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RISE-UP: Resilience in Urban Planning for Climate Uncertainty - Empirical insights and theoretical reflections from case studies in Amsterdam and Mumbai


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Climate change is one of the main drivers of uncertainty for long-term urban planning. While only a few papers systematically address long-term climate uncertainties in planning theory, urban resilience theory presents principles to manage this uncertainty. However, urban resilience theory largely focuses on individual urban systems rather than complex urban networks. Further, most planning and resilience theory originates from the Global North and is unsuitable for capturing the Global South’s dynamics. This study makes headway toward a theory for long-term urban planning under climate uncertainty. We argue that long-term urban planning can benefit from theories on urban resilience and approaches to urban planning under uncertainty. We use a two-step qualitative research approach to (1) Propose a unified conceptual framework connecting Urban ResiliencePrinciples, Approaches to Urban Planning under Uncertainty and Urban Systems; and (2) Use the framework to assess climate-related planning responses in two case studies. To capture the dissimilarities between the Global North (GN) and Global South (GS), we use contrasting case studies: Amsterdam (GN) and Mumbai (GS). This exploratory multi-case theory-building approach helps build the empirical foundations for long-term urban planning strategies across contexts. We conclude with four propositions to inform a theory on long-term urban planning under climate uncertainty.
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Available online 24 July 2023
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RISE-UP: Resilience in urban planning for climate uncertainty-empirical
insights and theoretical reections from case studies in Amsterdam
and Mumbai
Supriya Krishnan
, Nazli Yonca Aydin , Tina Comes
Resilience Lab, Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management (Room B1.190), TU Delft, Building 31, Jaffalaan 5, 2628BX, The Netherlands
Urban resilience
Long-term urban planning
Qualitative research
Case study
Climate change is one of the main drivers of uncertainty in urban planning, but only a few studies systematically
address these uncertainties, especially in the long term. Urban resilience theory presents principles to manage
uncertainty but largely focuses on individual urban systems rather than complex interdependent dynamics.
Further, most planning and resilience theory originates from the Global North and is unsuitable for capturing the
dynamics of the Global South. This study uses an exploratory multi-case analysis towards developing an
enhanced understanding of urban planning for climate uncertainty. We argue that long-term urban planning for
climate uncertainty can benet from systematically integrating resilience principles. We use a two-step quali-
tative research approach: (1) To propose a conceptual framework connecting urban resilience principles, ap-
proaches to urban planning under uncertainty and planning responses in urban systems. (2) To use the
conceptual framework to analyse climate-related planning responses in two contrasting case studies in the Global
North (GN) and Global South (GS) (Amsterdam and Mumbai). We conclude with four propositions towards an
enhanced understanding of urban planning for climate uncertainty by drawing upon the empirical insights from
the two case studies.
1. Introduction
The complexities and uncertainties associated with climate change
pose by far the greatest challenges that planners have ever been
asked to handle.
(Susskind, 2010)
In its recent chapter on ‘Urban Areas, the Intergovernmental Panel
on Climate Change (IPCC) highlighted the importance of promoting the
resilience of urban areas as a central policy consideration (Lwasa et al.,
2022). Especially for long-term urban planning, climate change brings
signicant uncertainty compounded by environmental, societal, and
economic drivers. To manage uncertainties, urban resilience theory
presents several principles to guide appropriate planning responses
(Dhar & Khirfan, 2017; Jabareen, 2013; Kim & Lim, 2016; Wardekker,
2018). Despite integrating these principles, planning responses remain
largely incremental and emphasize bouncing back (Meerow & Stults,
2016; Mu˜
noz-Erickson et al., 2021). They focus on individual urban
systems (buildings, open spaces, and highways) for a single future
scenario (Folke et al., 2010; Kates et al., 2012; Shari et al., 2017).
The need to navigate uncertainty has also led to the emergence of
approaches such as decision-making under deep uncertainty (Marchau
et al., 2019), transition management (Frantzeskaki et al., 2018), agile
planning, storylines approach (Shepherd et al., 2018), and the adaptive-
modeling-managerial perspective in infrastructure planning (Dominguez
et al., 2011). While these approaches advocate planning for multiple
futures, they do not see a wide application in urban planning because
they usually work with probabilistic or xed futures. This is unsuitable
for urban systems with multiple spatiotemporal dynamics and path de-
pendencies that must be accounted for in a planning timeframe (Hayes
et al., 2019).
Urban planning under climate uncertainty requires expanding
existing planning approaches and theories to systematically modulate
responses based on disruptions or new insights. While the literature on
resilience and uncertainty individually offer principles and approaches
to manage disruptions, they have drawbacks that impede their appli-
cation in long-term urban planning. Combining the eld of urban
planning with theories on urban resilience and urban planning under
* Corresponding author.
E-mail addresses: (S. Krishnan), (N.Y. Aydin), (T. Comes).
Contents lists available at ScienceDirect
journal homepage:
Received 8 March 2022; Received in revised form 16 June 2023; Accepted 28 June 2023
Cities 141 (2023) 104464
uncertainty may, therefore, have great potential.
In this study, we take the rst steps towards an enhanced under-
standing of urban planning for climate uncertainty. The study is posi-
tioned in the early stages of urban planning, where strategic decisions
are made in multiple urban systems. It adopts a rigorous methodology
where a conceptual framework that ties together resilience and planning
under uncertainty are systematically connected to planning responses.
We use this framework as a basis for empirical research in using a
combination of Multi-Case analysis (Eisenhardt, 2021) and Systematic
Combining (Dubois & Gadde, 2002).
The paper is structured as follows: First, we examine academic
literature to develop our conceptual framework connecting the litera-
ture on resilience and planning under uncertainty, and exploring how
they can together determine planning responses (Section 2.3). Second,
we use the conceptual framework (Fig. 2) as the basis to analyse two
case studies from the Global North (GN - Metropolitan Region of
Amsterdam (MRA)) and Global South (GS - Mumbai Metropolitan Re-
gion (MMR)) (Section 3). The cases are selected to reect the inherent
variability in planning processes in the GN and GS and not to generalize
ndings for the GN and GS.
Using ofcial planning documents and extensive semi-structured
interviews, we assess to what extent the cases integrate resilience and
address approaches for planning under uncertainty when proposing
climate-related planning responses (Section 4).
Third, we formulate four propositions using our empirical ndings to
reect on the current gaps in urban planning for climate uncertainty.
Each proposition is substantiated using comparative insights from the
two cases, such as narrative accounts and structural ndings that char-
acterize the planning process. We use the insights to make the rst steps
towards an enhanced understanding of urban planning for climate un-
certainty (Section 5).
2. Background
In this section, we provide the theoretical background for our work.
First, we analyse academic literature on urban resilience, focusing on
planning frameworks that provide guiding knowledge for implementa-
tion (Section 2.1). Second, we discuss approaches for urban planning
under uncertainty (Section 2.2). Although closely connected, there is no
denitive theory connecting urban resilience and urban planning under
uncertainty. The following section delves into both theories to highlight
gaps and consolidate learning from the two streams into a conceptual
framework for urban planning for climate uncertainty that forms the
basis for analyzing the case studies. Table 1 presents a list of terminology
and denitions used in this study.
2.1. Urban resilience principles
Integrating resilience into urban planning requires planners to
identify disturbances such as precipitation and heatwaves (resilience to
what?) that a region may face and propose planning responses to ensure
that urban systems (resilience of what?) remain in a functional state
(Ahern, 2011).
To identify urban resilience principles, we broadly assessed urban
Table 1
Denitions of key terminology used in this study.
Concept Denition
Urban Resilience Urban resilience is the ability of an urban system to maintain or rapidly return to desired functions in the face of shocks or stresses(Meerow et al., 2016).
Urban Resilience
They are specic mechanisms and behaviors that make an urban system/s resilient such as exibility, multifunctionality, etc. (Wardekker, 2018).
Planning Response In the context of resilience, Planning Responses refer to the full range of measures or initiatives undertaken to prepare, absorb, recover, and adapt to
climate-related disruptions (Ataman & Tuncer, 2022; Linkov et al., 2014; Ribeiro & Gonçalves, 2019). This could target single or multiple urban systems
and may include measures such as preserving ecological zones, improving engineering standards, introducing new urban functions, etc.
Conceptual Framework A structure that highlights and links key concepts from literature and their application area (Ravitch & Riggan, 2016). In this study, we connect Urban
Resilience Principles, Approaches to Urban Planning under Uncertainty and Planning Responses.
Fig. 1. A selection of recurring Resilience Principles from academic literature that is widely applied through certain Planning Responses in the urban environment. A
principle can inform multiple planning responses, and a response can be impacted by more than one principle.
S. Krishnan et al.
Cities 141 (2023) 104464
resilience frameworks in academic literature in the context of climate
change. We conducted a systematic search in the online database Scopus
using the terms:
We expanded the search string to include urban climate adaptation,
sometimes used interchangeably with urban resilience. From the 1460
results, we screened the titles and abstracts to select 51 papers that
explicitly discuss the implementation of resilience in urban planning.
We then conducted a detailed consolidated review of 20 papers focusing
on urban resilience ‘planning frameworks. These papers specify Resil-
ience Principles, which provide guiding knowledge that planners can
implement through design and planning responses. The nal list of pa-
pers we analyzed and the resilience principles they mention are in
(Appendix B).
Fig. 1 presents a selection of recurring Resilience Principles from the
literature that is widely applied through certain Planning Responses in
the urban environment.
