The city politics of an urban age: urban resilience
conceptualisations and policies
Adriana X Sanchez
, Jeroen van der Heijden
& Paul Osmond
ABSTRACT Around the globe, cities seek to improve their resilience to face the stresses
and shocks that are expected from global climate change and other threats. In implementing
urban resilience policies, they are guided by different urban resilience conceptualisations.
What is meant by the concept differs between scholars, governments, as well as international
organisations that seek to study, advise on and implement urban resilience policies and
governance interventions. This article presents a review of the urban resilience literature
since the 1970s. It seeks to map and interrogate dominant urban resilience conceptualisa-
tions, and decipher whether and how different understandings of the concept can result in
essentially different policies and governance interventions and outcomes. In contrasting the
‘what’ of urban resilience (various conceptualisations) with the ‘why’ of urban resilience
policy (bouncing back, falling forwards, persistence) it investigates approaches to overcome
some of the key critiques to urban resilience policy and research.
Built Environment Faculty, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
College of Asia and the Paciﬁc, RegNet: School of Regulation and
Global Governance, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia.
Faculty of Built Environment, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW,
Australia. Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to A.X.S. (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)