Resilience and climate risk in extreme and extreme-ing urban environments: planning and (mis)communication

Authors: Melissa Jane Kenny*, University of Warwick, Jon Coaffee, University of Warwick
Topics: Urban and Regional Planning, Environment
Keywords: Urban Planning, Extreme Environments, Resilience, Communication, Climate Change
Session Type: Paper
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Resilience has evolved to become a key priority within planning policy and practice in many urban contexts, especially in relation to climate change and extreme weather; manifesting itself within urban planning practice. In light of the increasing vulnerability to long and short-term climate related challenges, it is crucial to understand how resilience can be fully established within planning practice; at what scales should planners be involved and how can planning be integrated into other resilience related endeavors? It can be argued that currently, planning does not possess the impetus required to drive a fundamental and transformational shift in practice that is required to implement resilience. Whilst the seeds of resilience have been planted within planning practice, growth is slow and complex. Drawing from the results of comparative case studies and discussions with professional planners in the cities of Anchorage and Boston, USA, this paper explores the complexities of planning’s engagement with the resilience agenda and illuminates the communication gap that emerged as an urgent consideration during the initial investigation. The paper places planning within the wider resilience agenda, highlighting the shortcomings of stakeholder communication and exploring planning’s capacity to address siloed working environments and break down barriers to pursue meaningful and successfully implemented, resilience solutions in vulnerable cities. By mainstreaming resilience approaches into everyday practices, planners, in combination with a full range of stakeholders, can help to ensure that urban systems remain functioning in the face of climate change or the event of an extreme weather shock.

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