They include Adaptivity, Buffer, Connectivity, Diversity, Flexibility,
Modularity, Multifunctionality, Multiscalarity, Redundancy, Robust-
ness, and Self-organization (Appendix B). While there is no single
accepted set of principles, several frameworks use principles under
different conceptual denominators to inform similar planning responses
(Ribeiro & Gonçalves, 2019). Fig. 1 therefore also highlights how the
resilience principles can be applied through common Planning Re-
sponses, also derived from literature. In Section 2.1, we elaborate on the
principles and later assess their relation to concrete planning responses
in our two case studies 3.3.
Principle 1 Adaptivity, involves adjusting urban systems to changes
using responses such as adaptive renewal, reuse, and
rezoning (Dominguez et al., 2011; Giordano, 2012; Spaans
& Waterhout, 2017).
Principle 2 Buffer, absorbs disturbances by creating reserve capacities
(Godschalk, 2003; Spaans & Waterhout, 2017; Wardekker
et al., 2010). Greening is a popular strategy to improve the
latent potential of urban spaces to absorb excess rainfall
(Kim & Lim, 2016) through responses such as water reten-
tion parks in low-lying regions and compartmentalizing re-
gions using water channels.
Principle 3 Redundancy, keeps systems operational during crises by of-
fering functional alternatives (Godschalk, 2003; Spaans &
Waterhout, 2017; Wardekker et al., 2010). It includes stra-
tegies like multiple access routes to critical facilities such as
train stations and hospitals, and setting up energy backups.
Enhancing accessibility and risk absorption through denser
urban fabric land divisions increases redundancy (Marcus &
Colding, 2014).
Principle 4 Diversity is managing multiple risks or spreading risk im-
pacts across different urban systems to minimize damages.
Spatial diversity can be achieved through mixed land-use
functions and distributing critical amenities to avoid
simultaneous impacts (Dhar & Khirfan, 2017; Kumagai
et al., 2010; Lak et al., 2020; Tyler & Moench, 2012).
Principle 5 Flexibility, is a system's ability to leave things open to manage
changes (Godschalk, 2003). It can be achieved using open-
ended functions to respond to multiple futures. Flexibility
is restricted due to space scarcity, competing for spatial
claims, unequal distribution of resources (Wardekker et al.,
2020) or reliance on heavily engineered responses like dikes
that create an articial sense of stability.
Principle 6 Multifunctionality, draws from the concept of polyvalent
spaces (Dhar & Khirfan, 2017). It uses preemptive design
such that the same space can serve different uses without
signicant physical changes (Roggema et al., 2012b).
Planning responses include public water squares that double
up as playgrounds, oodable parking garages, and schools
as temporary shelters.
Principle 7 Multiscalarity, involves understanding interactions across
spatial scales to determine planning responses (Brown et al.,
2012; Chelleri, 2012; Meerow et al., 2016; Wilkinson,
2012). In practice, it includes policies to ensure coordina-
tion between the local, regional and national levels and
determine trade-offs between scales to minimize negative
impacts and reduce regional imbalances when a major city
is made resilient at the cost of surrounding regions. Multi-
scalarity can also enable understanding the speed of change
at different scales to set short and long-term responses
(Davoudi et al., 2013).
Principle 8 Robustness, is the potential to resist the negative impacts of
disturbances by anticipating potential system failures and
reducing damages by over-dimensioning the capacities of
the system (Davoudi et al., 2013). Planning responses
include designing ood defence infrastructure to withstand
a very low probability of oods. In the short-term, robust-
ness has proven adequate to manage risk impacts. However,
as climate impacts become increasingly dynamic and
extreme, robust systems with inherently low exibility can
suffer catastrophic damage.
Principle 9 Self-organization, implies maintaining an urban system's in-
ternal structure, function, and organizational patterns dur-
ing a disturbance without signicant external institutional
interventions. A self-organizing system can preserve overall
functionality by making changes at faster scales in its sub-
systems (Allen et al., 2005). Planning responses include
community-led responses and aid distribution centres,
schools as temporary shelters, and using water-based
transport during a ood.
2.2. Approaches to urban planning under uncertainty
The central idea for urban planning under uncertainty is ‘maintaining
a tof an area under changing dynamics (Rauws, 2017). This involves
updating planning responses based on a changing environment such that
systems can avoid or reduce undesirable lock-ins, keep the plan func-
tional, reduce negative impacts and adjust urban congurations based
on changing risks.
Conventional approaches for addressing uncertainty, such as per-
formance monitoring and assessment, have successfully solved proba-
bilistic uncertainties that can be predicted based on (past) statistics
(Dessai & van der Sluijs, 2007). Examples are growth trends or
frequently re-occurring weather phenomena. However, long-range
climate uncertainties are so-called deep uncertainties, which cannot be
dened by probabilities (Walker et al., 2003). They are conventionally
addressed by adaptive planning or scenario approaches, for instance, in
projects such as the Dutch Delta Program (Haasnoot et al., 2018).
However, there is no widely accepted and comprehensive set of re-
sponses that addresses uncertainty (Moroni & Chif, 2021) across
((urban OR city)AND climat*(e)AND (resilience OR adaptation)AND (framework )
S. Krishnan et al.
Cities 141 (2023) 104464
complex urban systems and over long time horizons. Hence, responses
rely heavily on practitioners' intuition, experience, and preferences. To
address this gap, we assess the available theoretical approaches to
inform decisions in overall urban planning for uncertainty. We draw
from the literature on deep uncertainty (Maier et al., 2016; Marchau
et al., 2019), sustainable urban futures (Frantzeskaki et al., 2018),
infrastructure management, and complexity in urban planning (Moroni
& Chif, 2021) and synthesize four approaches to manage uncertainty in
urban planning.
Type a Pragmatic approach is the dominant approach that targets plan-
ning responses for individual urban systems such as roads,
buildings, and parks. It is perceived as a feasible approach that
commits to short-term actions while keeping options open for
the future. However, it relies on the most probable risk or best
guessfuture for that system based on conventional cost-benet
assessments that restrict the scope of alternatives and are not
viable for the long-term (Dominguez et al., 2011; Maier et al.,
Type b Nomocratic/Procedural approach includes broad regulations to
reduce exposure to risks and negative impacts from un-
certainties. The approach focuses on prohibitive rules such as
‘no-development zonesand restrictive building codes. It works
on the premise that it is easier to avoid negative actions than to
formulate positive actions that are resource-intensive and are
eventually not used by planners (Rauws, 2017).
Type c Methodological approach considers a full range of possible,
plausible, and unlikely future climate scenarios. It works on the
premise that coping with uncertainties requires moving beyond
linear predictions and historical trends. Scenarios that present
undesirable lock-ins or interference with large complex systems,
including those that are prima facie unlikely to happen, such as
extreme climate trends, must be considered (Moroni & Chif,
2021). However, in practice, even cities with well-developed
planning processes are limited to considering a few xed plan-
ning or climate scenarios in decision-making.
Type d Integrated approach includes consideration of a range of societal
values and normative issues that are related to or will impact
responses to the main uncertainty being tackled (Van Asselt &
Rotmans, 1996). Planners must consider state-sponsored ambi-
tions for economic prosperity, democracy, policy preferences
and other innovations that impact larger goals for climate risks
and urban transitions. Responses include integrated area
development plans, and nding clever sectoral combinations
like the water-energy nexus.
2.3. A conceptual framework for long-term urban planning for climate
We propose a conceptual framework (Fig. 2) that connects the two
prevailing theoretical streams shaping urban planning discourse for
climate uncertainty discussed above Urban resilience principles (Section
2.1) and Approaches to urban planning under uncertainty (Section 2.2).
The intersection of these literature streams illuminates differing, yet
fundamental, thought processes that underpin the formulation and
scaling up of climate-related planning responses. Together, resilience
principles and approaches to planning under uncertainty can provide a
framework to analyse how specic planning responses are selected and
implemented by considering the historical risk exposure and institu-
tional planning structures in any region. Planning Responses are the
common denominator to assess how the two streams interact and
manifest in space and impact single or multiple urban systems.
As discussed in Section 2.1, urban resilience theory presents princi-
ples that can be applied through planning responses to managing the
impacts of climate change. Despite integrating resilience, there is a
tendency to propose planning responses for xed short-term risks (Adger
et al., 2011). Some climate objectives may also require the imple-
mentation of principles that may have the opposite impacts on space
(such as robustness v/s exibility), which restricts the ability of urban
systems to respond and adapt to evolving uncertainties in the long-term
(Hayes et al., 2019; Holling & Gunderson, 2002). Hence, urban planning
for climate uncertainty requires integrating resilience and expanding
existing planning processes to systematically modulate responses based
on new insights.
To systematically assess how resilience and uncertainty impact
urban systems, we use a classication offered by the Urban Layers
Approach (ULA). ULA classies urban systems into ve groups based on
their spatio-temporal characteristics, i.e., the spatial scale and the life-
cycle over which the system tends to change (Roggema, 2010). Under-
standing this change window enables planners to propose appropriate
planning responses to integrate resilience to uncertainty.
