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Resilience assessment: a useful approach to navigate urban sustainability challenges

Resilience assessment: a useful approach to navigate urban sustainability challenges Copyright © 2015 by the author(s). Published here under license by the Resilience Alliance. Sellberg, M. M., C. Wilkinson, and G. D. Peterson. 2015. Resilience assessment: a useful approach to navigate urban sustainability challenges. Ecology and Society 20 (1): 43. http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-07258-200143 Research Resilience assessment: a useful approach to navigate urban sustainability challenges My M. Sellberg 1, Cathy Wilkinson 1 and Garry D. Peterson 1 ABSTRACT. Cities and towns have become increasingly interested in building resilience to cope with surprises, however, how to do this is often unclear. We evaluated the ability of the Resilience Assessment Workbook to help urban areas incorporate resilience thinking into their planning practice by exploring how a resilience assessment process complemented existing planning in the local government of Eskilstuna, Sweden. We conducted this evaluation using participant observation, semistructured interviews, and a survey of the participants. Our findings show that the resilience assessment contributed to ongoing planning practices by addressing sustainability challenges that were not being addressed within the normal municipal planning or operations, such as local food security. It bridged longer term sustainable development and shorter term crisis management, allowing these two sectors to develop common strategies. Our study also highlighted that the Resilience Assessment Workbook could be made more useful by providing more guidance on how to practically deal with thresholds and trade-offs across scales, as well as on how to manage transdisciplinary learning processes. This is the first in-depth study of a resilience assessment process, and it demonstrates that the Resilience Assessment Workbook is useful for planning and that it merits further research and development. Key Words: crisis management; Eskilstuna; local government planning; participatory processes; resilience assessment; sustainable development; Sweden; transdisciplinary research; urban planning INTRODUCTION key ideas behind the workbook are: (1) that the systems we Cities and local governments have recently become interested in manage are interlinked social-ecological systems, (2) these building resilience (Evans 2011, Wilkinson 2012a). Many local systems are complex and adaptive, and (3) they interact across governments and cities have a history of planning for disasters scales in space and time (Resilience Alliance 2010). These ideas and sustainability (UNISDR 2007, ICLEI 2013), however the are increasingly being embraced in urban planning, but urban financial shocks following 2008, rising energy prices, and an planning lacks tools to analyze these issues. For example, the increased awareness of climate change impacts have increased dynamics of complex systems are neither included in mainstream interest in resilience as a mechanism to cope with surprise (Shaw sustainable development (Lélé 1998, Walker and Salt 2006), nor 2012). Resilience theory has developed to address such situations disaster relief approaches (Walker and Westley 2011). This lack where control is weak and uncertainty high (Holling 1986, of practical approaches to social-ecological complexity in urban Peterson et al. 2003a) and the concept refers to a system’s long- planning suggests that the Resilience Assessment Workbook has term ability to cope with change and continue to develop the potential to contribute new tools and ideas. (Stockholm Resilience Centre 2014). This interest in resilience has However, because the Resilience Assessment Workbook has led to new initiatives targeting local governments and cities, been primarily applied in natural resource management contexts, ranging from the UN’s campaign of “Making cities resilient” there is a lack of examples and guidance for applying it to urban (UNISDR 2012), and Rockefeller Foundation’s “100 resilient areas. In general, the social-ecological research community has cities” (2015), to bottom-up initiatives, such as transition towns, focused on operationalizing resilience in ecosystem management focusing on building resilience of local communities (Hopkins (Peterson et al. 2003a, Bennett et al. 2005, Biggs et al. 2012), and 2011). There has also been a growing interest in resilience thinking there are few empirical studies of how a resilience approach could within urban planning disciplines (Wilkinson 2012b). All this inform urban planning processes (Wilkinson 2012b). There are activity raises the question of how resilience approaches few published studies of resilience assessments in general (e.g., complement existing planning practices of local governments, Haider et al. 2012, Mitchell et al. 2014), and the few scholars and in what ways they help urban planners address contemporary who have applied the workbook to urban contexts find both challenges? We identify new insights on what a resilience approach strengths in how it, for example, integrated diverse sectors in can offer urban planning practice. local government planning (Wilkinson 2012a), as well as We focus our attention on the Resilience Assessment Workbook difficulties, e.g., in applying threshold effects to complex urban (Resilience Alliance 2010). The workbook was developed by the systems (Liu 2011). Paul Ryan, an expert practitioner of Resilience Alliance and synthesizes their earlier work on how to resilience assessments, has found the method more difficult to apply resilience thinking (Walker et al. 2002). It is the only social- use in urban regions (Paul Ryan, May 2012, personal ecological research initiative that operationalizes resilience for communication). Furthermore, none of the limited research on practitioners, and following its first release in 2007 it has been resilience assessment has thoroughly evaluated how the resilience applied in multiple contexts around the world (Resilience Alliance assessment complements and conflicts with existing planning 2013). Although it was originally aimed at natural resource approaches. managers, the workbook is also relevant for planning. The three 1Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, Sweden Ecology and Society 20 (1): 43 http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol20/iss1/art43/ To address this research need, we performed the first in-depth average. The municipality is a former center of heavy industry assessment of an initial application of the Resilience Assessment that has reinvented itself (Fig. 2). In 2012, Eskilstuna received an Workbook in the Swedish municipality of Eskilstuna. By award for being the “Environmentally Best Swedish identifying how the resilience assessment complemented ongoing Municipality” of the year (Miljöaktuellt 2012). Although the municipal planning practices, we build on Wilkinson’s (2012c) municipality adopted a sustainable development policy in 2002 earlier work to adapt the resilience assessment process to a (Eskilstuna kommun 2002), it is still struggling with how to planning context. Eskilstuna is typical of most European implement it. In practice, planning for sustainable development municipalities in that it has trained staff that is engaged in a variety primarily occurs in two types of planning: strategic environmental of state mandated planning and management activities. At the planning and comprehensive planning. Strategic environmental beginning of the resilience assessment, the initiators at the planning deals with many sustainable development issues, but it municipality expected it to partially overlap with their ongoing is applied separately to different sectors and topics; for example, work on sustainable development and crisis management. a traffic plan is separate from a climate change plan (see a list of Nevertheless, they expected the assessment to contribute new official municipal documents in Appendix 1). Swedish ideas. Therefore, Eskilstuna offered the opportunity to address municipalities are required to develop a comprehensive plan to the research question: How can a resilience assessment guide physical planning and these plans are a key element of the complement existing planning and management within a local Swedish planning system (Schulman and Böhme 2000). government? Furthermore, to improve the usefulness of the Eskilstuna’s comprehensive plan better integrates different workbook in urban planning settings we identified challenges that sectors within sustainable development (Eskilstuna kommun emerged when conducting the resilience assessment and propose 2005), but is limited to issues related to land and water use. In possible ways the Resilience Assessment Workbook could be Sweden, municipalities have the main responsibility for physical improved to address these challenges. planning (Böhme 2001). Compared with the rest of Europe, local authorities have more power in Nordic countries. CASE STUDY DESCRIPTION Planning in Eskilstuna municipality Fig. 2 . The City of Eskilstuna. The Eskilstuna River flows Eskilstuna municipality is a middle-sized Swedish municipality through the city, connecting the two lakes, Hjälmaren and Mälaren. The river as a trading route contributed to making that spans 1250 km² located between two of Sweden’s largest lakes, Lake Mälaren and Lake Hjälmaren (Fig. 1). To the east, Lake this an attractive area for settlements, for over 3000 years. From Mälaren connects to the Baltic Sea through the Swedish capital, the 16th century the river became a source of power for the Stockholm, which is located about 100 km to the east. The biggest metal industry, for which the City of Eskilstuna became a city in the municipality, with about two thirds of the municipality’s center. The industry declined after structural changes in the 1970s, and lately, a hotel, restaurants, an art museum, and a 100,000 inhabitants, is also named Eskilstuna (Fig. 2). sports arena have moved into the old industrial buildings, some of which are shown in this photo. Photo by Göran Jonsson, Fig. 1. Eskilstuna municipality in Sweden. The municipality Eskilstuna municipality. borders Lake Mälaren to the north and Lake Hjälmaren to the west. The biggest city, also called Eskilstuna, is situated in the middle of the municipality. The grey areas are urban, whereas the rest of the municipality is a mix of forested and agricultural land. Municipal crisis management is compulsory by Swedish law (SFS 2006:544; Swedish Parliament 2006) and it requires preparedness for disasters, such as floods and infrastructure breakdowns, as well as disaster risk reduction. The focus is on maintaining critical societal functions in the face of these events. Crisis management We focus on two areas of municipal planning, which the planners functions across departments in the municipality, but at the time thought overlapped with the resilience assessment: planning for of this study there was no cooperation between crisis management sustainable development and crisis management. Eskilstuna’s and planning for sustainable development. However, the crisis commitment to sustainable development is beyond the Swedish manager could identify shared issues with sustainable Ecology and Society 20 (1): 43 http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol20/iss1/art43/ development, especially in the area of climate change adaptation were divided into working groups for each focal system (Fig. 4) (Mats Löwenberg, November 2012, personal communication). and went through exercises to increase their understanding of the focal systems as dynamic systems and spark ideas on measures to Eskilstuna’s initial resilience assessment increase their resilience. The workshop was a first step, in which Eskilstuna municipality prides itself on being a leader in only internal representatives from the different departments and environmental sustainability and part of being at the forefront units were invited to participate. Most of the attendants were from involves always looking for ways to improve its environmental the municipal office or the city planning administration. See work. In this spirit, two of the municipality’s environmental Appendix 2 for a more detailed project description. planners, Lars Wiklund and Lars-Erik Dahlin, pursued an interest in exploring how resilience could be applied in the Fig. 4. The resilience assessment workshop in Eskilstuna. municipality. In particular, they were concerned that conventional Louise Hård af Segerstad (research communicator) explaining planning was not addressing how global threats, such as climate an exercise to a group of civil servants discussing the change, peak oil, financial crises, and the challenge of staying transportation system. Project manager Cathy Wilkinson in the within planetary boundaries (Rockström et al. 2009), would affect background adjusting the historical timeline. Photo by Lars local food and water supply, transport, and employment. In 2011, Wiklund, Eskilstuna municipality. they contacted the Stockholm Resilience Centre to initiate a collaboration. We address the first part of this collaboration, a process consisting of five planning meetings and an internal two-day workshop between August 2011 and February 2013. The two planners, together with Cathy Wilkinson and My Sellberg from Stockholm Resilience Centre, and Louise Hård af Segerstad, research communicator from Albaeco, formed the core planning team. This team used the Resilience Assessment Workbook and previous experience from resilience assessments to develop a workshop that addressed larger scale threats, as requested by the municipality, in a way that would be relevant for a planning context (Fig. 3). The team used Stockholm Resilience Centre’s (2014) definition of resilience that includes both persistence and development as aspects of resilience, as does much resilience research (Holling 1986, Gunderson and Holling 2002, Walker and Salt 2006). METHODS Fig. 3. The structure and scope of the resilience assessment in Eskilstuna municipality. Developed during the planning Assessing the assessment meetings with the two strategic environmental planners, Lars To evaluate Eskilstuna’s resilience assessment we captured the Wiklund and Lars-Erik Dahlin, as well as Cathy Wilkinson, participants’ views of the process, rather than identifying policy Louise Hård af Segerstad, and My Sellberg. The municipality changes, because of the limited scope of the study. Apart from requested the content of the focal systems, specific threats, and contributions, challenges and limitations were also identified, impact dimensions. The project manager Cathy Wilkinson set where, e.g., a potential of the assessment was not realized. We did the structure, which was based on the approach of Paul Ryan, this by building upon Wilkinson’s research on evaluating an Australian expert practitioner of resilience assessments. The resilience in planning (Wilkinson 2012c). We adopted an in-depth first two steps draw on section 1.1–1.3 in the Resilience case study design from interpretive policy analysis (Bevir and Assessment Workbook (Resilience Alliance 2010). Rhodes 2006) that used textual analysis, participant observation, and in-depth interviews to provide a detailed understanding of beliefs of resilience assessment participants. Our data analysis was based on grounded theory, an inductive form of qualitative data analysis that enabled an ongoing dialogue between theory and the empirical world throughout the research process (Wagenaar 2011). My Sellberg collected the data and performed the majority of the analysis as a part of her master thesis (Sellberg 2013). Participant observations We participated in the five planning meetings and the final workshop, which took place in Eskilstuna and at Stockholm Resilience Centre. The participant observation allowed us to follow the process closely and gain a deeper understanding of the process outcomes and the reasons behind them. To document the During the planning meetings, the planners set the focal systems observations, we wrote field notes (Jorgensen 1989). The reflection and specific threats (Fig. 3). In the workshop, the 23 participants Ecology and Society 20 (1): 43 http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol20/iss1/art43/ session in the end of the workshop was also recorded and applicable to the data, and provided explanation to it (Wagenaar transcribed. 2011). The emergent themes on contributions (Appendix 5) were part of Sellberg 2013, but for this paper we also reviewed them to All field notes included memos, which are informal notes of distill three main categories. preliminary interpretations of the data and a key component of grounded theory methodology (Glaser 1998). Writing memos is RESULTS a way to engage in the dialogue between our preliminary The participants of Eskilstuna’s resilience assessment identified understandings and the empirical world from the beginning of three main ways that the assessment contributed to existing the research process (Wagenaar 2011). Memos capture municipal planning and management: “comparisons and connections you make, and crystallize 1. It provided a dynamic systems perspective; questions and directions for you to pursue” (Charmaz 2006:72). They help with focusing further data collection and developing 2. It enabled a discussion about global and uncertain threats; coding categories (Wagenaar 2011). 