Just Resilience? Evaluating Equity and Justice in a Sample of 100 Resilient Cities Plans
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Resilience has become an increasingly prominent discourse within urban planning to address the sustainability challenges faced by many urban areas. Resilience offers a framework to holistically approach environmental, economic, and social issues simultaneously, thus appealing to a wide range of actors. The language of resilience largely corresponds to risk reduction and as such can be used to address the many stresses and shocks within a city. This thesis explores how resilience can be used as an opportunity to redress social inequities and injustices. I examine the plans of the cities in the United States involved in the 100 Resilient Cities network. I explore the discourses of procedural, social, geographic, and economic equity within these resilience plans. I examine who may benefit from the actions within these plans, focusing on whether vulnerable and disadvantaged populations are considered. I also outline the implementation structure of the plans in terms of project leads, funding, timelines, and the potential impact these actions may have in addressing inequalities. Using critical discourse analysis, I examine how these resilience plans discuss social justice, power, and systemic inequality. These plans largely accept resilience as a universally beneficial concept. While the plans do recognize differences in vulnerability, action is lacking in remedying the long-standing inequities and injustices that have produced this vulnerability. While these plans have gone further to address inequities than the sustainability, disaster management, and climate change literature discuss, resilience continues to be framed as a return to an improved normal and not as an opportunity for transformative change. Each city must consider procedural and substantive justice for resilience planning to produce this transformative change.
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Cheryl Tansony (2018). Just Resilience? Evaluating Equity and Justice in a Sample of 100 Resilient Cities Plans. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/13641