The ve urban systems or layers with their spatio-temporal life-
cycles: Layer 1: Unplanned/Open spaces (110 yrs), Layer 2: Occupa-
tion/Buildings (320 yrs), Layer 3: Focal Points (5-20 yrs), Layer 4:
Networks (20100 +yrs), and Layer 5: Natural Resources (20100 +
We illustrate the application of the conceptual framework using the
example of highways that see heavy investments in urban regions (Hub
and Economics, 2017). From resilience literature (Section 2.1), we
derive that Highways (Layer 4: Networks), become resilient by inte-
grating principles such as Redundancy (3), Flexibility (5), Robustness (8),
and Self-Organization (9). These can be achieved through planning re-
sponses such as alternate routes, reserving spaces for future vehicle
volume, better engineering standards, and preempting self-organization
behaviour in a crisis. Resilience must be integrated over the highway's
lifecycle to manage long-term uncertainty. Using the Type-b: Nomocratic
Approach, and Type-c: Methodological Approach for planning under un-
certainty (Section 2.2) may ensure performance standards to minimize
failure under extreme climate scenarios. Use of Type-d: Integrated
Approach would involve reserving space required for future energy goals
and the advent of autonomous vehicles that will signicantly impact its
Fig. 2. Conceptual Framework for urban planning for climate uncertainty that is used to analyse the case studies. It illustrates that: (A) Urban Resilience Principles;
and (B) Approaches to Urban Planning Under Uncertainty; together determine (C) Planning Responses; that impact (D) Urban Systems.
S. Krishnan et al.
Cities 141 (2023) 104464
The conceptual framework is used for analyzing two case studies.
The framework serves as the common basis to map and analyse how
these two theoretical streams inform Planning Responses and how each
planning response impacts one or multiple Urban systems in a region.
These impacts inuence the longevity of responses and their role in long-
term uncertainty.
3. Methodology
This section elaborates on our research approach, case study selec-
tion, and data collection and analysis.
3.1. Research approach
This study aims to make the rst steps towards towards an enhanced
understanding of urban planning for climate uncertainty. The objective
is to understand, through empirical insights from contrasting case
studies, how cities are formulating climate-related planning responses
and how these planning responses relate to urban resilience theory and
planning approaches under uncertainty.
We use a multi-case analysis (Eisenhardt, 2021) together with Sys-
tematic Combining (Dubois & Gadde, 2002). The multi-case approach
allows us to assess contextual variability in the case studies. We use
Systematic Combining to develop the ndings of the case studies through
the interplay between the conceptual framework (theory world) and the
empirical ndings (real world) (Dubois & Gadde, 2002). A requirement
for Systematic combining is clear boundaries for assessing empirical data,
without which the research may expand (or shrink) based on each case
and distort analysis to inform a common theory. We rely on the con-
ceptual framework as the common reference to analyse the two case
studies and identify gaps and missing links. Subsequently, we present
four propositions to reect on the current gaps in long-term urban
planning for climate uncertainty.
3.2. Selected case studies
The conceptual framework is applied to two case studies. To contrast
the Global North (GN) and Global South (GS) and investigate the divide
in planning and resilience literature (Marin, 2021), we opt for one case
study in each of the two contexts (Fig. 3). Further, the case study cities
are selected based on the following requirements: (1) cities that have
strong planning ambitions to address climate change; and (2) cities that
invest in a large volume of new infrastructure or systematically renew
ageing infrastructure.
Based on these requirements, we selected two urban regions: the
Metropolitan Region of Amsterdam (MRA) in the GN and the Mumbai
Metropolitan Region (MMR) in the GS. Both regions are their respective
countries' economic and cultural centres but have different planning
processes and institutional structures. Both recognize the urgency to
meet climate-related goals and are drafting spatial strategies that frame
the opportunity to derive diverse insights.
While these are not the only ‘typesof cities in the Global North and
South, they exhibit major urbanization characteristics that presented the
variability required for this study. Amsterdam exhibits characteristics of
a developed GN economy with high per capita income, technological
advancement, and political stability, but an ageing society and ageing
infrastructure. Mumbai, on the other hand, can be characterized as a
developing GS economy with medium per-capita income, in the process
of industrializing, with a majority youth population and investments in
new infrastructure.
3.2.1. Case Study 1: Metropolitan Region of Amsterdam (MRA)
The Metropolitan Region of Amsterdam (MRA) in the Netherlands is
an agglomeration of 32 municipalities housing 2.48 million people.
MRA has a polycentric structure with Amsterdam as the dominant core,
supported by eight sub-centres. Among one of the highly developed
areas in the world, MRA is characterized by a mature spatial planning
approach with well-coordinated public investments, consensus-driven
political processes, and robust urban planning structures (Healey,
Fig. 3. Selected Case Studies: Metropolitan Region of Amsterdam (MRA - left) and Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR).
(Source: Sentinel-2 10-Meter Land Use/Land Cover.)
S. Krishnan et al.
Cities 141 (2023) 104464
MRA's economic attractiveness has resulted in high inward migration
and outward expansion of the urban footprint, which has led to a sig-
nicant housing crisis. This has added immense pressure on its mobility
systems and meeting sectoral goals like energy transition.
MRA's vulnerability stems from the fact that large areas lie below sea
level and are protected by engineered dikes. Around 70 % of MRA's area
is threatened by one or more risks that it must respond to extreme heat
periods, rainfall, prolonged droughts, and sea-level rise. In addition, the
region faces labor shortages and increasing socio-economic disparity.
Planning is driven by a regional urbanization strategy (ver-
stedelijkingsstrategie) supported by city-level Structural Vision (struc-
tuurvisie, detailed urban plans (bestemmingsplan), and thematic
documents on mobility, environment, energy, and climate. From a
climate perspective, MRA is critiqued for its highly regulated planning
process, limiting its exibility to absorb uctuations and make constant
3.2.2. Case Study 2: Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR)
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) in India is the fourth-
largest urban agglomeration globally, consisting of 8 municipal corpo-
rations, nine municipal councils, and houses over 22 million people.
MMR has a polycentric structure, with Greater Mumbai as the domi-
nating core supported by several densely populated sub-centres.
MMR's economic attractiveness has led to high inward migration. Its
urban growth has rapidly increased to crushing densities adding
immense pressure to its urban infrastructure systems. Formal planning
could not meet the requirements of the growing population, which is
why more than half the urban population lives in informal settlements.
The region is now making high-value investments in roads, high-speed
rail, metro, and coastal roads.
MMR is vulnerable as the city is built on reclaimed land, and large
portions along the coast lie below the high tide level. The city must have
planning responses to chronic ooding, inadequate civil infrastructure,
outdated stormwater systems, and insufcient open spaces.
MMR's ofcial planning is guided by the Regional Plan (RP)
Table 2
Combined Participants grid for MRA (P1 to P20) and MMR (P21 to P39) classied based on their role in the urban planning process and their domains of expertise. ‘X
indicates that we did not receive responses from the right participants from that domain.
Domain Role in the urban planning process
Strategic/Policy Advisors/
Urban planners
Urban Planning, Geography P1, P2, P26, P30, P33, P38 P11, P20, P34, P35,
P3, P15, P18, P27 P4, P5, P17, P19, P21, P22,
P37, P39
Climate and disaster risks, environmental
P6, P7, P9, P24, P28 P10 P12, P31 P8, P13, P23, P25
Infrastructure P14, P16, P29 X P23 X
Table 3
Case Study 1 (MRA): Table presenting dominant resilience principles discussed by participants, with the number of mentions and sample quotations. (+) and ()
indicate principles with high application and low application respectively.
S. Resilience
Terms included Mentions Participants Example quotes
1 Adaptivity (+) adaptable, adaptation, agile,
accommodate, adjust
180 ALL Greenwashing is synonymous to climate adaptation(P2)
Big decisions on where to planis not taking climate adaptation or future
uncertainties into account(P8),
We need to try to not make big investments, where we later regret it. We
need to nd a way to make progress, but keep different adaptation options
2 Buffer (+) retention, inltration, storage,
garden, green roof
31 1, 2, 5, 6, 8, 10, 11, 12,
13, 14, 15, 18, 19, 20
The ‘retain-store-drainstrategy in the Netherlands is translated into a multi-
level ood protection strategy.(P10),
we have spatial plans on a local level, where you can include requirements
for new buildings, increase inltration/buffer capacity of roads and not
immediately discharge it to the sewers(P6, P12)
3 Multi
functionality (+)
alternate, water square, mixed
17 1, 5, 9, 10, 14, 16, 17 The water square is only a solution to one issue. I don't know anyone who
likes to live at the water square(P1),
Different elements in a city have different frequencies. The user that occupies
a building changes few years, but the function changes slower(P1)
4 Robustness (+) strong, reinforce, maintain 29 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10,
12, 13, 14, 16, 17, 18, 19
A redevelopment offers a moment of renewed interest and gives us the
opportunity to review what we wrote down 10 years ago, make a new
perspective where we integrate climate adaptation(P5),
Can you use a small percentage of your maintenance projects to test new
5 Diversity () diverse, various, range,
16 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 10, 17 by spreading the risk to 1000 planning options, there's always one that
there is an optimal balance between structure and diversity in an ecosystem,
in order to be resilient.(P1)
6 Flexibility () frequency, updating 60 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10,
11, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19
It's not very exible because of the lack of space.(P6),
We have to skip the blueprints(P14)
7 Multi scalarity
scale, local, regional,
community, neighbourhood,
108 all except 4 and 9 If you really want to work on climate adaptation, you have to do it on a
regional scale.(P2,13),
Scale is connected to types of climate. You cannot cope with sea level rise in
the design of your urban areas. Cities are limited by their administrative
boundaries(P12, P16, P18, P19)
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Cities 141 (2023) 104464
supported by the municipal corporations' Development Plans (DP). The
RP presents guidelines for growth across infrastructure, socioeconomic,
and environmental sectors, and the DP presents more detailed zoning
and building regulations. These plans are augmented by a state-level
action plan for climate change and a city-level disaster management
plan guiding response and recovery measures. MMR's planning docu-
ments are critiqued for being overtly prescriptive, regulatory, and pro-
hibitory instead of building integrated visions. They do not identify
entry points for climate-related goals but stick to broad recommenda-
tions (Krishnankutty, 2018).
