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Urban Resilience: Complexities and Possibilities

The Lund University Centre for Societal Resilience invites to a seminar exploring the notion of urban resilience from a diverse set of perspectives. Three lectures will shed light on the complexity of urban resilience, the connection(s) between urban resilience and urban risk management, and the link between resilience and myth when it comes to facing our most vehement fears.



Where do we go from here? Thinking SMART about Complexity, Interplay and Problem-solving

Dr. Peter Rogers, Macquarie University, Australia

How we encounter resilience shapes our understanding of the term as well as the utility of the concept and, as we know, are many ways to encounter resilience. This presentation offers no unifying theory, rather it explores how multiple encounters create a process of complex interplay with many variables - concepts, strategies, policies, actors, tools and more. 

The evidence base is increasing for collaborative design-led solutions which meet the goals of disaster management solutions, climate change targets, anti-terrorism goals, crime prevention needs and more. However there is not enough work that shows how these fields of action overlap, interpenetrate, interplay with each other in the emergence of resiience as a modern institution. If tools of collaborative planning, community development, systems integration, Green and SMART urban design are harnessed to thier full potential, we can do much more with resilience than we have. 

Peter will argue that (a) a typology of DISASTER resilience helps to illustrate the complexity of this interplay, (b) whilst not sufficiently explored this approach is potentially useful for actors who wish to shape the dynamics of resilience at it emerges, generates change, opens up transformative possiblities. 

The presentation offers examples of interplay to show how the governance of resilience as complexity offers 'multiple hits on the bottom-line' across multiple policy portfolios. In the process of exploring this encounter with resilience I also expose how it can be co-opted. Resilience may become an negative axiomatisation of crisis by democratic capital, but equally resilience as a complex interplay may also unlock innovative possibliities. This is the line being walked as the battle for the soul of resilience plays out in theory, policy and practice. Using a range of conceptual tools from across the social sciences Peter will highlight both the positive and negative potentials of different approaches to this increasingly wicked problem.

Mainstreaming climate change adaptation: Towards increasing urban resilience? 
Dr. Christine Wamsler, Lund University

The concept of mainstreaming climate change adaptation to foster sustainable urban development and resilience is receiving increasing interest. In particular, the need to mainstream ecosystem-based adaptation into urban governance and planning is widely advocated by both academic and governmental bodies. Adaptation mainstreaming is the inclusion of climate risk considerations in sector policy and practice. It is motivated by the need to challenge common ideas, attitudes, or activities and change dominant paradigms at multiple levels of governance. The process works toward sustainability and resilience by expanding the focus – from preventing or resisting disasters and hazards – to a broader systems framework in which we learn to live and cope with an ever-changing, and sometimes risky, environment. It thus addresses the root causes of risk and failed approaches to sustainable development. This presentation introduces and discusses the origins of the concept, potential mainstreaming strategies, and their application in urban planning practice.

Creating resilience through myth – the governance of storymaking
Dr. Maja Essebo, Lund University

This is a tale about resilience and myth. A myth is a naturalised story that guides and legitimates beliefs and practices. It sets the scene, identifies the threat, and spells out the solution. ‘Follow me’, it says, ‘and all will be well. Stray and the consequences will be dire’. Myths, therefore, help us to cope with our fears and keep our anxieties in check. As such, myths may be a fundamental component in and for a resilient society. The concept of resilience, while possibly quite problematic in its application across disciplines, captures the central question of how societies, as well as individuals and materialities, cope with stress. While often focused on physical (infrastructural) resilience, the concept as such has a long history within psychology where it refers to the ability to adapt to or deal with trauma, adversity, or threats. In this sense, the link between resilience and myth becomes clear – both concepts address the ways in which we face our most vehement fears. It is my argument that resilience requires myth; facing and adapting to stress entails not only a material response, but a psychological one as well. What, then would such a myth look like and, perhaps more importantly, can we either create or tap into such a myth as part of our effort to achieve a resilient society? 


The seminar starts with coffee at 0930 and the first presentation starts at 1000. Following the three presentations there will be a panel discussion including the three presenters with plenty of opportunity for the audience to ask any questions that they have. The seminar will be moderated by Dr. Johan Bergström, Lund University.

2015-11-26 09:30 till 12:00
AF-Borgen, Sångsalen - 2 Sandgatan Lund
johan.bergstrom [at]

Om händelsen

2015-11-26 09:30 till 12:00
AF-Borgen, Sångsalen - 2 Sandgatan Lund
johan.bergstrom [at]

Box 117, 221 00 LUND
Telefon 046-222 00 00 (växel)
Telefax 046-222 47 20
lu [at] lu [dot] se

Fakturaadress: Box 188, 221 00 LUND
Organisationsnummer: 202100-3211
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