In early 2010, four PhD students from very different backgrounds, institutes, and countries found themselves debating why they had such different perspectives on urban resilience. One year later, they organized a First International Workshop on Urban Resilience, in Barcelona, addressing the various meanings and perspectives of resilience thinking as applied to urban systems, and set a common ground for understanding urban resilience.
In 2012, the first book entitled “Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Urban Resilience” was published in order to launch a first agreed message about resilience been not always a positive concept when applied to cities. The book was thousands of times in less than a year, and this boosted the Network consolidation at international level, and allowed us to open a first blog and a mailing list to support scholars’ discussions and collaborations.
It took some years, but in 2016 a new website was created in order to support the increasing scientific productivity of the community, which was already counting with more than 150 members from dozens of countries. Some of the most cited papers have been published from our network members, contributing to the definitions and framing of the current perspectives, research and city resilience programs globally. Because of the critical mass of theoretical advances supported by us, in 2017 we created an International Master Degree in Urban Resilience, gathering the know-how from different disciplines contributing to the advances of the field, and almost 200 of us met again in Barcelona in 2018, celebrating our first International Conference titled “Re-framing Urban Resilience Implementation: linking Sustainability and Resilience“.
We are now around 350 members, sprawled around more than 50 countries. But to us, this is just the beginning of our adventure. We are always looking for new scholars wishing to engage and contribute to our blog and urban resilience research advances, hopefully bringing theory and practices for building more sustainable, just and resilient cities.
The aim of this network is to provide a platform for exploring integrated and multidisciplinary perspectives on urban resilience and sustainability theory and practices.
Originally rooted in ecology, engineering, or social sciences, resilience has been linked to cities in a simplistic manner, in siloed appraoches (i.e. addressing disaster resilience, or climate resilience, or community research through different networks or disciplinary domains). The metaphorical meaning of resilience, jointly with the normative slogan of “building resilient cities” have shaped policy discourses describing resilience as a normative and always positive concept. In turn, evidences from the ground and scholars’ research increasing criticized this oversimplied view on urban resilience.
The mission of this network is to offer a new and multidisciplinary set of perspectives about urban resilience, and to identify challenging and necessary research questions addressing the gaps between theory and practices. The final aim is to provide a virtual space for discussing and disseminating the advances of a more critical approach to resilience, linking it to sustainability and social justice.
Our Network is built around this blog, offering space for dissemination of ideas, perspectives and events associated with our mission, and a mailing list for further discussing and circulating inception-ideas, questions, proposals and collaboration opportunities among URNet members.