3.3. Data collection and interview design
The analysis is based on two data collection processes. For both case
studies, we rst assessed grey literature in the form of primary planning
documents and how they discuss climate-related planning responses
(Appendix C). In the context of resilience, Planning Responses planning,
preparatory, and recovery measures that target single or multiple urban
systems (Table 1). Hence, we selected ofcial planning documents for
both cases, such as development plans, urbanization strategies, regional
plans, climate action plans, and disaster management strategies, to
extract the full range of climate-related planning responses.
Second, we conducted 39 semi-structured interviews with senior
practitioners and scholars directly involved in the development and
implementation of urban plans. The interviews were conducted over one
year (202021) and each interview was approximately 60 min long and
conducted online using Zoom/Teams calls due to travel restrictions
during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The interview protocol was framed to dive into the thinking pro-
cesses for climate-related planning and to what extent they are guided
by theories of resilience and planning under uncertainty. The interview
questions were structured into four main sections: Climate-related
planning responses and sectoral focus; Long-term thinking (beyond
current planning timelines); Knowledge gaps and institutional chal-
lenges; and Planning variables and values. A semi-structured protocol
allowed us to vary the sequence of questions and ask follow-up questions
to enable richer discussions. Appendix D presents an indicative inter-
view protocol. A detailed protocol with a consent form may be accessed
The authors used their professional networks to identify participants
in a 2-step process. A list of 20 experts was made for each case, which
was expanded to approximately 200 using snowballing sampling, per-
sonal referrals, and social media. The objective was to select between 17
and 20 participants per case, which is the suggested sample size satu-
ration in empirical research using interviews (Hennink & Kaiser, 2021).
Short introductory conversations were conducted based on the
research's intent to arrive at a combined list of 39 experts to ensure a
reasonable representation of sub-domains - 20 for MRA and 19 for MMR.
Participants came from four sub-domains that play crucial roles in
planning: urban planners, strategic/policy advisors/bureaucrats, aca-
demic researchers, and specialists in sustainability, environment, and
engineering (Table 2).
3.4. Data analysis
The goal of the data analysis was to (1) Analyse grey literature to
map climate-related planning responses for different urban systems; and
(2) Analyse interview content for the application of urban resilience
principles, planning responses, challenges, and approaches for planning
under uncertainty.
To analyse interviews, we developed a corpus of the 39 interviews by
transcribing recordings and combining memos written during the
interviewing process. Interviews for each case were analyzed separately
using systematic qualitative coding on Atlas TI. Qualitative analysis of
interviews was conducted in three steps (Bryman, 2016).
In Step-1, we used open coding to extract broad ndings on inte-
grating climate goals, planning approaches, urban systems, values, and
challenges. The coding scheme was derived from ndings from the
literature review in Section 2. In Step-2, we used selective coding to
extract ndings in four categories to focus on the research gap: Appli-
cation of urban resilience principles, planning responses, approaches to
uncertainty, and associated challenges (see Fig. 5). As there was a
Table 4
Case Study 2 (MMR): Table presenting dominant resilience principles discussed by participants, with the number of mentions and sample quotations. (+) and ()
indicate principles with high application and low application respectively.
Terms included Mentions Participants Example quotes
1 Adaptivity
adaptation, agile,
accommodate, tipping, rapid,
30 21, 22, 24, 25, 28, 27, 30, 31,
33, 38
P28: Urban adaptation schemes elite-driven. You see a major role for
transnational corporations, and the projects cater to urban middle
P21: Adaptation is perceived as a cop-out for governments because
they have failed to limit emissions.
2 Buffer (+) retention, inltration, store,
garden, green, permeate, park
28 21, 22, 26, 27, 30, 31, 33, 35 P22: A lot of land designated for public purposes like parks eventually
became a slum.
P30: Buffers are hard to achieve when the city is 97 % built-up
3 Flexibility () frequency, update 29 22, 27, 29, 30, 31, 33, 35, 36 P27: We have to make a master plan every year to cater to the current
trends. It is the only instrument and can be very exible and be
allowed to change as we move along.
P33: What we should freeze is ecological areas which will remain
permanently as no development zones. The other areas should be very
exible to expand and absorb intense construction.
4 Multi
scalarity ()
scale, local, regional,
community, neighbourhood,
context, ward
110 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28,
29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36,
37, 38, 39
P34: You have to look at at least 3050 years and think regionally for
climate resilience.
P29: The Metro will last for 200 years. That kind of (scale) will
change the whole city's life. So projects with long-term impacts must
be given a special consideration in the planning process, which is not
P36: Follow a exible approach for macro level planning. Use local
area plans for micro level urban development by following a market
driven logic to enable equitable distribution of land.
S. Krishnan et al.
Cities 141 (2023) 104464
heterogenous participant group, there was signicant variation in ter-
minology between interviews. Tables 3 and 4 enlist the dominant
resilience principles discussed for MRA and MMR, respectively, together
with terms that were grouped and sample quotations.
Finally, in Step-3, we revisit the coded data for both cases to conduct
a cross-case analysis to observe similarities and dissimilarities in resil-
ience principles applied in both contexts, variations in planning re-
sponses, and approaches to uncertainty. The following section
elaborates on the ndings for each case.
4. Results
4.1. Findings from grey literature
In Fig. 4, we map proposed and ‘in-progress' climate-related planning
responses for both case studies. In the context of resilience, Planning
Responses may include planning, preparatory, and recovery measures
that target single or multiple urban systems (Table 1). Hence, we
assessed a selection of ofcial planning documents for both cases, such
as development plans, urbanization strategies, regional plans, climate
action plans, and disaster management strategies, to extract the full
range of climate-related planning responses (see Appendix C).
We connect the responses to Urban Systems they target and describe
Resilience principles that are relevant for each system (see Section 2.3).
Standard planning responses include rainwater harvesting, upgrading
and streamlining stormwater drains, reinforcing landscape connections,
and climate-proong vital infrastructure.
MRA's planning documents recognize climate adaptation as a key
goal and include a conceptual strategy for 2050. Responses target all ve
urban systems with a heavy emphasis on building resilience to manage
excess water and climate-proong assets. Hence, Adaptivity and
Robustness emerge as the dominant resilience principles. Rainproof
Amsterdam is a well-developed project targeting Layer 2: Occupation and
Unplanned/Open Spaces to capture excess water (see Fig. 4 in red). In
addition, the MRA is taking concrete steps through the Resilience by
Design initiative that proposes demonstration projects for climate
adaptation, including an adaptive tree plan, adaptive neighbourhoods,
and urban transformation for diversity (MRA, 2021). While the projects
apply multiple resilience principles like Adaptivity, Diversity and Flexi-
bility, most are targeted at the scale of buildings.
Climate-related goals in the MMR are heavily reactive and focused
on building resilience to urban ooding through community response
and recovery. Planning is incremental and prescriptive, with most ac-
tions focused on upgrading infrastructure. BRIMSTOWAD is an ongoing
long-term project to expand the capacities of stormwater drains. In the
absence of a formal climate program while writing this paper, MMR (see
Fig. 4. Final coding scheme for the content analysis of interviews for MRA and MMR. Categories were utilized to identify components of the conceptual framework
including Urban Resilience principles, Planning Responses, Urban Systems, and Approaches to Uncertainty; as well as Challenges in Long-term Planning.
S. Krishnan et al.
Cities 141 (2023) 104464
Fig. 4) integrates climate into several scattered projects where it be-
comes a secondary objective. With a scarcity of open spaces, MMR
emphasizes restoring and expanding natural Buffer using green corridors
along rivers, regulating land conversion, and a Coastal Zone Manage-
ment Plan (CZMP). MMR enforces norms for rainwater harvesting only
in new greeneld developments.
4.2. Findings from interviews: Case Study 1 (MRA)
4.2.1. Dominant resilience principles with high application
The dominant resilience principles discussed by participants are to
manage risks using Adaptivity, Buffer and Multiunctionality and to resist
risks by increasing Robustness. Adaptivity is widely applied at the Layer 2:
Occupation as adaptive neighbourhoods, adaptive tree plans, and nature-
based development. Participants criticize the lack of an empirical
foundation or proven planning instruments in applying adaptivity (P1,
P2, P13) and note that it relies on its thematic popularity rather than the
urgency to act (P8, P17) (Fig. 6).
MRA adopts the ‘retain-store-drain strategy for ood management
used in the Netherlands and implements it in planning (P10). Due to
MRA's space scarcity, most participants endorse the use of Buffer in
conjunction with Multifunctional urban spaces to create water squares,
oodable parking garages, and retrotted rooftops (P10, P13, P15). The
‘Amsterdam Rainproofprogram applies these actions to improve urban
capacity to manage rain. It has led to policies that require every area to
retain a rainfall volume of 60 mm/h (P8, P13) (City of Amsterdam,
The popularity of applying Multifunctionality has made it a conve-
nient answer to integrated resilience irrespective of its small spatial scale
and relatively short-term impact (P1). Hence, Greenwashingdominates
planning responses, especially at the plot level. Making spaces multi-
functional also affects their living quality if not maintained well (like,
parking lots that do not drain well). Additionally, Multifunctionality for
larger urban systems such as Layer 2: Occupation and Layer 3: Focal
Points, requires managing changing demographic demands and there
may be a potential misalignment between the structure and the expected
function(P1). For instance, the building occupants change every few
years, but the function of the building changes much slower. Under-
standing these change frequencies and Flexibility will be vital to intro-
ducing new functions into existing buildings.
