Resilience assessment: a useful approach to navigate urban sustainability challenges

Author(s): Sellberg, M. M., C. Wilkinson, G. D. Peterson
In: Ecology and Society
Year: 2015
Type: Journal / article
Theme affiliation: Urban
Link to centre authors: Peterson, Garry, Sellberg, My
Full reference: Sellberg, M.M., C. Wilkinson, G.D. Peterson. 2015. Resilience assessment: A useful approach to navigate urban sustainability challenges. Ecology and Society 20(1): 43


Cities and towns have become increasingly interested in building resilience to cope with surprises, however, how to do this is often unclear. We evaluated the ability of the Resilience Assessment Workbook to help urban areas incorporate resilience thinking into their planning practice by exploring how a resilience assessment process complemented existing planning in the local government of Eskilstuna, Sweden.

We conducted this evaluation using participant observation, semistructured interviews, and a survey of the participants. Our findings show that the resilience assessment contributed to ongoing planning practices by addressing sustainability challenges that were not being addressed within the normal municipal planning or operations, such as local food security. It bridged longer term sustainable development and shorter term crisis management, allowing these two sectors to develop common strategies.

Our study also highlighted that the Resilience Assessment Workbook could be made more useful by providing more guidance on how to practically deal with thresholds and trade-offs across scales, as well as on how to manage transdisciplinary learning processes. This is the first in-depth study of a resilience assessment process, and it demonstrates that the Resilience Assessment Workbook is useful for planning and that it merits further research and development.

Stockholm Resilience Centre is a collaboration between Stockholm University and the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

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