Lost in Translation: The Authorship and Argumentation of Resilience Theory
- Landscape Journal: design, planning, and management of the land
- University of Wisconsin Press
- Volume 35, Number 1, 2016
- pp. 23-36
- Additional Information
The rhetoric of resilience is ascendant and quickly supplanting the notion of sustainable development as a framework for the fields of urban planning, policy, and design. This shift is made evident by at least three events: (1) the Rebuild by Design competition, the government-led response to Superstorm Sandy, (2) the “100 Resilient Cities” initiative, the Rockefeller Foundation-led plan to produce resilience plans in 100 vulnerable cities across the globe, and (3) the use of resilience as an organizing theme at recent gatherings of the American Society of Landscape Architects (2014), the American Collegiate Schools of Planning (2012), and the Urban Land Institute (2012). But how might this era differ from prior epochs of urbanism and urbanization? To respond to that question I employ two modes of analysis. First, I apply the methods of descriptive authorship structure to the field of resilience. This helps to categorize and describe the key authors and arguments comprising the field. Second, I review the key works from the field, and then develop a series of arguments, ideas, and propositions about what makes a place, person, or process resilient. I conclude by exploring the ways in which resilience theory departs from that of sustainability and considering how these differences might manifest themselves in practice.