Finally, Robustness emerged as a recurrent principle to resist risk
while also being criticized for making the MRA less exible to changes.
Planning in the Netherlands is highly regulated and focused on deni-
tive outcomes (Healey, 2006). This has counter-intuitively made the
MRA vulnerable to uncertainties as the system is presumed to be fail-
proof, and expansion continues on land that could be ooded from
dike breaches (P8, P10). P21 explains that If (MRA) gets ooded, the
government is held responsible. Therefore, we offer one of the highest levels of
protection in the world. Hence, MRA's extensive network of dikes and
sluices against ooding are continually upgraded until they reach their
tipping points.
4.2.2. Dominant resilience principles with low application
The principles discussed due to low applications are Flexibility, Di-
versity, and Multiscalarity. MRA's lack of exibility was attributed to an
inexible water system and an over-reliance on engineered dikes (P7).
P7 & P14 critiqued the heavy focus on rainfall, which is ‘ready to solve
and hampers the development of regulations for emerging, lesser-known
risks from heat and prolonged drought. Planners critiqued the master
planning instrument as being tightly wound blueprints that offer no ex-
ibility(P14). P2 emphasized that zoning plans are exible at the plot
scale but not at a larger scale. Participants proposed updating the master
plan every ten years or less based on changing needs. P1 proposes a ratio
of one-third structure two-thirds diversity in master planning to keep it
exible, to adapt or diversify as needed. Participants from different
domains conceded the need to think about exibility at the conceptual
stageto avoid undesirable lock-ins and higher re-investment costs (P8,
P9, P10).
On Multiscalarity, the urban planners and climate specialists dis-
cussed the regional scale as ideal for long-term planning (P2, 12, 13) as
most urban systems with long lifecycles are planned on that scale (P1).
However, most climate-related planning responses are targeted towards
Unplanned/Open Spaces and Occupation/Buildings where it is effective to
introduce small-scale tted solutions. Urban designers nd the local
scale feasible (P6) and nd regional planning futile for climate (P3).
Multi-scalar thinking is essential as different climate risks can be
addressed effectively at different scales. For instance, municipalities are
limited their administrative boundaries and cannot make strategies to
cope with a sea-level rise at their scale (P12, P16, P18, P19). Urban
planners P17 & P8 emphasized matching the spatial scale with the risk to
form viable business cases for investing and avoiding roadblocks.
4.2.3. Implication for urban resilience theory and planning under
Redundancy and Self-organization nd no mentions in interviews,
possibly because both principles typically emerge or are applied in
systems that are constantly exposed to risks and must continually adjust
(Liao, 2012). In the recent past, MRA has offered a relatively safe
environment except for prolonged drought and extreme heat days for
which localized energy and water backups are arranged. Creating a
redundancy of transport networks and water sources for low-probability
events like ooding does not receive any attention, though it can cause
signicant damage.
MRA's approaches to planning under Uncertainty emerges from a
risk-resistant attitude where planning responses are designed to resist
failure (Liao, 2012; Walker et al., 2013). A risk-resistant system is
planned in a fail-safe manner where its inherent variability is sup-
pressed, and it becomes less resilient to sudden changes (Holling et al.,
2002). Participants also blame an over-reliance on ood-protection
engineering for cultivating a culture of planning for the worst case
without accounting for emerging risks like winter storms, heavy rains, or
prolonged drought in the detail that they should be.
In theory, MRA's planning incorporates all four approaches to plan-
ning under uncertainty with varying degrees of application (see Section
2.2). The dominant approach is Pragmatic, where responses are targeted
towards individual urban systems like reinforcing ood defenses,
climate-proong energy networks, and improving the buffer capacity of
open spaces. Nomocratic approach is seen in regulations to protect
ecological and cultural sites. Methodological approach can be partially
observed in MRA's use of forward-looking scenarios for energy and
mobility systems. It also benets from four well-researched, predictive
national climate scenarios for climate risks. P9 emphasizes that MRA
plans within these plausible scenarios and dealing with outliers, extremes and
emerging risks are where things go wrong.While MRA discusses different
scenarios for its sectors, alternative urbanization strategies are not
thought of. P9 proposed a robustness analysis of the urban plan to
identify long-lasting urban systems and use a mix of uncertainty ap-
proaches accordingly.
4.3. Findings from interviews: Case Study 2 (MMR)
4.3.1. Dominant resilience principles with high application
As MMR does not have a dedicated program on climate action,
resilience does not nd many mentions but is integrated into different
S. Krishnan et al.
Cities 141 (2023) 104464
planning projects and policies. The dominant principles discussed by
participants are to manage urban ooding using Adaptivity and Buffer
and the need to bring in more Flexibility and Multiscalarity in planning to
manage uncertainty (Fig. 7).
Due to Mumbai's chronic ooding, improving Robustness of storm-
water drains is a signicant project (P31). The State of Maharashtra's
Action Plan on Climate Change also presents system-specic strategies
for transport, energy, and ecosystem-based adaptation actions (P24)
(GoM Department of Environment, 2014). The transport sector is
considered to be most effective in improving Adaptivity given the heavy
future investments and high trafc volume (P33). However, a robust,
data-driven understanding of adaptation, including the implications of
maladaptive planning and undesirable tradeoffs, does not exist (P21).
For instance, Mumbai's metro rail construction requires acquiring land
preserved under natural resources. But, the tradeoff between the miti-
gating properties of public transport versus the adaptive properties of
damaged natural ecosystems is not assessed. P21 criticizes that Adap-
tation is viewed as a cop-out action when the urban planning mechanism
Buffer is widely applied in MMR across spatial scales. New devel-
opment schemes are mandated to harvest rainwater onsite at the
building level. A buffer is introduced at the neighbourhood/ward scale
through land reservations and assigning recreation areas as ‘no-devel-
opment zones.There are policies to protect mangroves, wetlands, and
other natural ecosystems at the city scale, which act as a sponge for
coastal ooding. A city-wide blue-green network was initiated but not
completed as Mumbai has few large open spaces to capture rainwater
within urban limits (P30,33). In addition, Mumbai is considering
developing an underground oodwater channel similar to Tokyo to store
surplus water.
Unlike MRA, what hinders the application of Multifunctionality is that
public spaces are viewed purely from a consumption standpoint to cater
to a large existing population (P31). It is challenging to nd synergies as
the planning responses are not tied to a common climate strategy, which
brings in competing priorities in a hyper-dense region.
4.3.2. Dominant resilience principles with low application
On lack of Flexibility, more than half the participants criticized
existing planning instruments for being overly regulatory. Rigid norms
for land reservations and a moderate Floor Space Index (FSI) encourage
illegal expansion in a city facing intense land scarcity. Instead of
anticipating changes, the planning instruments are prescriptive and go into
(unnecessary) details which impedes inherent Flexibility (P22, P36).
Like MRA, MMR participants also recommend that the Development
Fig. 5. Mapping climate-related Planning Responses for MRA (in red) and MMR (in blue and italics) to the Urban Systems they target. Each Urban Layer has a
recommended resilience principle to make it most effective in managing climate uncertainties (Roggema et al., 2012b). (RbDindicates projects proposed as part of
MRA's Resilience by Design programme) (MRA, 2021). (For interpretation of the references to colour in this gure legend, the reader is referred to the web version of
this article.)
S. Krishnan et al.
Cities 141 (2023) 104464
Plan (DP) be updated every 510 years to cater to changing trends (P27,
31, 33). P33 recommends developing adaptation pathways and scenario
planning for Mumbai not to be locked into blueprints.
On Multiscalarity, the role of the correct spatial scale was discussed
extensively. Participants recommend multi-level engagement but
recognize the regulatory challenges of coordinating between scales. For
instance, the Regional Plan is not binding upon the local wards and has a
lower legal standing in the planning process (P22). Moreover, the mix of
formal and informal growth and massive peri-urban expansion estab-
lishes a standardized planning template for inter-scalar coordination.
Hence, the city adopts tactical planning responses to manage risks at the
project-level or plot level. P29 points out that the planners must give
infrastructure projects like the Mumbai Metro special consideration due
to the long lifecycle and impacts on the region's economy. However, the
climate is not fundamental to its planning.
MMR's local ood response capacity points to a mature level of Self-
organization illustrated by a strong community response in ood rescue
and sheltering. The disaster management plan also presents guidelines
to develop Redundancy plans during a crisis through alternative trans-
port routes and energy and communication backups.
4.3.3. Implications for urban resilience and planning under uncertainty
While the urgency of climate change is recognized, it is not inte-
grated into urban planning (P24). Diversity, Redundancy, Robustness, and
Self-organization nd little to no direct mentions in the interviews. From
a resilience perspective, Mumbai's annual urban ooding becomes an
agent for resilience-building and self-organizing since each ooding
event leads to small to medium-scale disruptions that allow urban sys-
tems to readjust. This has led to the emergence of a diverse set of coping
strategies and high inherent Adaptivity (Smit & Wandel, 2006). How-
ever, planning responses have not systematically tapped into the
Fig. 6. Case Study 1 MRA: Assessing climate-related planning responses using the Conceptual Framework (Fig. 3) and ndings from interviews to highlight: (A)
Dominant Urban Resilience Principles; ((+) and () indicate principles with high application and low application, respectively.); (A) Dominant Approaches to Urban
Planning under Uncertainty; (C) How ‘A and ‘Btogether determine Planning Responses; and their impact on (D) Urban Systems.