3. It helped implement and advance their sustainable Semistructured interviews with key informants development work. We interviewed six key informants: three strategic environmental All the identified themes of contributions of the resilience planners, including the two initiators, one spatial planner, the assessment, which these three categories build upon, are presented crisis manager, and one Municipal Commissioner who supported with examples in Appendix 5. the project. The key informants were chosen because they both had knowledge of one of the focus areas of municipal planning, A dynamic systems perspective i.e., crisis management, or planning for sustainable development, The resilience assessment introduced a dynamic view of change and were involved to different degrees in the project. Therefore, (Appendix 5:2). Of the 20 survey respondents, 9 wrote that they could answer questions of, e.g., how the resilience assessment thinking of threshold effects was something new. Similarly, the related to their usual work and what the challenges were with interviews showed that threshold effects were new to crisis using it. The interviews were semistructured (Kvale and management and strategic environmental and comprehensive Brinkmann 2009), using an interview schedule with key topics planning. One planner said that they are working with sustainable (description in Appendix 3). All but two interviews were development, which he related to “closing loops and getting conducted face-to-face, recorded, and transcribed. The other two mechanisms to work,” however the resilience assessment added informants were interviewed by telephone, while taking notes. “the idea of fluctuations and thresholds,” which he considered critical for urban planning to take into account. Survey The survey provided us with an additional source of data on the Furthermore, the resilience assessment necessitated a view of the participants’ views of the resilience assessment. Moreover, the municipality as an interconnected system across sectors and scales survey allowed us to scan the views of all the workshop (Appendix 5:3 and 5). Nine of the survey respondents thought participants so that the individual accounts captured in the that the resilience assessment had a more comprehensive view interviews could be set in a context. Of the 23 workshop (Appendix 5:5). The assessment drew particular attention to participants, 20 took part in the survey. The survey was part of social-ecological interactions (Appendix 5:4), by framing an evaluation form (Appendix 4) and used mainly open questions ecological values “as a part of human welfare,” and targeting both without fixed answering alternatives, to map the participants’ ecological and social issues of concern, such as eutrophication views of the resilience assessment and their insights from the and unemployment. workshop (Esaiasson et al. 2007). This integrated systems perspective was significant for both crisis Review of official documents management and planning for sustainable development. To understand more of how the participants related the resilience According to the strategic environmental planners, the workshop assessment to their ongoing work, we reviewed current official encouraged integration within sustainable development by municipal documents related to sustainability and crisis discussing how issues were connected to one another across management. The documents were, e.g., strategic environmental sectors, e.g., how employment in Eskilstuna could be affected by plans for different sectors and a crisis management plan climate change (Table 1). For the crisis manager, the assessment (Appendix 1). We compiled information on the main content of had a broader scope than crisis management by targeting the each document, its connections to the focus areas of the geographical area of the municipality, instead of only municipal assessment (Fig. 3), and relations to the key ideas of the resilience services. Moreover, it addressed the underlying events rather than assessment. their secondary consequences, e.g., climate change rather than an isolated flooding event. It also emphasized strategies for resilient Data analysis ecosystems, such as ecological diversity (Appendix 5:9), which are Following the strategy of grounded theory, we coded the data into not currently addressed within crisis management. At the categories to move from “empirical material to generalizations” workshop, the crisis manager met with sustainable development (Wagenaar 2011:261). First, we separated the data on planners and discussed change in the focal systems with common contributions from data on challenges. Secondly, all the data was concepts (Appendix 5:7). coded into categories based on themes that emerged while we reviewed the data multiple times, building on the memos written Enabling a discussion about uncertain futures and crises earlier in the research process. This was an iterative process of The resilience assessment enabled a discussion about global and coding and recoding to find categories that both were readily uncertain threats (Appendix 5:6). According to the initiating Ecology and Society 20 (1): 43 http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol20/iss1/art43/ Table 1. Examples of the three main ways the participants considered the resilience assessment to contribute to existing planning at Eskilstuna municipality. The categories are based on a clustering of the themes in Appendix 5. Quotes are translated from Swedish by My Sellberg. Categories Examples More examples in Appendix 5 Providing a dynamic Strategic Environmental Planner 1: “I think that many there (at the workshop) thought it Theme 2–5 systems perspective was a more holistic approach. I think some also saw that there were links between the different focal areas. One issue affects a different area, which invites collaboration naturally. So it’s a pretty good lesson to be drawn, that it becomes clear – we will not solve this issue ourselves because it affects another sector of society. Therefore, I think resilience thinking has the potential to highlight this particular holistic thinking in sustainable development. Which otherwise easily turns into that environment, social aspects, and economics become separate things, without them being discussed together.” Enabling a discussion about Environmental Inspector: “It is a systematic way to look at how it will work, if it all goes Theme 1, 6, 8–9 global and uncertain bad. It’s very easy otherwise to focus on that we should go forward all the time. Often we threats think: ‘this is how it should be, it’ll be fine.’ But it is not as obvious to look at what happens if it doesn’t go as expected. So I think that the method has a great strength in itself.” Helping to implement and Strategic Environmental Planner 3: “It clarifies why it (business-as-usual) will not hold. And Theme 7, 10–14 advance the sustainable then we can also have an argument. If people say ‘it doesn’t matter if the oil price goes up, development work we will get more efficient cars, they will only consume 0.1 and then it doesn’t matter so much, we are not vulnerable at all.’ Then you can have a discussion about these thresholds perhaps, and get some sense of how vulnerable we are, too. Perhaps we can agree on that. So I think that would help actually.” planners, the municipality lacked preparedness for potential with its focus on how sustainable a system is to a specific threat, global crises. These issues had no clear organizational home and was a new way of operationalizing sustainable development and planning for worst-case scenarios was lacking. The workshop was “fill the concept ... with concrete content,” according to the used to discuss these issues, as well as the issue of local food strategic environmental planners (Appendix 5:6 and 10). They security, none of which had previously been on the municipality’s already had, e.g., sustainability principles for operationalizing agenda. sustainable development (Natural Step 2013), but according to the planners, the concept was still perceived as vague by many of Four key aspects facilitated the discussion on future threats. First, the civil servants. Second, the dynamic systems perspective helped the resilience assessment encouraged a longer time perspective in integrate sectors within sustainable development, as explained in planning, according to eight of the survey respondents. The crisis the first category. The planners experienced that implementation manager also considered the workshop to have a “much longer of sustainable development usually is carried out in silos by time horizon” than his work with crisis management. Second, the different departments, which was not the case with the resilience broad scope of the workshop enabled inclusion of areas outside assessment. One of the initiators said that the workshop helped of normal municipal services, such as food supply. Third, the idea put “different parts of society’s functions” in a context where they of threshold effects helped to capture the risk of dramatic and “get a more comprehensive assessment.” undesired consequences of crises to society to which we cannot slowly adapt (Appendix 5:6 and 13). Finally, the assessment The strategic environmental planners also thought that the provided a mindset of assuming change and uncertainty resilience assessment had the potential to advance their (Appendix 5:1), which broadened the discussion of threats to sustainability work (Appendix 5:13-14). For example, one planner include not only the most likely scenarios from today’s perspective stated that even though climate change is an accepted issue, little (Appendix 5:8). According to one of the participants, the is actually being done to mitigate its impacts and the municipality workshop focused more on “what could happen, than on the continues building houses close to the water. In this context, the normal state,” and another described it as “a systematic way” of resilience assessment can motivate further measures toward assessing whether the municipal plans would function even if sustainability, through the discussion of large-scale threats “reality doesn’t turn out as you had thought it would” (Table 1). explained above, and by providing arguments for actions (Table 1). For example, the risk of abrupt threshold effects in apparently It is too early to tell how enabling this discussion will affect slow and “invisible” trends, such as eutrophication or segregation, municipal planning. As of late 2014, the workshop has led to the provides stronger basis for taking action and investing resources planners continuing to work with resilience assessment, with a in avoiding undesired states. One planner also mentioned that focus on local food security. viewing society and nature as interconnected might enable investments in ecosystems as green infrastructure to address Implementing and advancing sustainable development work problems in other parts of society, rather than viewing ecological The resilience assessment supported the implementation of protection as a luxury. sustainable development in two ways. First of all, the method, Ecology and Society 20 (1): 43 http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol20/iss1/art43/ Challenges and limitations DISCUSSION Although the idea of threshold effects was new to the municipal In the results we presented the contributions of Eskilstuna’s planning practices, some participants also raised concerns about resilience assessment, according to the participants. Here we its applicability. Three survey respondents stated that even though discuss how a resilience assessment can support a municipality’s the dynamic perspective was a key part of the workshop, it was work with sustainable development and serve as a bridge to crisis difficult to apply to their focal areas, especially the less ecological management. We also conclude that the key ideas of the resilience ones, such as employment. In a workshop exercise, for example, assessment made a difference for the practitioners. In the end, we the employment group discussed variables that could prevent or present some of the lessons learned from Eskilstuna’s assessment trigger a regime shift to a less desirable state with higher and propose areas for improvement. unemployment. However, unemployment in Eskilstuna is already New perspectives in the implementation of sustainable higher than the Swedish average and one participant stated development afterward that the exercise gave a sense of things getting worse, The resilience assessment introduced new ideas to planning for while they are actually working toward a positive development. sustainable development (Fig. 5). All the interviewed planners The transportation group solved this by viewing transportation working with sustainable development stated that the resilience as a system that needs to transform to fossil-fuel independence assessment added increased thinking about abrupt nonlinear and discussed, e.g., variables hindering that transformation. changes and alternate regimes. This contribution corresponds to Afterward, the planners were uncertain if the thresholds discussed literature stating that the mainstream usage of sustainable in the workshop actually existed and indicated the importance of development does not adequately consider system dynamics (Lélé threshold effects being scientifically identified. 1998, Walker and Salt 2006). The method’s focus on how a system At the workshop, we presented both the idea of cross-scale can cope with change provided a new way of operationalizing coordination, i.e., that “resilience at one scale cannot be achieved sustainable development. Beneath this focus lies a mindset that at the cost of resilience at lower or higher scales” (Wilkinson and assumes surprise and uncertainty, which scholars have argued is Wagenaar 2012:4), and the concept of planetary boundaries useful in times of looming crises (Davoudi 2012, Shaw 2012). (Rockström et al. 2009), even though they are not part of the workbook. The reason was to relate Eskilstuna’s work to global- Fig. 5. Bridging sustainable development and crisis scale sustainability challenges. Nevertheless, one participant management. The resilience assessment overlapped partially mentioned, for example, that her group had focused on both crisis management and planning for sustainable Eskilstuna’s interests, without discussing impacts on other development, including both strategic environmental planning municipalities or countries. Another participant stated that a and comprehensive planning, in Eskilstuna municipality. resilience approach could call for a broadening of the streets in However, the overlaps with sustainable development practices Eskilstuna City as a buffer toward traffic jams, which would were new to crisis management, and vice versa. In this sense, conflict with the municipality’s sustainability goal to decrease car the resilience assessment bridged planning for sustainable use and subsequent carbon emissions. These examples show how development and crisis management, which did not have any a resilience assessment approach in practice risks being focused collaboration at the time of the study. The ideas of system on the resilience of the focal system, without taking into account dynamics were new to both aspects of municipal planning. how it influences the resilience of other systems or scales. It also shows that cross-scale trade-offs are difficult to grasp and might require more attention in a workshop setting than our initial presentation. The broad perspective of the workshop was evident to many of the participants, but the organizers still found it difficult to get a diverse set of people to participate. Neither economists, nor civil servants from the educational or cultural departments took part, even though they were invited. This was mentioned in the reflection round after the workshop. Four of the survey respondents also questioned the broad perspective of the workshop because it addressed areas where the municipality has little influence and knowledge, such as food supply. Nevertheless, the workshop highlighted the need to involve stakeholders in the The resilience assessment also strengthened existing views within process if they would continue working with food security issues. sustainable development, by re-emphasizing an integrated Finally, the initiators acknowledged that this first workshop was perspective. The Johannesburg Declaration, for example, mostly about learning the resilience assessment method and highlights the interdependence of social, ecological, and mindset and that further in-depth workshops were needed to economic dimensions, as well as our collective responsibility from develop proposals for new governance strategies. They referred local to global levels (WSSD and UN Department of Public this to the challenges of using a new and untried method and Information 2003). However, this integration was difficult to having little time to go deeper into broad issues. At the end of the pursue in practice, and therefore the contribution of the resilience workshop, earlier expectations from the initiators to come up with assessment was important to the planners. Previously, resilience strategies for the municipality’s long-term planning were not seen thinking has also been recognized for being able to connect as reasonable within the limited timeframe. phenomena that are isolated in different silos in mainstream Ecology and Society 20 (1): 43 http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol20/iss1/art43/ planning (Porter and Davoudi 2012), such as ecology and urban systems and cross-scale interactions provided the comprehensive design (Pickett et al. 2004), and provide a “common language perspective necessary to integrate sectors in sustainable across diverse sectoral and disciplinary interests” (Wilkinson development planning. Moreover, complex adaptive systems gave 2012a:323). a new dynamic perspective on change that bridged the short- and long-term perspectives of crisis management and planning for Our findings confirm and expand on the idea that resilience sustainable development, respectively. Compared to other assessment can be used to advance the work with sustainable approaches for operationalizing resilience in local governments, development. Previously, metropolitan planners (Wilkinson et al. such as UNISDR (2012) and the Rockefeller Foundation (2013), 2010), as well as social movement promoters (Hopkins 2009), have the workbook has a stronger foundation in a theoretical identified resilience as a potentially more powerful and useful framework, which emphasizes system dynamics, social-ecological concept than sustainability, e.g., for challenging status quo feedbacks, resilience-building of ecosystems, and ecosystem responses to urban problems, or finding systemic solutions to services. climate change. The Eskilstuna planners did not see resilience as a substitute for sustainability, but rather as an important Lessons for resilience assessments complement, and they used the resilience assessment to bring One of the benefits of testing a method in practice is that it clarifies previously ignored and complex sustainability issues up for possible areas for improvement. Based on our evaluation of an discussion, such as how food security would be affected by future initial resilience assessment process in an urban planning setting crises in energy, climate, and finances. This first workshop has led we identify four weaknesses in the Resilience Assessment to a continued project on the resilience of the food system, a Workbook and suggest ways in which they could be addressed. completely new area for municipal planning. This is similar to Identifying thresholds in practice Luleå, where a resilience assessment served to frame the “deeper, Even though the Eskilstuna planners found the concept of more structural issues” and bring them to the planning agenda threshold effects useful, they were uncertain of whether the (Wilkinson 2012a:323). identified thresholds actually existed and found the concept less Expanding crisis management and bridging to sustainable applicable to the focus areas of transport and employment. This development points to two areas of the workbook that could be improved: (1) The resilience assessment partially overlapped with crisis how to deal with uncertain thresholds, and (2) how to identify management, but had a larger scope in time and space (Fig. 5). thresholds that are not biophysical. Regarding the first point, we Resilience assessment’s focus on how to handle change and suggest that the workbook could be improved by incorporating uncertainty (Appendix 5:1) was not new to crisis management, concepts from strategic adaptive management, which identify but crisis management’s focus was mostly limited to short-term thresholds of potential concern and plans for how to regularly crises in municipal services, rather than slow changes in evaluate them (e.g., Biggs and Rogers 2003, Biggs et al. 2011, Roux ecosystems or society. The resilience assessment also introduced and Foxcroft 2011), as well as Walker and Salt (2012), which the idea of complex adaptive systems, corresponding to Walker includes a step process of how to identify thresholds with different and Westley’s (2011) finding that the idea of complex adaptive degrees of uncertainty. For the second point, we suggest that the systems with alternate regimes was rare within the disaster relief workbook should discuss this difficulty (following, e.g., Walker community. and Salt 2012) and suggest possible ways to navigate this process. For example, by viewing social thresholds in terms of what is Resilience assessment served as a bridge between crisis collectively recognized as desirable or acceptable in a community management and sustainable development (Fig. 5) because of its (Christensen and Krogman 2012), or using scenario planning to partial overlap with both of them. An example of the bridging explore system dynamics in complex systems in a broader sense function of the resilience assessment is the inclusion of both slow (Walker et al. 2002, Peterson et al. 2003b). However, how to and fast changes. System dynamics, for example, examines effectively identify thresholds in real world situations is an area interactions between slow and fast variables (Walker and Salt that needs experimentation, research, and evaluation. 