Monthly Archives: April 2018

Urban Resilience Education – new International Master Degree

Framing and implementing sustainability and resilience in the broad realm of urban studies is a challenge which few universities are poised to accomplish through their existing educational programs. Sustainability and resilience studies both require a variety of multidisciplinary perspectives that university departments nested in disciplinary silos cannot support. Consequentially, the skills and management tools required by city practitioners and city resilience officers are not easy to find in our universities programs. To meet this need, we, the Urban Resilience research Network (URNet), developed a 1-year master’s program hosted by the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, entitled City Resilience Design and Management, bridging the educational gap between universities and municipalities.

What, Why and How?   

Thanks to the collaboration and involvement of major international networks and agencies working on urban sustainability and resilience (including the Rockefeller 100RC, United Nation Habitat City Resilience Profiling Program, ICLEI and METROPOLIS among many others), this 1 year master program brings leading scholars and cities practitioners from different parts of the word to teach how to manage and design urban resilience strategies. Indeed, the program title City Resilience Design and Management reflects the need to go beyond the paradigm of “building resilient cities” (which assumes that resilience is a static property of urban systems that can be “built or designed”), to treat resilience as a set of processes or adaptive capacities functional to manage vulnerabilities to shifting and unpredictable impacts.

We will teach this much needed management perspective by offering workshop-based coursework, mentorship for research theses, and internship opportunities for practical, applied education experiences. Illustrated in the figure, courses will last 6 months linking theory to implementation strategies. Courses start with introducing students to theoretical aspects of resilience and urbanization processes. Then, students will explore the 4 main perspectives related to urban resilience: resilience of the built environment, ecosystem based solutions, economic and city services resilience, and community resilience. Finally, students will navigate resilience implementation challenges by exploring governance models and challenges from different parts of the world. These three focus areas will include sub-modules on software and practical skills required for each resilience topic and reflection on real-world lessons learned through site visits in Barcelona in collaboration with the Barcelona Urban Resilience Lab. Upon completion of the initial 6 months of coursework and workshops in Barcelona, students will develop a research thesis and be connected to program-specific internship opportunities among partner cities and organizations sprawled through the world. Download here the pdf with the complete structure of the courses.

Where and for Whom?

The new International Master in City Resilience Design and Management is the first, innovative university education program developed by URNet and partners, and hosted by the International University of Catalunya (UIC). This program brings international networks, organizations, and more than 24 URNet scholars from around the world to Barcelona (Spain) to teach and address the governance challenges of urban resilience. We invite students and practitioners interested in participating in the in-class program (starting October the 1st, 2018) to visit the degree webpage for further  information.

Moreover, since the mission of URNet is to promote and disseminate urban resilience knowledge, we wish to share the thoughts and learning opportunities from the City Resilience Design and Management program to the broader, international community. To achieve this, we will publish short videos, interviews with lecturers, blog posts, and materials from the courses through this new URNet EDUCATION section. Together, we hope participation in this new master’s program and broad dissemination of program content will increase global opportunities and debates about resilience.


Now celebrating its 6th year, the Urban Resilience Research Network (URNet) is leveraging its global network of scholars and partners to promote and co-organize the 11th International Forum on Urbanism Conference with the United Nation HABITAT City Resilience Profiling Program and the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya (UIC).

URNet’s mission is to address the conceptualization and implementation of urban resilience from a multidisciplinary and multiscale approach, highlighted in research, blog posts, and invited contributions engaging with urban resilience of what, how, and for whom. Further advocated by the most prominent international agendas and frameworks for urban development, these resilience questions are now linked to other key urban goals such as sustainability. Unfortunately, many “resilient city” initiatives fail to integrate local communities or sustainability goals within their strategies. In some cases, pursuing resilience and sustainability to reduce specific risks and vulnerabilities leads to undesired outcomes, such as eco-gentrification or reinforcing ‘business as usual’ and unsustainable patterns of development. These problems highlight the need for a more integrated and inclusive approach to designing and managing urban resilience. The 11th International Forum on Urbanism will address this need by bringing together a wide range of global experts to discuss how we can minimize trade-offs and maximize synergies in efforts to enhance resilience and sustainability in the face of climatic, environmental, and socio-economic challenges. To this end, this 11th  International Forum on Urbanism banner will focus on the theme: “Reframing urban resilience implementation: Aligning sustainability and resilience

A global debate linking scholars and practitioners: two nested International Conferences

To maximize global participation in this debate on urban resilience and sustainability, the 11th International Forum on Urbanism Conference will have a special format – it will consist of two linked international conferences: (1) an international forum in Barcelona, Spain, and (2) an international forum in Jakarta, Indonesia. The first forum in Barcelona will take place from 10 to 15 December 2018 (specific times and dates TBD) and will be part of the event ‘Barcelona Resilience Week,’ during which the city celebrates its resilience with a range of public activities. The second forum in Jakarta (Indonesia) will be part of an international research conference tentatively scheduled for March 2019 (subject to change). With the involvement of UN Habitat as co-organizer, and the support of ICLEI, the Rockefeller 100RC initiative, METROPOLIS, the UNESCO IHE, the Global Alliance for Urban Crises, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and ECOLISE among others, we anticipate that the two forums will effectively and internationally link academics and practitioners.

How to contribute?

Although the 11th International Forum on Urbanism Conference is poised to advance urban resilience and sustainability globally, we wish to start the debate now. Addressing tough trade-offs and identifying synergies requires that we as a network take change and move beyond simply delivering a research presentation or publishing a conference proceeding. Moreover, consensus among the Urban Resilience Research Network is that nobody likes to write conference papers per se. Thus, we have created multiple options for conference participation for you to choose from:

  • Do you wish or need to write and have a paper published? We invite you to submit a paper to one of our four special issues in the international refereed journals supporting the conference;
  • Do you prefer to not write full papers, but still want to disseminate your findings, experience etc. and make a global impact with your thoughts? We invite you to contribute a blog post to be published in one of three prominent international blogs supporting the conference: The Nature of Cities (TNOC), the recently released UN HABITAT Urban Resilience Hub, the Association of European Schools of Planning YA or our blog. All blog posts will be considered “short conference papers,” and will also be published as conference proceedings with an ISBN.

To learn more about the event, please check out the new Conference Website. There you can learn more about the four proposed focus areas for the conference and you can then turn one of the proposed research questions (or one you feel is relevant and missing) into a novel abstract for publication in a journal or blog post. We also invite proposals for panels, side events, or orther ideas for how to make an impact in Barcelona and Jakarta and maximize the forum experience.

Abstract submission will open soon. We will keep you posted through our blog about the development of the 11th International Forum on Urbanism Conference and the interesting ideas, proposals, and debates you generate.

For any inquiries about this, sign up for our mailing list here and place your comments/ questions/ideas in the registration box.