(Grey box indicates no mentions. Dotted lines indicate terms mentioned but not discussed in detail in literature or interviews. (*) indicates proposed Plan-
ning Responses.)
S. Krishnan et al.
Cities 141 (2023) 104464
usefulness of Multifunctionality or Robustness to use space efciently and
absorb the recurrent impacts of ooding.
MMR's approaches to uncertainty emerge from the experience of a
region that faces recurrent ooding and is forced to embrace it as an
environmental dynamic. Due to limited resources and a complex urban
fabric, the region has not realized intensive engineering responses like
underground ood channels to manage oods. However, it relies on
reinforcing natural ecosystems to absorb risks. Only two participants
explicitly discussed uncertainty and pointed to the urgency of
Fig. 7. Case Study 1 MMR: Assessing climate-related planning responses using the Conceptual Framework (Fig. 3) and ndings from interviews to highlight: (A)
Dominant Urban Resilience Principles; ((+) and () indicate principles with high application and low application, respectively.); (A) Dominant Approaches to Urban
Planning under Uncertainty; (C) How ‘A' and ‘B' together determine Planning Responses and their impact on (D) Urban Systems.
(Grey box indicates no mentions. Dotted lines indicate terms mentioned but not discussed in detail in literature or interviews. (*) indicates proposed Plan-
ning Responses.)
Fig. 8. Four propositions towards an enhanced understanding of urban planning for climate uncertainty, using theoretical reections from literature and empirical
insights from case studies.
S. Krishnan et al.
Cities 141 (2023) 104464
introducing it to planning (P33, P35). Given the expanding urban
footprint of the MMR, participants propose decentralized planning as an
antidote to uncertainty. This implies empowering local decision-makers
to experiment with new strategies to manage ooding, pollution, and
urban heat islands. This reexive approach may help fulll market de-
mands to utilize land efciently to manage changing risks (P36).
MMR dominantly uses the Nomocratic and Pragmatic approaches
(Section 2.2). Nomocratic approaches can be seen in blanket regulations
to conserve green areas and reinforce green corridors. This has proven
insufcient to manage oods from uctuating rainfall patterns and
inadequate civic infrastructure. Pragmatic approaches are targeted to-
wards increasing Open Spaces and regulating the density of Occupation/
Building. No system-wide strategy exists for resilience of Focal Points and
From a Methodological perspective, MMR plans for a single future
scenario, relying mainly on past trends and xed predictions. P22 em-
phasizes that Mumbai is stuck with the impacts caused by the 2005 deluge -
a 1 in 100-year ooding disaster. Most policy documents, as well as academic
studies, are written considering the impacts of that single event(Gupta,
2007). Participants acknowledge that the formal planning framework
does not recognize uncertainty or the need to consider ‘what-ifs' to plan
for alternative scenarios. For instance, infrastructure and building codes
consider ood levels from 2 to 3 decades ago.
4.4. Cross case analysis
This section conducts a cross-case assessment of ndings from MRA
and MMR to examine similarities and dissimilarities in applying urban
resilience principles, planning responses, and approaches to uncertainty.
4.4.1. Similarities
From a general planning perspective, both MRA and MMR foresee
growth that must balance new development and several renewal pro-
jects. Both cite a scarcity of space as a roadblock to implementing
climate-related projects like expanding stormwater drains or adding
buffers. Participants in both cases conrmed the ease and cost-
effectiveness of implementing climate-related projects on public land
as they have more control (P2, P6, P8, P14, P22, P28). Introducing
measures on private land or expropriation of land was recognized as a
signicant barrier to scaling up climate-related responses.
On resilience principles, participants explain the lack of Flexibility as
a critical barrier to long-term planning. While MRA's lack of Flexibility
came from a heavily regulated planning system, MMR deals with sig-
nicant capacity gaps that do not allow it to consider a exible planning
regime. Multiscalarity emerged as a common goal, but its implementa-
tion was also a common point of conict in both cases. Climate spe-
cialists and strategic planners made solid arguments supporting top-
down, centralized planning, especially for large-scale decisions where
multiple infrastructure systems must be coupled together (P7, P21, 22,
33). On the other hand, urban planners and bureaucrats who imple-
mented detailed plans endorsed bottom-up, decentralized planning at
the local scale to manage climate risks (P3).
Both participants acknowledge that uncertainty is not part of the
formal thinking process. Planning responses are Pragmatic, low-regret
(P3, P7), and emphasize incremental actions in individual urban sys-
tems. A common conict for both regions is prioritizing incremental
over transformative planning projects.
Both cases successfully use Nomocratic planning to manage uncer-
tainty. For instance, MRA preserves natural areas under Netherlands
National Ecological Network (NEN) (Nature Ministry of Agriculture and
NL Food Quality, n.d). Similarly, MMR has a Coastal Zone Management
Plan to conserve ecologically sensitive zones (Forest Ministry of Envi-
ronment and GoM Climate Change, 2011).
4.4.2. Dissimilarities
The rst dissimilarity between the cases is urban development and
the maturity of planning instruments. MRA has fullled its basic urban
infrastructure needs but needs to transform standards for emerging risks.
On the other hand, MMR must manage a signicant infrastructure decit
while meeting climate goals. MRA has a mature spatial planning system
that primarily uses a combination of top-down and community-based
planning. MRA benets from national policies on climate adaptation
and well-researched climate scenarios as benchmarks for long-term
planning. MMR has a hybrid planning approach where top-down
formal plans are supported by tactical responses, especially for growth
outside the purview of formal regulations. MMR's planning for climate
risks is mainly reactive, and open-ended, and relies on feasible short-
term targets. In the absence of detailed climate scenarios, planners
consider only high-level assumptions, and plans are designed to absorb
forecasted growth.
Second, the capacity gap in MMR hinders an integrated approach to
long-term planning in MMR. MRA has a solid regional authority to
develop and implement climate programs. Hence, planning responses
address all ve urban systems, and it is possible to have a template to
propose resilience principles and predict planning outcomes. Climate
programs in Indian cities are outsourced to independent consultancies or
international agencies due to a lack of internal capacity, leading to
fragmented projects, generic responses, and inequality (P23).
5. Discussions: propositions towards an enhanced
understanding of urban planning for climate uncertainty
This study analyses two case studies to build an enhanced under-
standing of long-term planning under uncertainty by combining con-
cepts from urban resilience and urban planning under uncertainty.
Despite the contrasting planning contexts, participants in both cases -
MRA and MMR - conrm the lack of a systematic way for planning to
manage climate impacts. This section presents four propositions devel-
oped using ndings from theory and empirical insights from the in-
terviews to reect on the current gaps in adopting long-term planning
and where theory can play a role in lling this. Each proposition is
substantiated using comparative insights from our two case studies and
39 interviews. We present narrative accounts and structural ndings
that characterize the long-term planning process. We further present
propositions on four themes: planning processes, urban resilience,
planning under uncertainty, and types of planning responses, towards an
enhanced understanding of long-term urban planning for climate un-
certainty (Fig. 8).
5.1. Proposition 1: On urban planning processes
Proposition 1A.Bringing exibility in urban planning is a pivotal way
Amsterdam (MRA) and Mumbai (MMR) can develop a process to continu-
ously integrate changing variables essential for planning for climate
One of the key ndings of this study is the dissimilarity in planning
and resilience capacities in the MRA and MMR. MRA and MMR must
manage major long-term transitions under climate change, but the
approach differs based on their position on the development spectrum. It
is widely known that developed regions like MRA are expected to not
prioritize climate due to high inherent adaptivity (Denton et al., 2014).
However, several recent events like hurricanes, tornadoes, and pro-
longed droughts have caused signicant losses in industrialized regions
of the Global North due to damages to existing protection structures.
MRA must deal with locked-in risks because of the massive in-
vestments made in the past, which today face more extreme hazards
S. Krishnan et al.
Cities 141 (2023) 104464
than intended. It must ensure that future climate-related responses do
not disturb the well-functioning status quo. On the other hand, MMR
must address the dual goals of meeting its fundamental infrastructure
decit while ensuring resilience. However, planning processes in MMR
face signicant institutional and capacity gaps, which leaves little
incentive for substantial long-term thinking (P25, 32, 35).
Proposition 1B.The lack of exibility in planning in Amsterdam stems
from rigid outcome-oriented planning regulations, and in Mumbai, stems
from insufcient planning structures.
MRA has made steps to integrate climate into formal urban planning
instruments, but it is applied only to small-scale pilot projects based on
xed variables. Conceptually, the value and interpretation of exibility
in planning remain ambivalent as it could improve resilience and pro-
vide unfair development advantages based on market forces (Tasan-Kok,
2008). MRA participants, especially the strategic planners, criticize its
overtly regulated, outcome-oriented planning for impeding its exibility
to integrate new information. The lack of exibility in the planning
process hinders applying other resilience principles and uncertainty
approaches that demand integrating emerging variables.
MMR is yet to develop and implement actions based on a strategic
understanding of the interaction between climate and development
priorities (Khosla & Bhardwaj, 2019). It relies on conservative measures
like reinforcing green spaces and reactive measures such as emergency
response and rescue to manage disasters. This makes it challenging to
have long-term planning trade-offs to improve resilience (Bartlett et al.,
2009). MRA participants view open-ended planning systems, like the
one in MMR, as advantageous to integrating unprecedented changes to
build resilience. From an uncertainty perspective, not having denite
outcomes is a mark of a exible system open to change. Participants in
the MMR criticize that Mumbai's open-ended approach has led to a high
tolerance to risk, recurrent infrastructure damage, and low trust in the
government to protect it.