2006). Currently crisis management is dealing with short-term shocks to the system, separated from strategic environmental and Including local level responses to global challenges comprehensive planning, which focuses on longer term trends. A The Eskilstuna planners wanted to align the resilience assessment resilience approach could contribute to crisis management with with their work with sustainable development, which includes attention to slow variables, corresponding to the conclusions of dealing with global challenges, such as climate change mitigation. Walker and Westley (2011). Furthermore, it confirms the findings Nevertheless, the idea of cross-scale coordination was not always of Shaw and Maythorne (2012) that a resilience discourse could apparent in the discussions during the assessment. The idea that potentially integrate short- to medium-term emergency planning transformation of smaller scale systems can be needed to foster with medium- to long-term climate adaptation. The bridging Earth System resilience exists in the resilience thinking framework function of the resilience assessment implies that it has the (Folke et al. 2010), but is not included in interfaces with practice potential of providing local authorities with common strategies (Resilience Alliance 2010, Walker and Salt 2012). We propose that to handle change across sectors, in line with Shaw and Maythorne the workbook should give advice on how to address trade-offs (2012). between resilience on different scales. We also encourage resilience assessment practitioners to allow for more time to discuss cross- The key ideas of resilience assessment made a difference to scale trade-offs, possibly iteratively over several workshops, if this practitioners is considered to be an important part of the assessment. The three key ideas of the resilience assessment made a difference to the participants in the project. For example, social-ecological Ecology and Society 20 (1): 43 http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol20/iss1/art43/ Missing guidance on design of participatory process learning processes and how to use the workbook for different The workbook does not provide guidance on how to design, goals. manage, and facilitate a participatory assessment process. This is In the Swedish context, Eskilstuna municipality is a sustainability surprising, considering that the predecessor of the workbook leader, however, the resilience assessment further advanced its (Walker et al. 2002) proposed a close involvement of stakeholders, sustainability planning and practices. We therefore expect that and the workbook itself states that perspectives of multiple resilience assessments are a potentially useful approach for other stakeholders are important for many of the exercises, e.g., in municipalities in Sweden, Europe, and elsewhere. We have identifying the main issues. A participatory assessment process is presented the first in-depth study of a resilience assessment necessary to successfully address complex issues (Wagenaar 2007, process and our results demonstrate that the resilience assessment Bai et al. 2010) where no single actor has the knowledge to do the approach is useful for planning, and we urge researchers to assessment, nor the influence to carry through the strategies continue developing the Resilience Assessment Workbook and resulting from it. A participatory process also holds the potential engage in local transdisciplinary learning processes, to create of enabling dialogue and social learning. The social-ecological multiple versions for a diverse set of audiences and purposes. inventory (Schultz et al. 2007) can help to identify actors to include in the process, but we suggest adding a discussion of process design to the workbook with different examples of Responses to this article can be read online at: processes and how they fit with different political and cultural http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/issues/responses. contexts, as well as providing links to other resources on how to php/7258 manage transdisciplinary learning processes (e.g., Scholz 2011). From learning to transformation The planners in Eskilstuna initiated the resilience assessment Acknowledgments: process because they were interested in learning how resilience could be applied in municipal planning. They also wanted to both We would like to thank all the participants from Eskilstuna safeguard current values in the face of change, and identify municipality for their courage and openness. We are especially strategies for moving Eskilstuna toward a more sustainable future. grateful for having had the opportunity to work with Lars Wiklund, These types of multiple goals are likely widely shared among those Lars-Erik Dahlin, and Kristina Birath at Eskilstuna municipality, practicing resilience assessment and the workbook would be as well as Louise Hård af Segerstad at Albaeco, in the cocreation improved if it provided more guidance on how it could be used of this resilience assessment process. We thank Jamila Haider and to meet different goals. For example, a resilience assessment Allyson Quinlan for useful comments. This paper is based upon My process focused on training people to apply the method within a Sellberg’s master thesis Resilience in Practice for Strategic municipality has quite different goals than one focused on Planning at a Local Government in Social-Ecological Resilience developing an implementation plan. Moreover, training for Sustainable Development at Stockholm University (Sellberg participants to apply the method could initiate a longer 2013). engagement with resilience. This was the case in Eskilstuna municipality, which now is continuing the exploration of LITERATURE CITED resilience with a focus on local food security. Relating to the Bai, X., R. R. J. McAllister, R. M. Beaty, and B. Taylor. 2010. suggestion above on process designs in different contexts, we Urban policy and governance in a global environment: complex suggest that the workbook also advise how the assessment process systems, scale mismatches and public participation. Current can be designed for different purposes, e.g., to quickly scan local Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 2:129-135. http://dx.doi. resilience, conduct an in-depth assessment, or develop org/10.1016/j.cosust.2010.05.008 transformation strategies, as well as how these different steps could build on each other in a bigger process. 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Swedish Parliament, Stockholm, Sweden. of the World Summit on Sustainable Development: the final text of agreements negotiated by governments at the World Summit on United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR). Sustainable Development, 26 August-4 September 2002, 2007. Hyogo framework for action 2005-2015: building the Johannesburg, South Africa. United Nations Department of Public Information, New York, New York, USA. Appendix 1. Official municipal documents Here, we present a list of the official municipal documents that we reviewed in this study. See Sellberg (2013) for a more detailed description of the document review. Table A1.1. List of official documents of Eskilstuna municipality reviewed in this study. Document Year Explanation Environmental policy 2002 Steering document. Ambitions and goals for the municipal organization, as well as the geographical area. Policy for a sustainable 2002 Steering document with both binding and development – Action program guiding sections. An umbrella document that sets with environmental and public the direction of many other more narrow-scoped health targets plans. Local Agenda 21 program. Comprehensive plan 2005 Spatial plan that sets the direction for long-term land and water usages and steers detailed physical planning. Mandatory by Swedish law. In the process of being replaced by a new plan in Extended comprehensive plan for 2005 Addition to the comprehensive plan for a a specific area: “Stadsbygden” specific area. Extended comprehensive plan for 2005 Addition to the comprehensive plan for a a specific area: “Mälarstranden” specific area. Energy plan 2006 Steering document, a sector plan. Now replaced by the Climate plan. Water plan 2006 Steering document, a sector plan. Based on the EU framework directive on water. Plan of green areas in cities 2006 Elaboration of the comprehensive plan and functions as a basis for detailed physical planning. Nature conservation plan 2006 Steering document, a sector plan. Functions as a basis for detailed physical planning. Plan for handling of residue 2007 Steering document, the municipal waste material management plan. Mandatory by Swedish law. Local area work 2007 Report and evaluation of the project for working with local influence, participation, employment and integration in certain chosen areas. Ecological footprint 2010 Analysis of external consultant. Annual report 2011 Report on the municipality’s achievements regarding goals of sustainable development and efficiency in the organization. Climate plan 2012 Steering document, a sector plan, and replacing the Energy plan. Traffic plan – strategy and action 2012 Steering document, a sector plan. Two separate program documents, with the overall strategy and concrete actions, respectively. Guide to the local food 2012 Information material from the municipality. How we work with climate and 2012 Information material from the municipality. environment in Eskilstuna municipality Crisis management plan for 2012 Steering document for part of the crisis extraordinary or severe events in management work in the municipality, excluding peace times and during increased e.g. preventive work. preparedness 2012–2015 Action plan for contaminated 2012 Steering document, a sector plan. Still a draft. areas - draft Appendix 2. Eskilstuna’s initial resilience assessment Here we present a more detailed description of Eskilstuna’s initial resilience assessment. In the end of this project they decided to continue with a deepened resilience assessment focusing on food, but it has not been part of this study. In 2011, two strategic environmental planners at the municipality, Lars Wiklund and Lars- Erik Dahlin, contacted the Stockholm Resilience Centre to initiate a collaboration. They presented the idea to one of the Municipal Commissioners and later, the municipal council gave their approval. Performing a resilience assessment was seen as a new approach to the municipality’s work with sustainable development. The aim of the project, as expressed by the planners, was that it would lead to new, resilience-building strategies in the long-term planning of the municipality. The resilience assessment process included five planning meetings, a two-day workshop, and a report, documenting the workshop (Table A2.1). The first planning meeting was in August 2011 and the final report was finalized in September 2013. During the planning process, Eskilstuna municipality was also used as a case during a three-day course on resilience assessments at the Stockholm Resilience Centre (Table A2.1). Both Lars Wiklund and Lars- Erik Dahlin took part in the course, which was used as a pilot study to test our ideas about the scope of the assessment. The core planning team included the two strategic environmental planners, Lars Wiklund and Lars-Erik Dahlin, Cathy Wilkinson and My Sellberg from Stockholm Resilience Centre, and Louise Hård af Segerstad, research communicator at Albaeco. Cathy Wilkinson was the project manager. For the initiators, this project was a first step, wherefore they did not invite any external actors. About 40 civil servants and politicians were invited to the workshop from all the different departments and companies of the municipality. In the end, 23 people participated and only one was a politician. Afterwards, they evaluated the project to see if they would take it further and involve more different stakeholders. During the planning process, the scope of the resilience assessment was determined and the workshop was planned more in detail. The strategic environmental planners especially requested the resilience assessment to target the resilience of four areas of the municipality (water supply, food supply, employment and transports) to the threats of global financial crises, climate change and energy crises (Fig. 3). They also requested an exploration of how the planetary boundaries (Rockström et al. 2009) would impact the focal systems. Furthermore they wanted the economic, social and environmental dimensions to be taken into account when resilience of the focus areas was being assessed (“So what” in Fig. 3). The project manager laid out the overall structure of the resilience assessment (Fig. 3): “resilience of what” and “to what”, drawing on section 1.1–1.3 in the workbook, “so what”, which looked at impacts of the threats, and “now what”, which explored different strategies for resilience and implications for governance. “So what” and “now what” was based on Paul Ryan’s experience as an expert practitioner on resilience assessments. In this sense, this resilience assessment was based on the Resilience Assessment Workbook (Resilience Alliance 2010), but it was also influenced by the resilience work in Luleå municipality (Wilkinson 2012a), the Arctic Resilience Assessment (Cathy Wilkinson, personal communication, February 2013), and Paul Ryan’s work. The workshop consisted of a mix of presentations, e.g. on resilience thinking, resilience assessments, ecosystem services and planetary boundaries, and group work (workshop agenda in Appendix 4 in Sellberg 2013). The participants were divided into four working groups, one for each focus area, and went through four different exercises to increase the understanding of the focal systems, potential impacts of large-scale threats and to spark ideas on measures: 1. Historical timeline exercise: drawing on section 1.4 in the workbook, but doing parallel timelines for each focus area in different colors (in the foreground of Fig. 4). The exercise was followed by a discussion on possible management eras. 2. Discussion of system dynamics: using the figure of regime shifts in Bellwood et al. (2004) as a metaphor to discuss their focal systems as dynamic systems with possible alternate stable states. This exploration related to section 2.2–2.3 in the workbook. 3. Impacts of crises: using a matrix with each of the specific threats to brainstorm possible consequences for the focal area in social, economic and ecological dimensions. 4. Strategies for resilience: using a list of strategies for general resilience (Appendix 1 in Sellberg 2013), developed by Cathy Wilkinson and based on Wilkinson (2012b), to identify existing and future measures for each strategy related to their focal system. This list incorporates the attributes of general resilience in section 3.3 in the workbook, as well as the stewardship strategies in section 5.2. Table A2.1. Activities and participants of the Eskilstuna’s initial resilience assessment Time Activity Participants † ‡ Aug 2011 Initial meeting with SRC and SEI Lars Wiklund, Lars-Erik Dahlin, researchers. Louise Hård af Segerstad (Albaeco), Cathy Wilkinson (SRC), two researchers from SEI and SRC Feb 2012 Planning meeting in Eskilstuna. Lars Wiklund, Lars-Erik Dahlin, Cathy Wilkinson May 2012 PhD-course about the resilience Lars Wiklund, Lars-Erik Dahlin, assessment at SRC, using Eskilstuna Cathy Wilkinson, Louise Hård af as a case. Segerstad, My Sellberg (SRC), course participants Sep 2012 Planning meeting at the SRC: the Lars Wiklund, Lars-Erik Dahlin, Cathy focus areas were determined. Wilkinson, Louise Hård af Segerstad, My Sellberg Oct 2012 Planning meeting in Eskilstuna: 1) Lars Wiklund, Lars-Erik Dahlin the specific threats were determined, Cathy Wilkinson, Louise Hård af 2) a rough plan of the different Segerstad, My Sellberg, Head of the workshop components, and 3) Strategic Environmental Department, establishment of the project so far two other planners with the head of the Strategic Environmental Department, as well as two other planners. Feb 2013 Planning meeting in Eskilstuna: Lars Wiklund, Lars-Erik Dahlin detailed workshop planning. Louise Hård af Segerstad, My Sellberg Feb 2013 2-day workshop in Eskilstuna: Lars Wiklund, Lars-Erik Dahlin education in resilience thinking and Cathy Wilkinson, Louise Hård af group work. Segerstad, My Sellberg, 21 other participants (civil servants + 1 local politician) Sep 2013 Report with workshop Louise Hård af Segerstad, Cathy documentation and reflections on the Wilkinson, My Sellberg project † Stockholm Resilience Centre ‡ Stockholm Environmental Institute Appendix 3. Semistructured interviews In this section, we describe how we conducted the interviews in this study. The interviews were based on Kvale and Brinkmann (2009), as well as Wagenaar (2011). They were semistructured, meaning that they followed an interview guide with different topics, but remained flexible for unplanned questions (Kvale and Brinkmann 2009:130). The topics usually started with a broad question, followed by suggestions on more specific follow-up questions (see examples below). Sometimes the interviewees answered many questions at once, but then the interview schedule was used to ensure that all relevant topics had been discussed. During the interviews, we were concerned both with building a relationship with the interviewees and receiving high quality interview data, for example by getting detailed and spontaneous descriptions by the interviewees (Kvale and Brinkmann 2009, Wagenaar 2011). Six informants were interviewed and three of them twice, before and after the workshop. These were the two initiating planners and the crisis manager. The reason was to gather more information on the background of the project, the current work with sustainable development and crisis management, as well as their expectations on the resilience assessment. In total, we conducted nine interviews, seven face-to-face of approximately 1–1,5 hours each, and two telephone interviews of approximately 15–30 minutes each while taking notes. The telephone interviews were with the Municipal Commissioner involved in initiating the project, and a spatial planner working in the comprehensive planning process. The interview schedule was adapted to fit the specific interview, depending on the interviewee’s position and expected knowledge, where we were in the resilience assessment process, and where we were in the research process. The last six interviews, conducted shortly after the workshop, were used specifically to test earlier interpretations and clarify questions that had emerged earlier in the project. All the face-to-face interviews were recorded and transcribed. Afterwards, the interviewees had the possibility to comment on the transcriptions. While reading through the transcriptions (including the transcription of the reflection session of the workshop) and notes, we wrote short memos between the quotes as a part of a preliminary analysis, or sense making, of the findings. Examples of interview questions These are examples of the interview questions, translated from Swedish. Questions 1–5 were used in interviews with the strategic environmental planners before the workshop (in October 2012), and 6–8 in interviews after the workshop (in February 2013). 