room:
Room 24/25 (70)
Chair/s:
Megan Meacham
Date:
Monday, 21 August
Time:
16:00 - 17:30
Session times:
16:00 - 17:30