A second important planning highlight is that urban growth in the
MMR spreads beyond formal physical and institutional boundaries.
While there are some ways to characterize informal growth, managing
unprecedented changes is challenging as planning responses may not
have the expected outcome.
5.2. Proposition 2: on urban resilience principles
Proposition 2.Conventional thinking assumes that different resilience
principles mutually reinforce each other's impacts. However, transformative
long-term urban planning requires resolving trade-offs among principles with
opposite impacts in space. Three such conicting combinations that emerge in
discussions of the cases are Robustness versus Flexibility, Structure versus
Diversity and Redundancy versus Efciency.
Section 4.3.1 discussed how resilience principles like Buffer and
Multifunctionality are used in combination to improve urban capacity to
manage rain. However, participants from both cases emphasize that
long-term planning requires applying principles that have opposite im-
pacts in space (Zimmerman, 2001). Implementing conicting principles
creates a deadlock in spatial decisions.
An overarching planning conict that emerged in MRA (See Propo-
sitions 1B) was maintaining its xed planning structure with a robustly
engineered water system versus making it exible to future changes. A
risk-based conict also arises when a city must manage prolonged
droughts while increasing green cover to mitigate the impacts of urban
heat islands. A thematic dispute arises between meeting goals for
climate adaptation and energy transition when Buildings with rooftops
must nd a trade-off between using the roof space to store water from rainfall
or to install solar panels to generate energy(P3).
MMR participants recommended striking a balance between
exibility and rigidity, like imposing strict regulations to protect natural
resources but a exible approach for all local areas to absorb growth.
Counter-intuitively, P36 emphasized that increasing exibility in local
area plans will only benet private developers in a hugely market-driven
economy. Hence, planners must prioritize the land's endemic and
endogenous potential before setting exible norms.
In urban morphology, a conict arises in decision-making for
increasing density versus adopting low-impact, medium, or low-density.
Dense centers are known for their Efcient urban form for better
transport accessibility and lower energy consumption which is desirable
for building resilience (P27) (Jabareen, 2013). However, the same
density increases concentrations of the at-risk population leaving less
space for rainwater inltration and increasing susceptibility to urban
heat islands (Solecki et al., 2015; Wamsler et al., 2013). Several MMR
participants endorse medium-density ecological planning to offset the
impacts of a dense urban footprint around existing business districts.
Few participants strongly argue against this, since loosely regulated
ecological planning leads to uncontrolled urban sprawl. Practitioners
recommend making clever connections between urban systems to use
opposing responses to advantage and avoid undesirable temporal trade-
offs and deadlocks. P2 proposes a balance of one-third xed structure
two-thirds diversityin an urban plan to keep it responsive to changes.
5.3. Proposition 3: on planning under uncertainty
Proposition 3.Renewal, redevelopment, and maintenance of urban sys-
tems present an entry point to integrate or align with emerging risks and to
change scenarios - through iterative learning. These entry points are essential
to overcome the aversion to uncertainty planning prevalent in existing
Long-term planning requires responding to a changing environment.
Participants emphasized the need to integrate climate goals at the con-
ceptual planning stages rather than bearing high re-investment costs
later (P8,9,10). However, new and greeneld development opportu-
nities are limited in urban regions already built up, like in the MRA, or
are incredibly dense, like in the MMR. A planning challenge for MRA
was to replace the entire City of Amsterdam, referring to a large stock of
urban infrastructure waiting to be renewed that can potentially become
resilient (P14). Similarly, MMR's routine planning is dominated by
redevelopment projects which present a lucrative opportunity to review
old regulations and adopt a new perspective to manage uncertainties
expected in the lifecycle of a system (P5, P34). However, MRA and MMR
participants critique that planning encourages experimentation and
empowers errors essential to nurturing innovation (P7, P33). Hence,
renewal, redevelopment, and maintenance of projects or individual
urban systems become entry points to integrate new variables and
5.4. Proposition 4: on overall planning responses
Proposition 4.Mainstreaming climate in long-term urban planning re-
quires that cities present multiple urbanization strategies within formal
planning documents that can proactively adapt based on changing scenarios.
The Methodological approach to urban planning under uncertainty
proposes consideration of the full range of future scenarios to manage
unforeseen changes and offer appropriate responses (ref. Section 2.2).
Variations in strategies may include reconguring and recombining
planning responses for different urban systems that require different
degrees of ‘transitional,‘incremental, and ‘transformationalchanges.
MRA adopts this by proposing multiple strategies for individual
urban systems like water, energy, and transport, anticipating future
changes. However, the nal urbanization strategy that brings these
S. Krishnan et al.
Cities 141 (2023) 104464
systems together is one master plan. The xed master planning regime
does not possess the exibility to update plans for multiple degrees of
‘transitional, ‘incremental, and ‘transformative changes (Chelleri
et al., 2015). MRA also benets from well-researched climate scenarios,
leading to a single climate adaptation strategy.
MMR plans for a single scenario without anticipating any variation,
which goes against long-term thinking as an evolving process open to
changes. Long-term planning under climate change will require
considering changing futures and their impacts on different urban sys-
tems based on their lifecycles. These can be developed using a combi-
nation of Predictive (forward-looking) and Normative (inverse-looking)
approaches to planning. For instance, cities can adopt predictive ap-
proaches to plan for changing capacities of Networks like energy and
mobility. Normative approaches can be adopted to preserve Natural
Resources in the same state for the future.
6. Conclusion
The need to plan for uncertain futures has led to the realization that
planning theory must present methods to systematically integrate
rapidly changing insights. In this study, we take the rst steps towards
an enhanced understanding of long-term urban planning for climate
uncertainty. We develop a conceptual framework (Fig. 2) that bridges
two critical streams of literature essential to future urban planning:
Urban Resilience Principles (Section 2.1) and Approaches to Urban Planning
Under Uncertainty (Section 2.2). To develop the conceptual framework,
we draw upon the sprawling academic literature on urban resilience and
the limited literature on planning approaches under uncertainty. We
connect the two theories by systematically assessing how they manifest
in space through Planning Responses and their impacts on Urban Systems.
We use the conceptual framework to analyse two case studies.
We use an exploratory approach to derive insights from 39 in-
terviews with senior practitioners across two contrasting case studies
from the Global North (Metropolitan Region of Amsterdam (MRA)) and
Global South (Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR)) that offer contex-
tual, theoretical, and geographical variations to address the gap in
planning. An exploratory approach provides initial insights into plan-
ning patterns and formulates propositions for future investigations into
other case studies. We then use systematic analysis to unpack the
thinking processes behind climate-related planning responses, chal-
lenges, opportunities, and planning values that are similar and
To connect theoretical and empirical ndings in a scientically
robust manner, we use a Multi-case analysis together with Systematic
Combining. It enables deriving detailed insights on the knowledge and
procedural aspects of using resilience theories and approaches for
planning under uncertainty (see Figs. 6, 7).
The cross-case analysis illustrates the need to integrate long-term
climate goals at the regional scale. Participants in both cases criticized
the lack of exibility in the planning process and the low mentions of
uncertainty. The dissimilarities lay in the level of maturity of planning,
capacity gaps, the absence of well-researched climate scenarios, and the
debate between outcome-oriented and open-ended planning.
Based on theoretical and empirical ndings, we formulate four
propositions to reect on the current gaps for a theory on long-term
urban planning under climate uncertainty that focus on:
Bringing exibility in planning processes to integrate changing var-
iables for long-term planning continuously.
Resolving spatial trade-offs among resilience principles that have
opposite impacts in space for long-term urban planning strategies to
work (such as between achieving Robustness versus Flexibility).
Renewal, redevelopment, and maintenance of urban systems as an
entry point to integrate or align with emerging risks.
Drafting multiple urbanization strategies within formal planning
documents that can be proactively adapted based on changing
Implications for Urban Resilience and Planning Under Uncertainty.
Participant P17 mentions that As an operative notion, resilience is
extremely useful because it forces you to embrace complexity and
unpredictability in urban planning. Although resilience theory has
evolved into a global discourse, most literature continues to emerge
from a Global North point of view that has beneted from a well-
structured, standardized approach to planning (Marin, 2021). In
conclusion, we hope this study contributes to advancing the conceptual
understanding of resilience and uncertainty using place-based research
in the Global North and South.
6.1. Future research
The study's exploratory nature is a starting point to formulate broad
propositions that can be used to investigate other case studies using the
conceptual framework. The study acknowledges that each planning
context is unique and requires different resilience and uncertainty ap-
proaches, enabling researchers to test further the propositions presented
in this study and to reinforce a theory for long-term urban planning.
Expanding this study to more case studies will be necessary to arrive at a
generalizable understanding of integrating resilience in urban planning
for climate uncertainty. Concerning planning for uncertainty, a key line
of inquiry is temporal dynamics in urban planning and how that differs
between the GN and GS to enable strategies and implementation of long-
term goals. An additional line of work would be to dive deeper into
spatial aspects using long-term urban scenario building, combining
theoretical and real-world insights. This can enable the drafting of dy-
namic urbanization strategies that can adapt over time.
CRediT authorship contribution statement
Supriya Krishnan: Conceptualization, Methodology, Software,
Formal analysis, Writing original draft, Writing review & editing,
Visualization. Nazli Yonca Aydin: Conceptualization, Methodology,
Supervision, Writing review & editing, Project administration, Re-
sources. Tina Comes: Conceptualization, Methodology, Supervision,
Writing review & editing, Project administration, Resources, Funding
Declaration of competing interest
There are no competing interests to declare.