1. Can you tell me the story of how you decided to work with resilience? a. When did you hear about it the first time? b. How did it happen that you sent the first e-mail to SRC? c. What was the catalyzer? d. Follow-up questions: Who did what? When? What happened before? What happened after? 2. What are your expectations of the resilience assessment? a. Expectations on the workshop and how it could influence the work in the future. b. Expectations on how resilience could be used to market Eskilstuna municipality. c. Worries before the workshop? What are the risks? d. What is it in the resilience thinking that you find especially interesting? e. Personal professional goals, and if the resilience assessment could assist you in reaching them. 3. How do you think resilience relates to sustainable development? a. Were you there when sustainable development entered the municipality’s agenda? b. What do you think sustainable development has contributed to the planning work? Examples (positive and negative) of how it has affected your work. c. Do you think sustainable development has been watered down and is that why resilience is interesting? d. What do you relate to a “sustainable municipality”? e. What do you relate to a “resilient municipality”? f. What differs between a sustainable and a resilient municipality? 4. Is there any relation to the municipality’s crisis management work? a. How do you think they are connected? 5. Personal background, education and interests, etc. (if I would like to ask more about it). 6. What is it that is special about resilience? What do you think it adds to what you are already doing in the municipality? a. How does it relate to the municipality’s work with sustainable development? b. How does it relate to the municipality’s work with crisis management? 7. What are the challenges with using resilience thinking and doing a resilience assessment? 8. What potential has the resilience assessment in changing current municipal planning and in what way could it change/in what direction? Appendix 4. Evaluation of the resilience assessment workshop This evaluation form was given to the participants of the resilience assessment workshop in Eskilstuna, in February 2013. Questions are translated from Swedish. However, the actual form also included the aim of the evaluation and e.g. contact details of the researchers. 1) Circle the number that best corresponds to your knowledge of resilience before this workshop (1=did not know the concept at all, 5=thorough understanding of the concept). 1 2 3 4 5 2a) Has the workshop been organized in a good way? ☐ Yes ☐ Partly ☐ No 2b) What could have been improved? 3a) Have the presentations had an appropriate level of difficulty? ☐ Yes ☐ Partly ☐ No 3b) Was there some part that was more difficult to understand? 4a) What new insights have you gained from the workshop? 4b) In what ways could they be useful in your daily work? 5) What is new with the resilience assessment, compared to the current municipal planning? 6) Is there some part of the resilience assessment that is not suitable for usage in a municipality, or that is redundant? 7) Could the resilience assessment influence the coming municipal planning, e.g. regarding the work with sustainable development or crisis management? In that case, in what way? 8a) Is it important for the municipality to continue to work with resilience? ☐ Yes ☐ No ☐ Don’t know 8b) What other focus areas and threats do you think are important? 8c) Would you like to be a part of a continuation of the project? ☐ Yes ☐ No ☐ Maybe ☐ Don’t know Other comments: Appendix 5. Contributions of the resilience assessment to municipal planning This table presents emergent themes of how the resilience assessment contributed to municipal planning and management at Eskilstuna municipality. Each theme is presented with examples from the interviews, observations and the survey to the workshop participants. Note that the themes are not disconnected, but rather influence each other in many ways. In the results section, these themes are clustered into three main categories of contributions. See also Sellberg (2013) for a more detailed description of the data analysis. (SEP=strategic environmental planner, SD=sustainable development.) Table A5.1. Contributions of the resilience assessment in Eskilstuna to municipal planning, presented with examples. Themes: Examples: 1. Giving a − The resilience assessment focuses more on what could happen, than on the mindset that normal state. (Survey) assumes − The workshop was a systematic way of looking at: “if it all goes bad, what change, surprise happens then?” Trying to prevent unwanted surprises, instead of just and uncertainty planning towards certain goals. The method can assess if the plans would function even if the future deviates from the plans. (Reflection round of the workshop) 2. Giving a − 9 of 20 people in the survey wrote that thinking of thresholds was dynamic something new. perspective on − Identifying thresholds is new to comprehensive planning. (Interview spatial systems and planner) change − Resilience thinking adds a dynamic view of systems to e.g. Environmental Impact Assessment of the comprehensive plan. (Survey) − Resilience thinking highlighted both shocks and slow trends, which are less visible, but could be “ticking time-bombs”. (Interviews with SEPs) − Historical discussion and discussion about system dynamics brought up slow factors that influence the state of a system, e.g. industrial culture and education levels in the employment group. (Observation of workshop) 3. Giving a − The workshop showed interconnections between the focal systems, e.g. broader systems water and food, and transports and food. It also showed connections across perspective on scales to the global threats and e.g. the food supply’s dependence on the the municipality global system. (Observation of workshop) and the municipal − The focus of the workshop was more on the geographical area of the organization municipality, rather than on the municipal services. (E.g. interview crisis manager) Themes: Examples: − The resilience assessment dealt with the underlying events, even though they might not have a direct effect on municipal services, rather than the secondary consequences of those events. (Interview crisis manager) − The workshop and a systems approach facilitated understanding of interactions and mutual dependencies between different parts of the municipality, and the interconnectedness of issues. This invites to cooperation, since we cannot solve an issue by ourselves, and motivates working together, towards common goals, or away from undesired trajectories. (Interviews SEP1, SEP3 and crisis manager) 4. Drawing − Resilience thinking gives attention to the ecological dimension and the attention to importance of biodiversity. But, it frames this as a critical part of peoples’ social- welfare, by using concepts such as ecosystem services. (Interviews SEP1 ecological and SEP2) integration − The workshop was used to frame both ecological and social issues of concern, e.g. unemployment. (Observations of process) − Working with a broad, and also historical, perspective indirectly leads to more understanding of our ecological dependence, since then the context of our current situation becomes clearer. (Interview SEP2) − Resilience thinking increases our understanding of how parts of the system interact, both in nature, but also between people, and help us prioritize what is important and not. (Interview SEP2) 5. Facilitating − ”Resilience is not primarily an environmental tool, but a tool for man's an integrated ability to survive and adapt to have a good life” (Survey). Looking for perspective consequences of global crises on economic and social systems was seen as very important too (Interviews SEPs). − It is difficult to avoid a broader discussion at a resilience assessment and a holistic perspective comes more automatically. (Interview SEP2) − Resilience has a broader scope than comprehensive planning, which focuses on land use. (Interview spatial planner) − Resilience thinking provides planners with concepts and models that connect different areas, which means better possibilities to find solutions with positive synergy effects. (Interview SEP2) − The workshop was training in thinking every part of SD (survey) and it lifted holistic thinking within SD because of discussing all the dimensions in an integrated manor (Interview SEP1). Themes: Examples: 6. Framing a − A more holistic way of thinking, showing interconnections between discussion of different parts, leads to less risk of future threats falling in between planning for responsibilities in the municipality. (Interview SEP1) long-term − It was a new perspective for SD to look at focus areas in relation to long- (global) threats with many term threats. (Survey and reflection session of workshop) uncertainties − The workshop enabled a rare occasion to discuss these issues together and zoom out on the problem situation. (Interview Municipal Commissioner) − System dynamics helps visualizing the threats and their long-term consequences to society, as well as society’s vulnerabilities. (E.g. Interview SEP3) − Threshold effects frame surprise and need to discuss worst-case scenarios and take drastic effects of crisis into account. Potential irreversibility of threshold effects framed a sense of urgency, especially for ecological changes (Interview SEP1). As one of the participants put it: “the ecological ball, it's on its way over” (Reflection session of workshop). 7. Providing a − System dynamics provided a common language to look at change in a new, common more dynamic way and “strategies for resilience” was a new way of language and a systematizing strategies and provided a new and common language to talk common about different strategies. Part of the thinking is there already, but not with tool/method those labels. (Observations and interview crisis manager) − A broad concept that bridged different sectors makes it possible to engage people from many different perspectives. (Interview SEP3) − Talk on ecosystem services also gave new common concepts. (Observation of workshop and reflection session) − Strengthened the thinking of the municipality as a group with a shared goal by providing a common tool/method, which demands working across sectors (Reflection session of workshop), and could be applicable on all the different departments of the municipality (Interview crisis manager). − Resilience thinking provides a common language and mindset that could facilitate the discussion about sustainability and avoiding it to be watered down. (Interview SEP2) 8. Helping to − The workshop was a free zone where you could think more wildly and explore freely, e.g. about consequences of climate change, or worst-case scenarios consequences of in general (Interview with SEP1). It also highlighted uncertainties crisis in the regarding their consequences (Observation of workshop). system − Historical discussion on past crises (e.g. oil crisis in the 70’s) gave understanding of the current system’s response to crisis. (Observation of workshop) − The exercise on consequences of threats gave a deeper exploration of potential consequences, both positive and negative and in different Themes: Examples: dimensions (social, ecological and economical) and generated new discussions on e.g. the impact of climate change on employment. (Observation of workshop and reflection session) − Discussion on system dynamics framed need to identify risks of unwanted threshold effects in society. (Survey and reflection session) − The resilience assessment is a systematic identification of vulnerabilities (survey) and a tool to think more long-term regarding the ecological dimension (reflection session of workshop), e.g. thinking about how ecosystem services would be impacted by crises (Observation of workshop). 9. Highlighting − Going through “strategies for resilience” meant identifying strategies with certain few existing actions, e.g. learning from crises and adaptive management, strategies and identifying strategies that were only informal, e.g. learning from crises, social-ecological memory and local knowledge. (Workshop output) − “Strategies for resilience” highlighted new strategies to existing crisis management, e.g. transformability and nurturing diversity, especially ecological diversity. (Interview crisis manager) − Resilience thinking highlighted strategies of e.g. higher self-sufficiency and increasing local food production, better capacity to cope with (dramatic) change, more strategic foresight and better prevention of crisis, and planning to be able to deal with different scenarios. (Interviews SEPs) 10. One way of − The sustainability concept is like an umbrella and resilience is a tool, or an operationalizing approach within that. (E.g. interviews SEPs) SD − You give a more concrete content to SD by going through the method with its different steps, ending in strategies. (Interview SEP1) The workshop meant working through it in more detail to explore what SD could mean. − Resilience thinking clarifies the meaning of SD, fills the SD concept with content, making it more comprehensible. (Interview SEP2) − One way of actually trying to translate SD without jumping down into the sector plans. (Interview SEP2) − The resilience assessment does not bring any new goals and does not decide what is desirable, but it could be used when planning to reach certain strategic goals in the municipality. (Observations and interview SEP3) 11. Clarifying a − The resilience assessment, and thinking of alternate regimes, facilitated a common goal clarifying discussion about the desired state of the focal system, as well as picture the undesired. This facilitates the generation of a common, and clarified, long-term goal picture. (Observations of workshop and interview SEP3, SEP1) − Resilience thinking is one out of several things that would facilitate Themes: Examples: development of a vision of a more sustainable society. It might help us to see what the holistic picture could look like and how we should live within planetary boundaries. (Interview SEP1, SEP3) − The ideal of the resilient society is more about being resistant to change and being able to respond to changes rapidly if needed. (Interview SEP3) − A common knowledge/idea of which the most important thresholds are that we really should not pass, helps formulate the common picture of the goal, since then we have to stop before the thresholds. (Interview SEP3) 12. Helping to − A model/tool for analyzing and working with sustainability. (Survey) assess current − The workshop highlighted interconnections between focus areas, e.g. when work of the mapping consequences of threats connected to the focus area. This municipality connected societal functions into a more holistic assessment. (Interview relative to their SD goals SEP2) − Getting a more holistic picture of the work of the municipality shows if some aspect is missing relative to the SD goals, and what type of threat that implies. A resilience assessment could be a tool to keep holistic perspective in planning when it comes to concrete decision-making, complementing e.g. Environmental Impact Assessments. (Interview SEP2) − “Strategies of resilience” was used as a framework to assess existing actions and identify prioritized areas for future actions. (Observation of workshop) − Resilience thinking could help assessing how far the municipality has reached relative to their SD goals, by assessing current measures and if they are enough. The focus is more on long-term goals, conditions for sustainability and planetary boundaries, than optimization of current processes. (Interview SEP2) 13. Providing − Understanding how different parts cooperate and interact in e.g. social- new arguments ecological systems might also generate recognition of investments in for taking measures that previously were seen as luxury, e.g. new investments in action ecosystems to be able to fix other problems, since they support each other. (Interview SEP2) − (Scientifically) identified thresholds would be important basis for decision- making. If development is seen as steps with thresholds and alternate regimes, rather than linear trends that we could adapt to, that would be a strong argument for investing more resources in avoiding undesired states. Motivating measures that previously were seen as luxury. (Interview SEP1) − System dynamics could also highlight slow negative trends that could be ticking time bombs, such as a growing discontent because of segregation Themes: Examples: and eutrophication, providing stronger basis for taking action. (Interviews SEPs) − The image of the “resilient city” makes it more difficult to argue for Business-as-Usual. (Interview SEP3) 14. Facilitating − The workshop was partly about daring to think more freely, letting go of transformation margins of expenditure, etc. Thinking more broadly than your own role, and innovation and about how we must act in a wider perspective. (Interview spatial planner) − Resilience thinking is a way of coping that bridges over to a more sustainable society, challenging old systems and old way of thinking and old paradigm of more extrinsic values that did not succeed to generate any real solutions anymore. The method could open up to slowly transitioning to a more sustainable society. (Interview SEP2) − System dynamics framed the transformation of the transport system in a new way, and subsequently showed some of the obstacles to transformation. (Observation of workshop) http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Ecology and Society Unpaywall

Resilience assessment: a useful approach to navigate urban sustainability challenges

Ecology and SocietyJan 1, 2015

