Table of Contents

Elgar Companion to Sustainable Cities

Elgar Companion to Sustainable Cities

Strategies, Methods and Outlook

Elgar original reference

Edited by Daniel A. Mazmanian and Hilda Blanco

Against a backdrop of unprecedented levels of urbanization, 21st century cities across the globe share concerns for the challenges they face. This Companion provides a framework for understanding the city as a critical building block for a more sustainable future within broader subnational, national and continental contexts, and ultimately, within a global systems context. It discusses the sustainable strategies being devised, as well as the methods and tools for achieving them. Examples of social, economic, political and environmental sustainable policy strategies are presented and the extent to which they actually increase sustainability is analyzed.

Chapter 17: Economic resilience and the sustainability of cities in the face of climate change: an ecological economics framework

Adam Rose

Subjects: economics and finance, regional economics, environment, environmental sociology, geography, cities, urban and regional studies, cities, urban studies


Cities are major agglomerations of population and economic activity. Their very existence and size are an indication of their economic vitality. However, any given city will not thrive forever. A city may deplete critical resources within its own boundaries or its hinterlands, lose its comparative advantage in cross-border trade or suffer severe social ills. It may also be subjected to external shocks from natural and man-made disasters. Recent examples include Detroit’s downturn due to structural changes in the auto industry in the USA and abroad, and New Orleans being the bull’s eye of Hurricane Katrina. Thus, in addition to long-term concerns about a lasting resource base, adequate community infrastructure and rising sea levels, cities must be resilient, or able to rebound from short-run disasters to be sustainable as well. This chapter examines the role of economic resilience in the sustainability of cities. The next section identifies features of cities that make them both vulnerable and resilient, followed by a section on the relationship between resilience and sustainability. In Section IV, I then define economic resilience and offer an operational metric. I discuss individual tactics to implement it in Section V and summarize studies on the relative effectiveness of resilience tactics and their costs in Section VI.

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