Bildtext får vara max två rader text. Hela texten ska högerjusteras om den bara ska innehålla fotobyline! Photo: B. Christensen/Azote
The interest in resilience continues to grow and the concept is often promoted by environmental and development organizations around the world. When it comes to the application of resilience, on the other hand, there is still some confusion about what approaches and methods to apply in different contexts. In order to shed light on this question, a team of centre researchers have published a paper comparing two commonly used approaches: the grassroots movement of Transition Towns, and the Resilience Alliance's Resilience Assessment.
“The two approaches have complementary strengths and weaknesses and we believe that integrating them could be widely useful for practitioners seeking to apply resilience for sustainable development,” explains centre researcher My Sellberg, lead author of the new paper.
The paper, which is published in the journal Ecology and Society, also includes Sara Borgström, Albert Norström and Garry Peterson as authors.
We urge resilience practitioners and scientists to collaborate with one another to improve the theory and practice of resilience assessment and management for sustainability
The four researchers compared the Transition Movement and Resilience Assessments through a text analysis of key handbooks, and then combined the approaches in a series of participatory workshops with a local partner active in the Transition Movement.
The Resilience Assessment Workbook from the Resilience Alliance was first published in 2010. It has a strong theoretical and empirical foundation in research on social-ecological systems with a special focus on complex adaptive systems. The Transition Movement, on the other hand, represents one of the largest civil society movements that are applying resilience thinking.
The two approaches were shown to share a number of key features and having a number of complementary strengths and weaknesses. The Transition Movement displayed strengths in its motivating overarching narrative of the need to transform in response to global sustainability challenges, as well as practical tools promoting learning and participation. Resilience Assessments, on the other hand, are strong in their conceptual framework and structured process which generates a context-specific understanding of resilience. A weakness is that they tend to provide little guidance on navigating transformation processes.
In total, four types of benefits of cross-fertilising the Transition Movement and Resilience Assessment approaches were identified:
(1) Communicating and applying resilience (e.g. workshop participants reported that they got new words, tools and examples);
(2) Linking across scales and world views (e.g. new ways to “reach ordinary people in the countryside with a global sustainability perspective”);
(3) Learning and participation in practice (e.g. letting participants decide “resilience of what, to what” and new practical, pedagogical exercises);
(4) Clarified transition focus (e.g. the Transition Movement’s approach directed the Resilience Assessment approach in a way that opened up for transition to sustainability).
Three main challenges were also identified:
(1) Pedagogical (e.g. communicating new theoretical concepts and global sustainability issues in a local context);
(2) Expectations on quantitative outputs (e.g. many interesting characteristics absent in existing statistics);
(3) Balancing openness and values (e.g. balancing the more open Resilience Assessment with the Transition Movement‛s specific things that need to be resilient). As one respondent put it: ‘You cannot build a movement only on resilience, we need to complement it with saying what it is that we value’.
Overall, the study concludes that there is a growing need to improve and adapt the application of resilience thinking due to the increasing demand from both policy-makers and practitioners. One important way of meeting this demand is to combine insights from both science and practice.
“We urge resilience practitioners and scientists to collaborate with one another to improve the theory and practice of resilience assessment and management for sustainability,” the authors write.
The researchers compared Resilience Assessments and the Transition Movement by applying two different methodological approaches: a qualitative text analysis of written guidelines, and a participatory case study. The comparison of their written guidelines allowed for a general comparison that highlight differences and commonalities between the two approaches. This analysis was then complemented with a practical case study to capture some of the discrepancies between theory and practice.
Research news | 2019-12-09
Why urban growth causes more biodiversity loss outside of cities and why that is far more important in magnitude
Research news | 2019-12-09
New study demonstrates the benefits of developing new ideas about what knowledge and action are and how they relate to each other
Research news | 2019-12-03
A more coherent approach to policy planning for the Sustainable Development Goals will save precious economic resources and enhance progress on the goals
Research news | 2019-11-29
Sharing knowledge between local communities and researchers strengthens ties between science and society. And encourages well-being and sustainability
Research news | 2019-11-29
Study assesses what it takes to make good meetings become venues for change
Research news | 2019-11-27
Nine climate tipping points now are now “active” which means the situation is urgent and we need an emergency response, warn scientists