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Copyright © 2015 by the author(s). Published here under license by the Resilience Alliance. Sellberg, M. M., C. Wilkinson, and G. D. Peterson. 2015. Resilience assessment: a useful approach to navigate urban sustainability challenges. Ecology and Society 20 (1): 43. http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-07258-200143 Research Resilience assessment: a useful approach to navigate urban sustainability challenges My M. Sellberg 1, Cathy Wilkinson 1 and Garry D. Peterson 1 ABSTRACT. Cities and towns have become increasingly interested in building resilience to cope with surprises, however, how to do this is often unclear. We evaluated the ability of the Resilience Assessment Workbook to help urban areas incorporate resilience thinking into their planning practice by exploring how a resilience assessment process complemented existing planning in the local government of Eskilstuna, Sweden. We conducted this evaluation using participant observation, semistructured interviews, and a survey of the participants. Our findings show that the resilience assessment contributed to ongoing planning practices by addressing sustainability challenges that were not being addressed within the normal municipal planning or operations, such as local food security. It bridged longer term sustainable development and shorter term crisis management, allowing these two sectors to develop common strategies. Our study also highlighted that the Resilience Assessment Workbook could be made more useful by providing more guidance on how to practically deal with thresholds and trade-offs across scales, as well as on how to manage transdisciplinary learning processes. This is the first in-depth study of a resilience assessment process, and it demonstrates that the Resilience Assessment Workbook is useful for planning and that it merits further research and development. Key Words: crisis management; Eskilstuna; local government planning; participatory processes; resilience assessment; sustainable development; Sweden; transdisciplinary research; urban planning INTRODUCTION key ideas behind the workbook are: (1) that the systems we Cities and local governments have recently become interested in manage are interlinked social-ecological systems, (2) these building resilience (Evans 2011, Wilkinson 2012a). Many local systems are complex and adaptive, and (3) they interact across governments and cities have a history of planning for disasters scales in space and time (Resilience Alliance 2010). These ideas and sustainability (UNISDR 2007, ICLEI 2013), however the are increasingly being embraced in urban planning, but urban financial shocks following 2008, rising energy prices, and an planning lacks tools to analyze these issues. For example, the increased awareness of climate change impacts have increased dynamics of complex systems are neither included in mainstream interest in resilience as a mechanism to cope with surprise (Shaw sustainable development (Lélé 1998, Walker and Salt 2006), nor 2012). Resilience theory has developed to address such situations disaster relief approaches (Walker and Westley 2011). This lack where control is weak and uncertainty high (Holling 1986, of practical approaches to social-ecological complexity in urban Peterson et al. 2003a) and the concept refers to a system’s long- planning suggests that the Resilience Assessment Workbook has term ability to cope with change and continue to develop the potential to contribute new tools and ideas. (Stockholm Resilience Centre 2014). This interest in resilience has However, because the Resilience Assessment Workbook has led to new initiatives targeting local governments and cities, been primarily applied in natural resource management contexts, ranging from the UN’s campaign of “Making cities resilient” there is a lack of examples and guidance for applying it to urban (UNISDR 2012), and Rockefeller Foundation’s “100 resilient areas. In general, the social-ecological research community has cities” (2015), to bottom-up initiatives, such as transition towns, focused on operationalizing resilience in ecosystem management focusing on building resilience of local communities (Hopkins (Peterson et al. 2003a, Bennett et al. 2005, Biggs et al. 2012), and 2011). There has also been a growing interest in resilience thinking there are few empirical studies of how a resilience approach could within urban planning disciplines (Wilkinson 2012b). All this inform urban planning processes (Wilkinson 2012b). There are activity raises the question of how resilience approaches few published studies of resilience assessments in general (e.g., complement existing planning practices of local governments, Haider et al. 2012, Mitchell et al. 2014), and the few scholars and in what ways they help urban planners address contemporary who have applied the workbook to urban contexts find both challenges? We identify new insights on what a resilience approach strengths in how it, for example, integrated diverse sectors in can offer urban planning practice. local government planning (Wilkinson 2012a), as well as We focus our attention on the Resilience Assessment Workbook difficulties, e.g., in applying threshold effects to complex urban (Resilience Alliance 2010). The workbook was developed by the systems (Liu 2011). Paul Ryan, an expert practitioner of Resilience Alliance and synthesizes their earlier work on how to resilience assessments, has found the method more difficult to apply resilience thinking (Walker et al. 2002). It is the only social- use in urban regions (Paul Ryan, May 2012, personal ecological research initiative that operationalizes resilience for communication). Furthermore, none of the limited research on practitioners, and following its first release in 2007 it has been resilience assessment has thoroughly evaluated how the resilience applied in multiple contexts around the world (Resilience Alliance assessment complements and conflicts with existing planning 2013). Although it was originally aimed at natural resource approaches. managers, the workbook is also relevant for planning. The three 1Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, Sweden Ecology and Society 20 (1): 43 http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol20/iss1/art43/ To address this research need, we performed the first in-depth average. The municipality is a former center of heavy industry assessment of an initial application of the Resilience Assessment that has reinvented itself (Fig. 2). In 2012, Eskilstuna received an Workbook in the Swedish municipality of Eskilstuna. By award for being the “Environmentally Best Swedish identifying how the resilience assessment complemented ongoing Municipality” of the year (Miljöaktuellt 2012). Although the municipal planning practices, we build on Wilkinson’s (2012c) municipality adopted a sustainable development policy in 2002 earlier work to adapt the resilience assessment process to a (Eskilstuna kommun 2002), it is still struggling with how to planning context. Eskilstuna is typical of most European implement it. In practice, planning for sustainable development municipalities in that it has trained staff that is engaged in a variety primarily occurs in two types of planning: strategic environmental of state mandated planning and management activities. At the planning and comprehensive planning. Strategic environmental beginning of the resilience assessment, the initiators at the planning deals with many sustainable development issues, but it municipality expected it to partially overlap with their ongoing is applied separately to different sectors and topics; for example, work on sustainable development and crisis management. a traffic plan is separate from a climate change plan (see a list of Nevertheless, they expected the assessment to contribute new official municipal documents in Appendix 1). Swedish ideas. Therefore, Eskilstuna offered the opportunity to address municipalities are required to develop a comprehensive plan to the research question: How can a resilience assessment guide physical planning and these plans are a key element of the complement existing planning and management within a local Swedish planning system (Schulman and Böhme 2000). government? Furthermore, to improve the usefulness of the Eskilstuna’s comprehensive plan better integrates different workbook in urban planning settings we identified challenges that sectors within sustainable development (Eskilstuna kommun emerged when conducting the resilience assessment and propose 2005), but is limited to issues related to land and water use. In possible ways the Resilience Assessment Workbook could be Sweden, municipalities have the main responsibility for physical improved to address these challenges. planning (Böhme 2001). Compared with the rest of Europe, local authorities have more power in Nordic countries. CASE STUDY DESCRIPTION Planning in Eskilstuna municipality Fig. 2 . The City of Eskilstuna. The Eskilstuna River flows Eskilstuna municipality is a middle-sized Swedish municipality through the city, connecting the two lakes, Hjälmaren and Mälaren. The river as a trading route contributed to making that spans 1250 km² located between two of Sweden’s largest lakes, Lake Mälaren and Lake Hjälmaren (Fig. 1). To the east, Lake this an attractive area for settlements, for over 3000 years. From Mälaren connects to the Baltic Sea through the Swedish capital, the 16th century the river became a source of power for the Stockholm, which is located about 100 km to the east. The biggest metal industry, for which the City of Eskilstuna became a city in the municipality, with about two thirds of the municipality’s center. The industry declined after structural changes in the 1970s, and lately, a hotel, restaurants, an art museum, and a 100,000 inhabitants, is also named Eskilstuna (Fig. 2). sports arena have moved into the old industrial buildings, some of which are shown in this photo. Photo by Göran Jonsson, Fig. 1. Eskilstuna municipality in Sweden. The municipality Eskilstuna municipality. borders Lake Mälaren to the north and Lake Hjälmaren to the west. The biggest city, also called Eskilstuna, is situated in the middle of the municipality. The grey areas are urban, whereas the rest of the municipality is a mix of forested and agricultural land. Municipal crisis management is compulsory by Swedish law (SFS 2006:544; Swedish Parliament 2006) and it requires preparedness for disasters, such as floods and infrastructure breakdowns, as well as disaster risk reduction. The focus is on maintaining critical societal functions in the face of these events. Crisis management We focus on two areas of municipal planning, which the planners functions across departments in the municipality, but at the time thought overlapped with the resilience assessment: planning for of this study there was no cooperation between crisis management sustainable development and crisis management. Eskilstuna’s and planning for sustainable development. However, the crisis commitment to sustainable development is beyond the Swedish manager could identify shared issues with sustainable Ecology and Society 20 (1): 43 http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol20/iss1/art43/ development, especially in the area of climate change adaptation were divided into working groups for each focal system (Fig. 4) (Mats Löwenberg, November 2012, personal communication). and went through exercises to increase their understanding of the focal systems as dynamic systems and spark ideas on measures to Eskilstuna’s initial resilience assessment increase their resilience. The workshop was a first step, in which Eskilstuna municipality prides itself on being a leader in only internal representatives from the different departments and environmental sustainability and part of being at the forefront units were invited to participate. Most of the attendants were from involves always looking for ways to improve its environmental the municipal office or the city planning administration. See work. In this spirit, two of the municipality’s environmental Appendix 2 for a more detailed project description. planners, Lars Wiklund and Lars-Erik Dahlin, pursued an interest in exploring how resilience could be applied in the Fig. 4. The resilience assessment workshop in Eskilstuna. municipality. In particular, they were concerned that conventional Louise Hård af Segerstad (research communicator) explaining planning was not addressing how global threats, such as climate an exercise to a group of civil servants discussing the change, peak oil, financial crises, and the challenge of staying transportation system. Project manager Cathy Wilkinson in the within planetary boundaries (Rockström et al. 2009), would affect background adjusting the historical timeline. Photo by Lars local food and water supply, transport, and employment. In 2011, Wiklund, Eskilstuna municipality. they contacted the Stockholm Resilience Centre to initiate a collaboration. We address the first part of this collaboration, a process consisting of five planning meetings and an internal two-day workshop between August 2011 and February 2013. The two planners, together with Cathy Wilkinson and My Sellberg from Stockholm Resilience Centre, and Louise Hård af Segerstad, research communicator from Albaeco, formed the core planning team. This team used the Resilience Assessment Workbook and previous experience from resilience assessments to develop a workshop that addressed larger scale threats, as requested by the municipality, in a way that would be relevant for a planning context (Fig. 3). The team used Stockholm Resilience Centre’s (2014) definition of resilience that includes both persistence and development as aspects of resilience, as does much resilience research (Holling 1986, Gunderson and Holling 2002, Walker and Salt 2006). METHODS Fig. 3. The structure and scope of the resilience assessment in Eskilstuna municipality. Developed during the planning Assessing the assessment meetings with the two strategic environmental planners, Lars To evaluate Eskilstuna’s resilience assessment we captured the Wiklund and Lars-Erik Dahlin, as well as Cathy Wilkinson, participants’ views of the process, rather than identifying policy Louise Hård af Segerstad, and My Sellberg. The municipality changes, because of the limited scope of the study. Apart from requested the content of the focal systems, specific threats, and contributions, challenges and limitations were also identified, impact dimensions. The project manager Cathy Wilkinson set where, e.g., a potential of the assessment was not realized. We did the structure, which was based on the approach of Paul Ryan, this by building upon Wilkinson’s research on evaluating an Australian expert practitioner of resilience assessments. The resilience in planning (Wilkinson 2012c). We adopted an in-depth first two steps draw on section 1.1–1.3 in the Resilience case study design from interpretive policy analysis (Bevir and Assessment Workbook (Resilience Alliance 2010). Rhodes 2006) that used textual analysis, participant observation, and in-depth interviews to provide a detailed understanding of beliefs of resilience assessment participants. Our data analysis was based on grounded theory, an inductive form of qualitative data analysis that enabled an ongoing dialogue between theory and the empirical world throughout the research process (Wagenaar 2011). My Sellberg collected the data and performed the majority of the analysis as a part of her master thesis (Sellberg 2013). Participant observations We participated in the five planning meetings and the final workshop, which took place in Eskilstuna and at Stockholm Resilience Centre. The participant observation allowed us to follow the process closely and gain a deeper understanding of the process outcomes and the reasons behind them. To document the During the planning meetings, the planners set the focal systems observations, we wrote field notes (Jorgensen 1989). The reflection and specific threats (Fig. 3). In the workshop, the 23 participants Ecology and Society 20 (1): 43 http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol20/iss1/art43/ session in the end of the workshop was also recorded and applicable to the data, and provided explanation to it (Wagenaar transcribed. 2011). The emergent themes on contributions (Appendix 5) were part of Sellberg 2013, but for this paper we also reviewed them to All field notes included memos, which are informal notes of distill three main categories. preliminary interpretations of the data and a key component of grounded theory methodology (Glaser 1998). Writing memos is RESULTS a way to engage in the dialogue between our preliminary The participants of Eskilstuna’s resilience assessment identified understandings and the empirical world from the beginning of three main ways that the assessment contributed to existing the research process (Wagenaar 2011). Memos capture municipal planning and management: “comparisons and connections you make, and crystallize 1. It provided a dynamic systems perspective; questions and directions for you to pursue” (Charmaz 2006:72). They help with focusing further data collection and developing 2. It enabled a discussion about global and uncertain threats; coding categories (Wagenaar 2011). 3. It helped implement and advance their sustainable Semistructured interviews with key informants development work. We interviewed six key informants: three strategic environmental All the identified themes of contributions of the resilience planners, including the two initiators, one spatial planner, the assessment, which these three categories build upon, are presented crisis manager, and one Municipal Commissioner who supported with examples in Appendix 5. the project. The key informants were chosen because they both had knowledge of one of the focus areas of municipal planning, A dynamic systems perspective i.e., crisis management, or planning for sustainable development, The resilience assessment introduced a dynamic view of change and were involved to different degrees in the project. Therefore, (Appendix 5:2). Of the 20 survey respondents, 9 wrote that they could answer questions of, e.g., how the resilience assessment thinking of threshold effects was something new. Similarly, the related to their usual work and what the challenges were with interviews showed that threshold effects were new to crisis using it. The interviews were semistructured (Kvale and management and strategic environmental and comprehensive Brinkmann 2009), using an interview schedule with key topics planning. One planner said that they are working with sustainable (description in Appendix 3). All but two interviews were development, which he related to “closing loops and getting conducted face-to-face, recorded, and transcribed. The other two mechanisms to work,” however the resilience assessment added informants were interviewed by telephone, while taking notes. “the idea of fluctuations and thresholds,” which he considered critical for urban planning to take into account. Survey The survey provided us with an additional source of data on the Furthermore, the resilience assessment necessitated a view of the participants’ views of the resilience assessment. Moreover, the municipality as an interconnected system across sectors and scales survey allowed us to scan the views of all the workshop (Appendix 5:3 and 5). Nine of the survey respondents thought participants so that the individual accounts captured in the that the resilience assessment had a more comprehensive view interviews could be set in a context. Of the 23 workshop (Appendix 5:5). The assessment drew particular attention to participants, 20 took part in the survey. The survey was part of social-ecological interactions (Appendix 5:4), by framing an evaluation form (Appendix 4) and used mainly open questions ecological values “as a part of human welfare,” and targeting both without fixed answering alternatives, to map the participants’ ecological and social issues of concern, such as eutrophication views of the resilience assessment and their insights from the and unemployment. workshop (Esaiasson et al. 2007). This integrated systems perspective was significant for both crisis Review of official documents management and planning for sustainable development. To understand more of how the participants related the resilience According to the strategic environmental planners, the workshop assessment to their ongoing work, we reviewed current official encouraged integration within sustainable development by municipal documents related to sustainability and crisis discussing how issues were connected to one another across management. The documents were, e.g., strategic environmental sectors, e.g., how employment in Eskilstuna could be affected by plans for different sectors and a crisis management plan climate change (Table 1). For the crisis manager, the assessment (Appendix 1). We compiled information on the main content of had a broader scope than crisis management by targeting the each document, its connections to the focus areas of the geographical area of the municipality, instead of only municipal assessment (Fig. 3), and relations to the key ideas of the resilience services. Moreover, it addressed the underlying events rather than assessment. their secondary consequences, e.g., climate change rather than an isolated flooding event. It also emphasized strategies for resilient Data analysis ecosystems, such as ecological diversity (Appendix 5:9), which are Following the strategy of grounded theory, we coded the data into not currently addressed within crisis management. At the categories to move from “empirical material to generalizations” workshop, the crisis manager met with sustainable development (Wagenaar 2011:261). First, we separated the data on planners and discussed change in the focal systems with common contributions from data on challenges. Secondly, all the data was concepts (Appendix 5:7). coded into categories based on themes that emerged while we reviewed the data multiple times, building on the memos written Enabling a discussion about uncertain futures and crises earlier in the research process. This was an iterative process of The resilience assessment enabled a discussion about global and coding and recoding to find categories that both were readily uncertain threats (Appendix 5:6). According to the initiating Ecology and Society 20 (1): 43 http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol20/iss1/art43/ Table 1. Examples of the three main ways the participants considered the resilience assessment to contribute to existing planning at Eskilstuna municipality. The categories are based on a clustering of the themes in Appendix 5. Quotes are translated from Swedish by My Sellberg. Categories Examples More examples in Appendix 5 Providing a dynamic Strategic Environmental Planner 1: “I think that many there (at the workshop) thought it Theme 2–5 systems perspective was a more holistic approach. I think some also saw that there were links between the different focal areas. One issue affects a different area, which invites collaboration naturally. So it’s a pretty good lesson to be drawn, that it becomes clear – we will not solve this issue ourselves because it affects another sector of society. Therefore, I think resilience thinking has the potential to highlight this particular holistic thinking in sustainable development. Which otherwise easily turns into that environment, social aspects, and economics become separate things, without them being discussed together.” Enabling a discussion about Environmental Inspector: “It is a systematic way to look at how it will work, if it all goes Theme 1, 6, 8–9 global and uncertain bad. It’s very easy otherwise to focus on that we should go forward all the time. Often we threats think: ‘this is how it should be, it’ll be fine.’ But it is not as obvious to look at what happens if it doesn’t go as expected. So I think that the method has a great strength in itself.” Helping to implement and Strategic Environmental Planner 3: “It clarifies why it (business-as-usual) will not hold. And Theme 7, 10–14 advance the sustainable then we can also have an argument. If people say ‘it doesn’t matter if the oil price goes up, development work we will get more efficient cars, they will only consume 0.1 and then it doesn’t matter so much, we are not vulnerable at all.’ Then you can have a discussion about these thresholds perhaps, and get some sense of how vulnerable we are, too. Perhaps we can agree on that. So I think that would help actually.” planners, the municipality lacked preparedness for potential with its focus on how sustainable a system is to a specific threat, global crises. These issues had no clear organizational home and was a new way of operationalizing sustainable development and planning for worst-case scenarios was lacking. The workshop was “fill the concept ... with concrete content,” according to the used to discuss these issues, as well as the issue of local food strategic environmental planners (Appendix 5:6 and 10). They security, none of which had previously been on the municipality’s already had, e.g., sustainability principles for operationalizing agenda. sustainable development (Natural Step 2013), but according to the planners, the concept was still perceived as vague by many of Four key aspects facilitated the discussion on future threats. First, the civil servants. Second, the dynamic systems perspective helped the resilience assessment encouraged a longer time perspective in integrate sectors within sustainable development, as explained in planning, according to eight of the survey respondents. The crisis the first category. The planners experienced that implementation manager also considered the workshop to have a “much longer of sustainable development usually is carried out in silos by time horizon” than his work with crisis management. Second, the different departments, which was not the case with the resilience broad scope of the workshop enabled inclusion of areas outside assessment. One of the initiators said that the workshop helped of normal municipal services, such as food supply. Third, the idea put “different parts of society’s functions” in a context where they of threshold effects helped to capture the risk of dramatic and “get a more comprehensive assessment.” undesired consequences of crises to society to which we cannot slowly adapt (Appendix 5:6 and 13). Finally, the assessment The strategic environmental planners also thought that the provided a mindset of assuming change and uncertainty resilience assessment had the potential to advance their (Appendix 5:1), which broadened the discussion of threats to sustainability work (Appendix 5:13-14). For example, one planner include not only the most likely scenarios from today’s perspective stated that even though climate change is an accepted issue, little (Appendix 5:8). According to one of the participants, the is actually being done to mitigate its impacts and the municipality workshop focused more on “what could happen, than on the continues building houses close to the water. In this context, the normal state,” and another described it as “a systematic way” of resilience assessment can motivate further measures toward assessing whether the municipal plans would function even if sustainability, through the discussion of large-scale threats “reality doesn’t turn out as you had thought it would” (Table 1). explained above, and by providing arguments for actions (Table 1). For example, the risk of abrupt threshold effects in apparently It is too early to tell how enabling this discussion will affect slow and “invisible” trends, such as eutrophication or segregation, municipal planning. As of late 2014, the workshop has led to the provides stronger basis for taking action and investing resources planners continuing to work with resilience assessment, with a in avoiding undesired states. One planner also mentioned that focus on local food security. viewing society and nature as interconnected might enable investments in ecosystems as green infrastructure to address Implementing and advancing sustainable development work problems in other parts of society, rather than viewing ecological The resilience assessment supported the implementation of protection as a luxury. sustainable development in two ways. First of all, the method, Ecology and Society 20 (1): 43 http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol20/iss1/art43/ Challenges and limitations DISCUSSION Although the idea of threshold effects was new to the municipal In the results we presented the contributions of Eskilstuna’s planning practices, some participants also raised concerns about resilience assessment, according to the participants. Here we its applicability. Three survey respondents stated that even though discuss how a resilience assessment can support a municipality’s the dynamic perspective was a key part of the workshop, it was work with sustainable development and serve as a bridge to crisis difficult to apply to their focal areas, especially the less ecological management. We also conclude that the key ideas of the resilience ones, such as employment. In a workshop exercise, for example, assessment made a difference for the practitioners. In the end, we the employment group discussed variables that could prevent or present some of the lessons learned from Eskilstuna’s assessment trigger a regime shift to a less desirable state with higher and propose areas for improvement. unemployment. However, unemployment in Eskilstuna is already New perspectives in the implementation of sustainable higher than the Swedish average and one participant stated development afterward that the exercise gave a sense of things getting worse, The resilience assessment introduced new ideas to planning for while they are actually working toward a positive development. sustainable development (Fig. 5). All the interviewed planners The transportation group solved this by viewing transportation working with sustainable development stated that the resilience as a system that needs to transform to fossil-fuel independence assessment added increased thinking about abrupt nonlinear and discussed, e.g., variables hindering that transformation. changes and alternate regimes. This contribution corresponds to Afterward, the planners were uncertain if the thresholds discussed literature stating that the mainstream usage of sustainable in the workshop actually existed and indicated the importance of development does not adequately consider system dynamics (Lélé threshold effects being scientifically identified. 1998, Walker and Salt 2006). The method’s focus on how a system At the workshop, we presented both the idea of cross-scale can cope with change provided a new way of operationalizing coordination, i.e., that “resilience at one scale cannot be achieved sustainable development. Beneath this focus lies a mindset that at the cost of resilience at lower or higher scales” (Wilkinson and assumes surprise and uncertainty, which scholars have argued is Wagenaar 2012:4), and the concept of planetary boundaries useful in times of looming crises (Davoudi 2012, Shaw 2012). (Rockström et al. 2009), even though they are not part of the workbook. The reason was to relate Eskilstuna’s work to global- Fig. 5. Bridging sustainable development and crisis scale sustainability challenges. Nevertheless, one participant management. The resilience assessment overlapped partially mentioned, for example, that her group had focused on both crisis management and planning for sustainable Eskilstuna’s interests, without discussing impacts on other development, including both strategic environmental planning municipalities or countries. Another participant stated that a and comprehensive planning, in Eskilstuna municipality. resilience approach could call for a broadening of the streets in However, the overlaps with sustainable development practices Eskilstuna City as a buffer toward traffic jams, which would were new to crisis management, and vice versa. In this sense, conflict with the municipality’s sustainability goal to decrease car the resilience assessment bridged planning for sustainable use and subsequent carbon emissions. These examples show how development and crisis management, which did not have any a resilience assessment approach in practice risks being focused collaboration at the time of the study. The ideas of system on the resilience of the focal system, without taking into account dynamics were new to both aspects of municipal planning. how it influences the resilience of other systems or scales. It also shows that cross-scale trade-offs are difficult to grasp and might require more attention in a workshop setting than our initial presentation. The broad perspective of the workshop was evident to many of the participants, but the organizers still found it difficult to get a diverse set of people to participate. Neither economists, nor civil servants from the educational or cultural departments took part, even though they were invited. This was mentioned in the reflection round after the workshop. Four of the survey respondents also questioned the broad perspective of the workshop because it addressed areas where the municipality has little influence and knowledge, such as food supply. Nevertheless, the workshop highlighted the need to involve stakeholders in the The resilience assessment also strengthened existing views within process if they would continue working with food security issues. sustainable development, by re-emphasizing an integrated Finally, the initiators acknowledged that this first workshop was perspective. The Johannesburg Declaration, for example, mostly about learning the resilience assessment method and highlights the interdependence of social, ecological, and mindset and that further in-depth workshops were needed to economic dimensions, as well as our collective responsibility from develop proposals for new governance strategies. They referred local to global levels (WSSD and UN Department of Public this to the challenges of using a new and untried method and Information 2003). However, this integration was difficult to having little time to go deeper into broad issues. At the end of the pursue in practice, and therefore the contribution of the resilience workshop, earlier expectations from the initiators to come up with assessment was important to the planners. Previously, resilience strategies for the municipality’s long-term planning were not seen thinking has also been recognized for being able to connect as reasonable within the limited timeframe. phenomena that are isolated in different silos in mainstream Ecology and Society 20 (1): 43 http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol20/iss1/art43/ planning (Porter and Davoudi 2012), such as ecology and urban systems and cross-scale interactions provided the comprehensive design (Pickett et al. 2004), and provide a “common language perspective necessary to integrate sectors in sustainable across diverse sectoral and disciplinary interests” (Wilkinson development planning. Moreover, complex adaptive systems gave 2012a:323). a new dynamic perspective on change that bridged the short- and long-term perspectives of crisis management and planning for Our findings confirm and expand on the idea that resilience sustainable development, respectively. Compared to other assessment can be used to advance the work with sustainable approaches for operationalizing resilience in local governments, development. Previously, metropolitan planners (Wilkinson et al. such as UNISDR (2012) and the Rockefeller Foundation (2013), 2010), as well as social movement promoters (Hopkins 2009), have the workbook has a stronger foundation in a theoretical identified resilience as a potentially more powerful and useful framework, which emphasizes system dynamics, social-ecological concept than sustainability, e.g., for challenging status quo feedbacks, resilience-building of ecosystems, and ecosystem responses to urban problems, or finding systemic solutions to services. climate change. The Eskilstuna planners did not see resilience as a substitute for sustainability, but rather as an important Lessons for resilience assessments complement, and they used the resilience assessment to bring One of the benefits of testing a method in practice is that it clarifies previously ignored and complex sustainability issues up for possible areas for improvement. Based on our evaluation of an discussion, such as how food security would be affected by future initial resilience assessment process in an urban planning setting crises in energy, climate, and finances. This first workshop has led we identify four weaknesses in the Resilience Assessment to a continued project on the resilience of the food system, a Workbook and suggest ways in which they could be addressed. completely new area for municipal planning. This is similar to Identifying thresholds in practice Luleå, where a resilience assessment served to frame the “deeper, Even though the Eskilstuna planners found the concept of more structural issues” and bring them to the planning agenda threshold effects useful, they were uncertain of whether the (Wilkinson 2012a:323). identified thresholds actually existed and found the concept less Expanding crisis management and bridging to sustainable applicable to the focus areas of transport and employment. This development points to two areas of the workbook that could be improved: (1) The resilience assessment partially overlapped with crisis how to deal with uncertain thresholds, and (2) how to identify management, but had a larger scope in time and space (Fig. 5). thresholds that are not biophysical. Regarding the first point, we Resilience assessment’s focus on how to handle change and suggest that the workbook could be improved by incorporating uncertainty (Appendix 5:1) was not new to crisis management, concepts from strategic adaptive management, which identify but crisis management’s focus was mostly limited to short-term thresholds of potential concern and plans for how to regularly crises in municipal services, rather than slow changes in evaluate them (e.g., Biggs and Rogers 2003, Biggs et al. 2011, Roux ecosystems or society. The resilience assessment also introduced and Foxcroft 2011), as well as Walker and Salt (2012), which the idea of complex adaptive systems, corresponding to Walker includes a step process of how to identify thresholds with different and Westley’s (2011) finding that the idea of complex adaptive degrees of uncertainty. For the second point, we suggest that the systems with alternate regimes was rare within the disaster relief workbook should discuss this difficulty (following, e.g., Walker community. and Salt 2012) and suggest possible ways to navigate this process. For example, by viewing social thresholds in terms of what is Resilience assessment served as a bridge between crisis collectively recognized as desirable or acceptable in a community management and sustainable development (Fig. 5) because of its (Christensen and Krogman 2012), or using scenario planning to partial overlap with both of them. An example of the bridging explore system dynamics in complex systems in a broader sense function of the resilience assessment is the inclusion of both slow (Walker et al. 2002, Peterson et al. 2003b). However, how to and fast changes. System dynamics, for example, examines effectively identify thresholds in real world situations is an area interactions between slow and fast variables (Walker and Salt that needs experimentation, research, and evaluation. 2006). Currently crisis management is dealing with short-term shocks to the system, separated from strategic environmental and Including local level responses to global challenges comprehensive planning, which focuses on longer term trends. A The Eskilstuna planners wanted to align the resilience assessment resilience approach could contribute to crisis management with with their work with sustainable development, which includes attention to slow variables, corresponding to the conclusions of dealing with global challenges, such as climate change mitigation. Walker and Westley (2011). Furthermore, it confirms the findings Nevertheless, the idea of cross-scale coordination was not always of Shaw and Maythorne (2012) that a resilience discourse could apparent in the discussions during the assessment. The idea that potentially integrate short- to medium-term emergency planning transformation of smaller scale systems can be needed to foster with medium- to long-term climate adaptation. The bridging Earth System resilience exists in the resilience thinking framework function of the resilience assessment implies that it has the (Folke et al. 2010), but is not included in interfaces with practice potential of providing local authorities with common strategies (Resilience Alliance 2010, Walker and Salt 2012). We propose that to handle change across sectors, in line with Shaw and Maythorne the workbook should give advice on how to address trade-offs (2012). between resilience on different scales. We also encourage resilience assessment practitioners to allow for more time to discuss cross- The key ideas of resilience assessment made a difference to scale trade-offs, possibly iteratively over several workshops, if this practitioners is considered to be an important part of the assessment. The three key ideas of the resilience assessment made a difference to the participants in the project. For example, social-ecological Ecology and Society 20 (1): 43 http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol20/iss1/art43/ Missing guidance on design of participatory process learning processes and how to use the workbook for different The workbook does not provide guidance on how to design, goals. manage, and facilitate a participatory assessment process. This is In the Swedish context, Eskilstuna municipality is a sustainability surprising, considering that the predecessor of the workbook leader, however, the resilience assessment further advanced its (Walker et al. 2002) proposed a close involvement of stakeholders, sustainability planning and practices. We therefore expect that and the workbook itself states that perspectives of multiple resilience assessments are a potentially useful approach for other stakeholders are important for many of the exercises, e.g., in municipalities in Sweden, Europe, and elsewhere. We have identifying the main issues. A participatory assessment process is presented the first in-depth study of a resilience assessment necessary to successfully address complex issues (Wagenaar 2007, process and our results demonstrate that the resilience assessment Bai et al. 2010) where no single actor has the knowledge to do the approach is useful for planning, and we urge researchers to assessment, nor the influence to carry through the strategies continue developing the Resilience Assessment Workbook and resulting from it. A participatory process also holds the potential engage in local transdisciplinary learning processes, to create of enabling dialogue and social learning. The social-ecological multiple versions for a diverse set of audiences and purposes. inventory (Schultz et al. 2007) can help to identify actors to include in the process, but we suggest adding a discussion of process design to the workbook with different examples of Responses to this article can be read online at: processes and how they fit with different political and cultural http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/issues/responses. contexts, as well as providing links to other resources on how to php/7258 manage transdisciplinary learning processes (e.g., Scholz 2011). From learning to transformation The planners in Eskilstuna initiated the resilience assessment Acknowledgments: process because they were interested in learning how resilience could be applied in municipal planning. They also wanted to both We would like to thank all the participants from Eskilstuna safeguard current values in the face of change, and identify municipality for their courage and openness. We are especially strategies for moving Eskilstuna toward a more sustainable future. grateful for having had the opportunity to work with Lars Wiklund, These types of multiple goals are likely widely shared among those Lars-Erik Dahlin, and Kristina Birath at Eskilstuna municipality, practicing resilience assessment and the workbook would be as well as Louise Hård af Segerstad at Albaeco, in the cocreation improved if it provided more guidance on how it could be used of this resilience assessment process. We thank Jamila Haider and to meet different goals. For example, a resilience assessment Allyson Quinlan for useful comments. This paper is based upon My process focused on training people to apply the method within a Sellberg’s master thesis Resilience in Practice for Strategic municipality has quite different goals than one focused on Planning at a Local Government in Social-Ecological Resilience developing an implementation plan. Moreover, training for Sustainable Development at Stockholm University (Sellberg participants to apply the method could initiate a longer 2013). engagement with resilience. This was the case in Eskilstuna municipality, which now is continuing the exploration of LITERATURE CITED resilience with a focus on local food security. Relating to the Bai, X., R. R. J. McAllister, R. M. Beaty, and B. Taylor. 2010. suggestion above on process designs in different contexts, we Urban policy and governance in a global environment: complex suggest that the workbook also advise how the assessment process systems, scale mismatches and public participation. Current can be designed for different purposes, e.g., to quickly scan local Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 2:129-135. http://dx.doi. resilience, conduct an in-depth assessment, or develop org/10.1016/j.cosust.2010.05.008 transformation strategies, as well as how these different steps could build on each other in a bigger process. 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Cambridge University Press, New Washington, D.C., USA. http://dx.doi.org/10.5822/978-1-61091-231-0 York, New York, USA. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511921520 Walker, B., and F. Westley. 2011. Perspectives on resilience to Schulman, M., and K. Böhme. 2000. New dynamics in a disasters across sectors and cultures. Ecology and Society 16(2): municipal-based planning system: spatial planning in Sweden. 4. [online] URL: http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol16/iss2/ Built Environment 26(1):72-81. art4/ Schultz, L., C. Folke, and P. Olsson. 2007. Enhancing ecosystem Wilkinson, C. 2012a. Urban resilience: what does it mean in management through social-ecological inventories: lessons from planning practice? Planning Theory and Practice 13(2):319-324. Kristianstads Vattenrike, Sweden. Environmental Conservation 34 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14649357.2012.677124 (02):140-152. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0376892907003876 Wilkinson, C. 2012b. Social-ecological resilience: insights and Sellberg, M. 2013. Resilience in practice for strategic planning at issues for planning theory. Planning Theory 11(2):148-169. http:// a local government. Thesis. Stockholm University, Stockholm, dx.doi.org/10.1177/1473095211426274 Sweden. Wilkinson, C. 2012c. Social-ecological resilience and planning: an Shaw, K. 2012. “Reframing” resilience: challenges for planning interdisciplinary exploration. Dissertation. Stockholm University, theory and practice. Planning Theory and Practice 13(2):308-312. Stockholm, Sweden. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14649357.2012.677124 Wilkinson, C., L. Porter, and J. Colding. 2010. Metropolitan Shaw, K., and L. Maythorne. 2012. Managing for local resilience: planning and resilience thinking: a practitioner’s perspective. towards a strategic approach. Public Policy and Administration 28 Critical Planning 17:25-39. (1):43-65. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0952076711432578 Wilkinson, C., and H. Wagenaar. 2012. Enacting resilience: a Stockholm Resilience Centre. 2014. What is resilience? An performative account of governing for urban resilience. Paper IV introduction to social-ecological research. Stockholm Resilience in C. Wilkinson, editor. Social-ecological resilience and planning: Centre, Stockholm, Sweden. [online] URL: http://www. an interdisciplinary exploration. Dissertation. Stockholm stockholmresilience.org/download/18.10119fc11455d3c557d6d2­ University, Stockholm, Sweden. 1/1398172490555/SU_SRC_whatisresilience_sidaApril2014.pdf World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), and UN Swedish Parliament. 2006. Lag (2006:544) om kommuners och Department of Public Information. 2003. Johannesburg landstings åtgärder inför och vid extraordinära händelser i fredstid declaration on sustainable development and plan of implementation och höjd beredskap. Swedish Parliament, Stockholm, Sweden. of the World Summit on Sustainable Development: the final text of agreements negotiated by governments at the World Summit on United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR). Sustainable Development, 26 August-4 September 2002, 2007. Hyogo framework for action 2005-2015: building the Johannesburg, South Africa. United Nations Department of Public Information, New York, New York, USA. Appendix 1. Official municipal documents Here, we present a list of the official municipal documents that we reviewed in this study. See Sellberg (2013) for a more detailed description of the document review. Table A1.1. List of official documents of Eskilstuna municipality reviewed in this study. Document Year Explanation Environmental policy 2002 Steering document. Ambitions and goals for the municipal organization, as well as the geographical area. Policy for a sustainable 2002 Steering document with both binding and development – Action program guiding sections. An umbrella document that sets with environmental and public the direction of many other more narrow-scoped health targets plans. Local Agenda 21 program. Comprehensive plan 2005 Spatial plan that sets the direction for long-term land and water usages and steers detailed physical planning. Mandatory by Swedish law. In the process of being replaced by a new plan in Extended comprehensive plan for 2005 Addition to the comprehensive plan for a a specific area: “Stadsbygden” specific area. Extended comprehensive plan for 2005 Addition to the comprehensive plan for a a specific area: “Mälarstranden” specific area. Energy plan 2006 Steering document, a sector plan. Now replaced by the Climate plan. Water plan 2006 Steering document, a sector plan. Based on the EU framework directive on water. Plan of green areas in cities 2006 Elaboration of the comprehensive plan and functions as a basis for detailed physical planning. Nature conservation plan 2006 Steering document, a sector plan. Functions as a basis for detailed physical planning. Plan for handling of residue 2007 Steering document, the municipal waste material management plan. Mandatory by Swedish law. Local area work 2007 Report and evaluation of the project for working with local influence, participation, employment and integration in certain chosen areas. Ecological footprint 2010 Analysis of external consultant. Annual report 2011 Report on the municipality’s achievements regarding goals of sustainable development and efficiency in the organization. Climate plan 2012 Steering document, a sector plan, and replacing the Energy plan. Traffic plan – strategy and action 2012 Steering document, a sector plan. Two separate program documents, with the overall strategy and concrete actions, respectively. Guide to the local food 2012 Information material from the municipality. How we work with climate and 2012 Information material from the municipality. environment in Eskilstuna municipality Crisis management plan for 2012 Steering document for part of the crisis extraordinary or severe events in management work in the municipality, excluding peace times and during increased e.g. preventive work. preparedness 2012–2015 Action plan for contaminated 2012 Steering document, a sector plan. Still a draft. areas - draft Appendix 2. Eskilstuna’s initial resilience assessment Here we present a more detailed description of Eskilstuna’s initial resilience assessment. In the end of this project they decided to continue with a deepened resilience assessment focusing on food, but it has not been part of this study. In 2011, two strategic environmental planners at the municipality, Lars Wiklund and Lars- Erik Dahlin, contacted the Stockholm Resilience Centre to initiate a collaboration. They presented the idea to one of the Municipal Commissioners and later, the municipal council gave their approval. Performing a resilience assessment was seen as a new approach to the municipality’s work with sustainable development. The aim of the project, as expressed by the planners, was that it would lead to new, resilience-building strategies in the long-term planning of the municipality. The resilience assessment process included five planning meetings, a two-day workshop, and a report, documenting the workshop (Table A2.1). The first planning meeting was in August 2011 and the final report was finalized in September 2013. During the planning process, Eskilstuna municipality was also used as a case during a three-day course on resilience assessments at the Stockholm Resilience Centre (Table A2.1). Both Lars Wiklund and Lars- Erik Dahlin took part in the course, which was used as a pilot study to test our ideas about the scope of the assessment. The core planning team included the two strategic environmental planners, Lars Wiklund and Lars-Erik Dahlin, Cathy Wilkinson and My Sellberg from Stockholm Resilience Centre, and Louise Hård af Segerstad, research communicator at Albaeco. Cathy Wilkinson was the project manager. For the initiators, this project was a first step, wherefore they did not invite any external actors. About 40 civil servants and politicians were invited to the workshop from all the different departments and companies of the municipality. In the end, 23 people participated and only one was a politician. Afterwards, they evaluated the project to see if they would take it further and involve more different stakeholders. During the planning process, the scope of the resilience assessment was determined and the workshop was planned more in detail. The strategic environmental planners especially requested the resilience assessment to target the resilience of four areas of the municipality (water supply, food supply, employment and transports) to the threats of global financial crises, climate change and energy crises (Fig. 3). They also requested an exploration of how the planetary boundaries (Rockström et al. 2009) would impact the focal systems. Furthermore they wanted the economic, social and environmental dimensions to be taken into account when resilience of the focus areas was being assessed (“So what” in Fig. 3). The project manager laid out the overall structure of the resilience assessment (Fig. 3): “resilience of what” and “to what”, drawing on section 1.1–1.3 in the workbook, “so what”, which looked at impacts of the threats, and “now what”, which explored different strategies for resilience and implications for governance. “So what” and “now what” was based on Paul Ryan’s experience as an expert practitioner on resilience assessments. In this sense, this resilience assessment was based on the Resilience Assessment Workbook (Resilience Alliance 2010), but it was also influenced by the resilience work in Luleå municipality (Wilkinson 2012a), the Arctic Resilience Assessment (Cathy Wilkinson, personal communication, February 2013), and Paul Ryan’s work. The workshop consisted of a mix of presentations, e.g. on resilience thinking, resilience assessments, ecosystem services and planetary boundaries, and group work (workshop agenda in Appendix 4 in Sellberg 2013). The participants were divided into four working groups, one for each focus area, and went through four different exercises to increase the understanding of the focal systems, potential impacts of large-scale threats and to spark ideas on measures: 1. Historical timeline exercise: drawing on section 1.4 in the workbook, but doing parallel timelines for each focus area in different colors (in the foreground of Fig. 4). The exercise was followed by a discussion on possible management eras. 2. Discussion of system dynamics: using the figure of regime shifts in Bellwood et al. (2004) as a metaphor to discuss their focal systems as dynamic systems with possible alternate stable states. This exploration related to section 2.2–2.3 in the workbook. 3. Impacts of crises: using a matrix with each of the specific threats to brainstorm possible consequences for the focal area in social, economic and ecological dimensions. 4. Strategies for resilience: using a list of strategies for general resilience (Appendix 1 in Sellberg 2013), developed by Cathy Wilkinson and based on Wilkinson (2012b), to identify existing and future measures for each strategy related to their focal system. This list incorporates the attributes of general resilience in section 3.3 in the workbook, as well as the stewardship strategies in section 5.2. Table A2.1. Activities and participants of the Eskilstuna’s initial resilience assessment Time Activity Participants † ‡ Aug 2011 Initial meeting with SRC and SEI Lars Wiklund, Lars-Erik Dahlin, researchers. Louise Hård af Segerstad (Albaeco), Cathy Wilkinson (SRC), two researchers from SEI and SRC Feb 2012 Planning meeting in Eskilstuna. Lars Wiklund, Lars-Erik Dahlin, Cathy Wilkinson May 2012 PhD-course about the resilience Lars Wiklund, Lars-Erik Dahlin, assessment at SRC, using Eskilstuna Cathy Wilkinson, Louise Hård af as a case. Segerstad, My Sellberg (SRC), course participants Sep 2012 Planning meeting at the SRC: the Lars Wiklund, Lars-Erik Dahlin, Cathy focus areas were determined. Wilkinson, Louise Hård af Segerstad, My Sellberg Oct 2012 Planning meeting in Eskilstuna: 1) Lars Wiklund, Lars-Erik Dahlin the specific threats were determined, Cathy Wilkinson, Louise Hård af 2) a rough plan of the different Segerstad, My Sellberg, Head of the workshop components, and 3) Strategic Environmental Department, establishment of the project so far two other planners with the head of the Strategic Environmental Department, as well as two other planners. Feb 2013 Planning meeting in Eskilstuna: Lars Wiklund, Lars-Erik Dahlin detailed workshop planning. Louise Hård af Segerstad, My Sellberg Feb 2013 2-day workshop in Eskilstuna: Lars Wiklund, Lars-Erik Dahlin education in resilience thinking and Cathy Wilkinson, Louise Hård af group work. Segerstad, My Sellberg, 21 other participants (civil servants + 1 local politician) Sep 2013 Report with workshop Louise Hård af Segerstad, Cathy documentation and reflections on the Wilkinson, My Sellberg project † Stockholm Resilience Centre ‡ Stockholm Environmental Institute Appendix 3. Semistructured interviews In this section, we describe how we conducted the interviews in this study. The interviews were based on Kvale and Brinkmann (2009), as well as Wagenaar (2011). They were semistructured, meaning that they followed an interview guide with different topics, but remained flexible for unplanned questions (Kvale and Brinkmann 2009:130). The topics usually started with a broad question, followed by suggestions on more specific follow-up questions (see examples below). Sometimes the interviewees answered many questions at once, but then the interview schedule was used to ensure that all relevant topics had been discussed. During the interviews, we were concerned both with building a relationship with the interviewees and receiving high quality interview data, for example by getting detailed and spontaneous descriptions by the interviewees (Kvale and Brinkmann 2009, Wagenaar 2011). Six informants were interviewed and three of them twice, before and after the workshop. These were the two initiating planners and the crisis manager. The reason was to gather more information on the background of the project, the current work with sustainable development and crisis management, as well as their expectations on the resilience assessment. In total, we conducted nine interviews, seven face-to-face of approximately 1–1,5 hours each, and two telephone interviews of approximately 15–30 minutes each while taking notes. The telephone interviews were with the Municipal Commissioner involved in initiating the project, and a spatial planner working in the comprehensive planning process. The interview schedule was adapted to fit the specific interview, depending on the interviewee’s position and expected knowledge, where we were in the resilience assessment process, and where we were in the research process. The last six interviews, conducted shortly after the workshop, were used specifically to test earlier interpretations and clarify questions that had emerged earlier in the project. All the face-to-face interviews were recorded and transcribed. Afterwards, the interviewees had the possibility to comment on the transcriptions. While reading through the transcriptions (including the transcription of the reflection session of the workshop) and notes, we wrote short memos between the quotes as a part of a preliminary analysis, or sense making, of the findings. Examples of interview questions These are examples of the interview questions, translated from Swedish. Questions 1–5 were used in interviews with the strategic environmental planners before the workshop (in October 2012), and 6–8 in interviews after the workshop (in February 2013). 1. Can you tell me the story of how you decided to work with resilience? a. When did you hear about it the first time? b. How did it happen that you sent the first e-mail to SRC? c. What was the catalyzer? d. Follow-up questions: Who did what? When? What happened before? What happened after? 2. What are your expectations of the resilience assessment? a. Expectations on the workshop and how it could influence the work in the future. b. Expectations on how resilience could be used to market Eskilstuna municipality. c. Worries before the workshop? What are the risks? d. What is it in the resilience thinking that you find especially interesting? e. Personal professional goals, and if the resilience assessment could assist you in reaching them. 3. How do you think resilience relates to sustainable development? a. Were you there when sustainable development entered the municipality’s agenda? b. What do you think sustainable development has contributed to the planning work? Examples (positive and negative) of how it has affected your work. c. Do you think sustainable development has been watered down and is that why resilience is interesting? d. What do you relate to a “sustainable municipality”? e. What do you relate to a “resilient municipality”? f. What differs between a sustainable and a resilient municipality? 4. Is there any relation to the municipality’s crisis management work? a. How do you think they are connected? 5. Personal background, education and interests, etc. (if I would like to ask more about it). 6. What is it that is special about resilience? What do you think it adds to what you are already doing in the municipality? a. How does it relate to the municipality’s work with sustainable development? b. How does it relate to the municipality’s work with crisis management? 7. What are the challenges with using resilience thinking and doing a resilience assessment? 8. What potential has the resilience assessment in changing current municipal planning and in what way could it change/in what direction? Appendix 4. Evaluation of the resilience assessment workshop This evaluation form was given to the participants of the resilience assessment workshop in Eskilstuna, in February 2013. Questions are translated from Swedish. However, the actual form also included the aim of the evaluation and e.g. contact details of the researchers. 1) Circle the number that best corresponds to your knowledge of resilience before this workshop (1=did not know the concept at all, 5=thorough understanding of the concept). 1 2 3 4 5 2a) Has the workshop been organized in a good way? ☐ Yes ☐ Partly ☐ No 2b) What could have been improved? 3a) Have the presentations had an appropriate level of difficulty? ☐ Yes ☐ Partly ☐ No 3b) Was there some part that was more difficult to understand? 4a) What new insights have you gained from the workshop? 4b) In what ways could they be useful in your daily work? 5) What is new with the resilience assessment, compared to the current municipal planning? 6) Is there some part of the resilience assessment that is not suitable for usage in a municipality, or that is redundant? 7) Could the resilience assessment influence the coming municipal planning, e.g. regarding the work with sustainable development or crisis management? In that case, in what way? 8a) Is it important for the municipality to continue to work with resilience? ☐ Yes ☐ No ☐ Don’t know 8b) What other focus areas and threats do you think are important? 8c) Would you like to be a part of a continuation of the project? ☐ Yes ☐ No ☐ Maybe ☐ Don’t know Other comments: Appendix 5. Contributions of the resilience assessment to municipal planning This table presents emergent themes of how the resilience assessment contributed to municipal planning and management at Eskilstuna municipality. Each theme is presented with examples from the interviews, observations and the survey to the workshop participants. Note that the themes are not disconnected, but rather influence each other in many ways. In the results section, these themes are clustered into three main categories of contributions. See also Sellberg (2013) for a more detailed description of the data analysis. (SEP=strategic environmental planner, SD=sustainable development.) Table A5.1. Contributions of the resilience assessment in Eskilstuna to municipal planning, presented with examples. Themes: Examples: 1. Giving a − The resilience assessment focuses more on what could happen, than on the mindset that normal state. (Survey) assumes − The workshop was a systematic way of looking at: “if it all goes bad, what change, surprise happens then?” Trying to prevent unwanted surprises, instead of just and uncertainty planning towards certain goals. The method can assess if the plans would function even if the future deviates from the plans. (Reflection round of the workshop) 2. Giving a − 9 of 20 people in the survey wrote that thinking of thresholds was dynamic something new. perspective on − Identifying thresholds is new to comprehensive planning. (Interview spatial systems and planner) change − Resilience thinking adds a dynamic view of systems to e.g. Environmental Impact Assessment of the comprehensive plan. (Survey) − Resilience thinking highlighted both shocks and slow trends, which are less visible, but could be “ticking time-bombs”. (Interviews with SEPs) − Historical discussion and discussion about system dynamics brought up slow factors that influence the state of a system, e.g. industrial culture and education levels in the employment group. (Observation of workshop) 3. Giving a − The workshop showed interconnections between the focal systems, e.g. broader systems water and food, and transports and food. It also showed connections across perspective on scales to the global threats and e.g. the food supply’s dependence on the the municipality global system. (Observation of workshop) and the municipal − The focus of the workshop was more on the geographical area of the organization municipality, rather than on the municipal services. (E.g. interview crisis manager) Themes: Examples: − The resilience assessment dealt with the underlying events, even though they might not have a direct effect on municipal services, rather than the secondary consequences of those events. (Interview crisis manager) − The workshop and a systems approach facilitated understanding of interactions and mutual dependencies between different parts of the municipality, and the interconnectedness of issues. This invites to cooperation, since we cannot solve an issue by ourselves, and motivates working together, towards common goals, or away from undesired trajectories. (Interviews SEP1, SEP3 and crisis manager) 4. Drawing − Resilience thinking gives attention to the ecological dimension and the attention to importance of biodiversity. But, it frames this as a critical part of peoples’ social- welfare, by using concepts such as ecosystem services. (Interviews SEP1 ecological and SEP2) integration − The workshop was used to frame both ecological and social issues of concern, e.g. unemployment. (Observations of process) − Working with a broad, and also historical, perspective indirectly leads to more understanding of our ecological dependence, since then the context of our current situation becomes clearer. (Interview SEP2) − Resilience thinking increases our understanding of how parts of the system interact, both in nature, but also between people, and help us prioritize what is important and not. (Interview SEP2) 5. Facilitating − ”Resilience is not primarily an environmental tool, but a tool for man's an integrated ability to survive and adapt to have a good life” (Survey). Looking for perspective consequences of global crises on economic and social systems was seen as very important too (Interviews SEPs). − It is difficult to avoid a broader discussion at a resilience assessment and a holistic perspective comes more automatically. (Interview SEP2) − Resilience has a broader scope than comprehensive planning, which focuses on land use. (Interview spatial planner) − Resilience thinking provides planners with concepts and models that connect different areas, which means better possibilities to find solutions with positive synergy effects. (Interview SEP2) − The workshop was training in thinking every part of SD (survey) and it lifted holistic thinking within SD because of discussing all the dimensions in an integrated manor (Interview SEP1). Themes: Examples: 6. Framing a − A more holistic way of thinking, showing interconnections between discussion of different parts, leads to less risk of future threats falling in between planning for responsibilities in the municipality. (Interview SEP1) long-term − It was a new perspective for SD to look at focus areas in relation to long- (global) threats with many term threats. (Survey and reflection session of workshop) uncertainties − The workshop enabled a rare occasion to discuss these issues together and zoom out on the problem situation. (Interview Municipal Commissioner) − System dynamics helps visualizing the threats and their long-term consequences to society, as well as society’s vulnerabilities. (E.g. Interview SEP3) − Threshold effects frame surprise and need to discuss worst-case scenarios and take drastic effects of crisis into account. Potential irreversibility of threshold effects framed a sense of urgency, especially for ecological changes (Interview SEP1). As one of the participants put it: “the ecological ball, it's on its way over” (Reflection session of workshop). 7. Providing a − System dynamics provided a common language to look at change in a new, common more dynamic way and “strategies for resilience” was a new way of language and a systematizing strategies and provided a new and common language to talk common about different strategies. Part of the thinking is there already, but not with tool/method those labels. (Observations and interview crisis manager) − A broad concept that bridged different sectors makes it possible to engage people from many different perspectives. (Interview SEP3) − Talk on ecosystem services also gave new common concepts. (Observation of workshop and reflection session) − Strengthened the thinking of the municipality as a group with a shared goal by providing a common tool/method, which demands working across sectors (Reflection session of workshop), and could be applicable on all the different departments of the municipality (Interview crisis manager). − Resilience thinking provides a common language and mindset that could facilitate the discussion about sustainability and avoiding it to be watered down. (Interview SEP2) 8. Helping to − The workshop was a free zone where you could think more wildly and explore freely, e.g. about consequences of climate change, or worst-case scenarios consequences of in general (Interview with SEP1). It also highlighted uncertainties crisis in the regarding their consequences (Observation of workshop). system − Historical discussion on past crises (e.g. oil crisis in the 70’s) gave understanding of the current system’s response to crisis. (Observation of workshop) − The exercise on consequences of threats gave a deeper exploration of potential consequences, both positive and negative and in different Themes: Examples: dimensions (social, ecological and economical) and generated new discussions on e.g. the impact of climate change on employment. (Observation of workshop and reflection session) − Discussion on system dynamics framed need to identify risks of unwanted threshold effects in society. (Survey and reflection session) − The resilience assessment is a systematic identification of vulnerabilities (survey) and a tool to think more long-term regarding the ecological dimension (reflection session of workshop), e.g. thinking about how ecosystem services would be impacted by crises (Observation of workshop). 9. Highlighting − Going through “strategies for resilience” meant identifying strategies with certain few existing actions, e.g. learning from crises and adaptive management, strategies and identifying strategies that were only informal, e.g. learning from crises, social-ecological memory and local knowledge. (Workshop output) − “Strategies for resilience” highlighted new strategies to existing crisis management, e.g. transformability and nurturing diversity, especially ecological diversity. (Interview crisis manager) − Resilience thinking highlighted strategies of e.g. higher self-sufficiency and increasing local food production, better capacity to cope with (dramatic) change, more strategic foresight and better prevention of crisis, and planning to be able to deal with different scenarios. (Interviews SEPs) 10. One way of − The sustainability concept is like an umbrella and resilience is a tool, or an operationalizing approach within that. (E.g. interviews SEPs) SD − You give a more concrete content to SD by going through the method with its different steps, ending in strategies. (Interview SEP1) The workshop meant working through it in more detail to explore what SD could mean. − Resilience thinking clarifies the meaning of SD, fills the SD concept with content, making it more comprehensible. (Interview SEP2) − One way of actually trying to translate SD without jumping down into the sector plans. (Interview SEP2) − The resilience assessment does not bring any new goals and does not decide what is desirable, but it could be used when planning to reach certain strategic goals in the municipality. (Observations and interview SEP3) 11. Clarifying a − The resilience assessment, and thinking of alternate regimes, facilitated a common goal clarifying discussion about the desired state of the focal system, as well as picture the undesired. This facilitates the generation of a common, and clarified, long-term goal picture. (Observations of workshop and interview SEP3, SEP1) − Resilience thinking is one out of several things that would facilitate Themes: Examples: development of a vision of a more sustainable society. It might help us to see what the holistic picture could look like and how we should live within planetary boundaries. (Interview SEP1, SEP3) − The ideal of the resilient society is more about being resistant to change and being able to respond to changes rapidly if needed. (Interview SEP3) − A common knowledge/idea of which the most important thresholds are that we really should not pass, helps formulate the common picture of the goal, since then we have to stop before the thresholds. (Interview SEP3) 12. Helping to − A model/tool for analyzing and working with sustainability. (Survey) assess current − The workshop highlighted interconnections between focus areas, e.g. when work of the mapping consequences of threats connected to the focus area. This municipality connected societal functions into a more holistic assessment. (Interview relative to their SD goals SEP2) − Getting a more holistic picture of the work of the municipality shows if some aspect is missing relative to the SD goals, and what type of threat that implies. A resilience assessment could be a tool to keep holistic perspective in planning when it comes to concrete decision-making, complementing e.g. Environmental Impact Assessments. (Interview SEP2) − “Strategies of resilience” was used as a framework to assess existing actions and identify prioritized areas for future actions. (Observation of workshop) − Resilience thinking could help assessing how far the municipality has reached relative to their SD goals, by assessing current measures and if they are enough. The focus is more on long-term goals, conditions for sustainability and planetary boundaries, than optimization of current processes. (Interview SEP2) 13. Providing − Understanding how different parts cooperate and interact in e.g. social- new arguments ecological systems might also generate recognition of investments in for taking measures that previously were seen as luxury, e.g. new investments in action ecosystems to be able to fix other problems, since they support each other. (Interview SEP2) − (Scientifically) identified thresholds would be important basis for decision- making. If development is seen as steps with thresholds and alternate regimes, rather than linear trends that we could adapt to, that would be a strong argument for investing more resources in avoiding undesired states. Motivating measures that previously were seen as luxury. (Interview SEP1) − System dynamics could also highlight slow negative trends that could be ticking time bombs, such as a growing discontent because of segregation Themes: Examples: and eutrophication, providing stronger basis for taking action. (Interviews SEPs) − The image of the “resilient city” makes it more difficult to argue for Business-as-Usual. (Interview SEP3) 14. Facilitating − The workshop was partly about daring to think more freely, letting go of transformation margins of expenditure, etc. Thinking more broadly than your own role, and innovation and about how we must act in a wider perspective. (Interview spatial planner) − Resilience thinking is a way of coping that bridges over to a more sustainable society, challenging old systems and old way of thinking and old paradigm of more extrinsic values that did not succeed to generate any real solutions anymore. The method could open up to slowly transitioning to a more sustainable society. (Interview SEP2) − System dynamics framed the transformation of the transport system in a new way, and subsequently showed some of the obstacles to transformation. (Observation of workshop)

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Published: Jan 1, 2015

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