Data availability
The data that has been used is condential.
This research emerges from the project ‘The Future Groundat the
Resilience Lab, TU Delft. We thank the interview participants who
devoted their time and shared their insights online during the chal-
lenging Covid-19 pandemic. The views expressed in this paper are in the
author's capacity and do not represent the views of participants' in-
stitutions. We want to acknowledge the contribution of Emily Ryan &
Dimitrios Symeonidis (TU Delft, Netherlands), Anusha Bellapu (Urban
Fellow, IIHS, India), and Sujhatha Arulkumar (Public Policy Scholar, IIM
Ranchi, India) in assisting with the qualitative coding of the interviews.
S. Krishnan et al.
Cities 141 (2023) 104464
Appendix A. Process of identifying academic literature on urban resilience ‘planning frameworks (Accessed on: 30 Nov 2021)
Fig. 9. Process of literature review to identify papers on urban resilience ‘planning frameworks that provide guiding knowledge (such as resilience principles),
which must be translated into appropriate planning responses. The search string is expanded to include ‘urban climate adaptation as it is sometimes used inter-
changeably with ‘urban resilience.
Appendix B. List of selected academic papers on Urban Resilience Planning frameworks and the Resilience Principles they discuss Year Document Ref. Urban Resilience Principles mentioned in relation to urban planning
Adaptivity Buffer Connectivity Diversity Efciency Flexibility Innovation
1 2003 (Godschalk, 2003) Y Y Y
2 2011 (Leichenko, 2011) Y Y Y
3 2011 (Chelleri, 2012) Y
4 2012 (Wilkinson, 2012) Y Y Y Y
5 2012 (Tyler & Moench, 2012) Y Y
6 2012 (Liao, 2012) Y Y
7 2013 (Davoudi et al., 2013) Y Y
8 2013 (Desouza & Flanery, 2013) Y Y Y
9 2013 (Collier et al., 2013) Y
10 2013 (Jabareen, 2013) Y Y Y
11 2014 (Galderisi, 2014) Y Y Y Y Y
12 2014 (Marcus & Colding, 2014) Y Y
13 2016 (Tabibian & Movahed, 2016) Y Y
14 2016 (Meerow et al., 2016) Y Y Y Y
15 2016 (Kim & Lim, 2016) Y Y Y Y Y
16 2016 (Dhar & Khirfan, 2017) Y Y Y Y Y
17 2018 (Shari & Yamagata, 2018) Y Y Y Y Y
(continued on next page)
S. Krishnan et al.
Cities 141 (2023) 104464
(continued) Year Document Ref. Urban Resilience Principles mentioned in relation to urban planning
Adaptivity Buffer Connectivity Diversity Efciency Flexibility Innovation
18 2018 (Wardekker, 2018) Y Y Y Y Y
19 2019 (Ribeiro and Gon, 2019) Y Y Y Y Y
20 2020 (Lak et al., 2020) Y Y Y Y Y
Modular Multiscalar Multifunc. Redundancy Robust Self org
1 2003 (Godschalk, 2003) Y Y Y
2 2011 (Leichenko, 2011)
3 2011 (Chelleri, 2012) Y Y Y Y
4 2012 (Wilkinson, 2012) Y Y Y Y
5 2012 (Tyler & Moench, 2012) Y Y Y
6 2012 (Liao, 2012) Y Y
7 2013 (Davoudi et al., 2013) Y
8 2013 (Desouza & Flanery, 2013) Y
9 2013 (Collier et al., 2013) Y
10 2013 (Jabareen, 2013) Y
11 2014 (Galderisi, 2014) Y Y
12 2014 (Marcus & Colding, 2014) Y Y
13 2016 (Tabibian & Movahed, 2016)
14 2016 (Meerow et al., 2016) Y Y
15 2016 (Kim & Lim, 2016) Y Y
16 2016 (Dhar & Khirfan, 2017) Y
17 2018 (Shari & Yamagata, 2018) Y Y Y Y
18 2018 (Wardekker, 2018) Y Y Y
19 2019 (Ribeiro & Gonçalves, 2019) Y Y
20 2020 (Lak et al., 2020) Y Y
Appendix C. List of Planning Documents assessed for each case study as explained in Section 3.2 and Fig. 5 (Date of Access: 15 January
Case Study 1: Metropolitan Region of Amsterdam (MRA)
(a) Strategie Klimaatadaptatie Amsterdam (Feb 2020)/
(b) Structuurvisie Amsterdam 2040 (Feb 2011)/
(c) MRA Urbanization Concept, Metropolitan Region of Amsterdam (Nov 2011)/
(d) Metropoolregio Amsterdam Klimaatbestendig/(Action Plan) (2020)/
Case Study 2: Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR)
(a) Regional Plan for the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (Apr 2021) &
(b) Development Plan for Greater Mumbai 2014-34 (2014)/
(c) Maharashtra State Adaptation Action Plan on Climate Change (2014)/
(d) Disaster Risk Management Master Plan Mumbai (2009)/
Appendix D. Interview protocol
1. Introduction [5
(a) Introductions and overview of the research.
(b) Major climate-related projects and the participants' role in it.
2. Climate-related planning responses and sectoral focus (selection from the following questions based on the participant's background) [15
(a) Perception and integration of climate in urban planning over the years.
(b) Regions in focus for planning and renewal projects.
(c) Knowledge sources and scenarios used.
(d) How to spur urban reforms that are climate resilient?
(e) At what spatial scale can these be translated as projects?
3. Long-term thinking (beyond the current planning timelines [5]
(a) Time horizons for planning.
(b) Adopting an uncertainty perspective in a complex context.
4. Planning variables and values [10
S. Krishnan et al.
Cities 141 (2023) 104464
(a) Key drivers of growth.
(b) Institutional preferences and biases.
(c) Reections from leading and implementing key projects.
5. Knowledge gaps and institutional challenges [10
(a) Issues with the current master planning process.
(b) Big knowledge gaps in long-term planning decisions for land use and infrastructure.
(c) Regulatory and policy challenges.
(d) Requirements and constraints for planners.
6. Looking ahead [10
(a) Future vision and issues not addressed.
(b) Successful and unsuccessful examples.
7. Wrapping up [5
(a) Room for additional questions and comments.
(b) Anything off the record? (not included in the analysis).
(c) Other experts to connect with.
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Objective To review empirical studies that assess saturation in qualitative research in order to identify sample sizes for saturation, strategies used to assess saturation, and guidance we can draw from these studies. Methods We conducted a systematic review of four databases to identify studies empirically assessing sample sizes for saturation in qualitative research, supplemented by searching citing articles and reference lists. Results We identified 23 articles that used empirical data (n = 17) or statistical modeling (n = 6) to assess saturation. Studies using empirical data reached saturation within a narrow range of interviews (9–17) or focus group discussions (4–8), particularly those with relatively homogenous study populations and narrowly defined objectives. Most studies had a relatively homogenous study population and assessed code saturation; the few outliers (e.g., multi-country research, meta-themes, “code meaning” saturation) needed larger samples for saturation. Conclusions Despite varied research topics and approaches to assessing saturation, studies converged on a relatively consistent sample size for saturation for commonly used qualitative research methods. However, these findings apply to certain types of studies. These results provide strong empirical guidance on effective sample sizes for qualitative research, which can be used in conjunction with the characteristics of individual studies to estimate an appropriate sample size prior to data collection. This synthesis also provides an important resource for researchers, academic journals, journal reviewers, ethical review boards, and funding agencies to facilitate greater transparency in justifying and reporting sample sizes in qualitative research. Future empirical research is needed to explore how various parameters affect sample sizes for saturation.
The resilience of cities, regions and other territorial scales is defined by various conceptual frameworks and has since the 2000s constituted a growing scientific and technical field. Although literature points out the difficulty of implementing such a vague and ambiguous concept, a range of metrics, methodological frameworks and principles have emerged, using tools like composite indicators, qualitative assessment or stochastic modelling. Among these models some have been applied globally over the last ten years, for e.g. the City Resilience Framework developed for the 100 Resilient Cities network. This article proposes a discussion of these global resilience models in order to contribute to our understanding of how they are constructed, how they function, and their potential to transform territories. By using literature review and qualitative content analysis, four axes of inquiry are developed: translations and adaptations of the notion of resilience within hegemonic networks; socio-technical markers of resilience models; resilience as a device of neoliberal governmentality; the position of Latin America within the production of knowledge concerning resilience. This manuscript main contribution is to put into question some gaps or biases in our scientific outputs and models that we might be reproducing or legitimating, and that are worth cross-examine. Three key findings are: Evidenced biases in disciplinary associations of resilience; Evidenced gaps in using closed-form of modelling resilience that invisibilize important assumptions of territories and despolitize the concept; The North-South divide resilience knowledge production is not only quantitative but also expressed in the core of models and tools.
This essay sharpens and refreshes the multi-case theory-building approach, sometimes termed The “Eisenhardt Method.” The Method’s singular aim is theory building, especially with multiple cases and theoretical logic. Its defining features (e.g. research questions without obvious answers, careful case selection, well-identified constructs and relationships, theoretical arguments, boundary conditions) reflect this aim. I begin with the influence of the 1980s, including grounded theorizing and case logic. Relying on exemplars, I illustrate the Method’s defining features. I also address common misconceptions (e.g. types of data, number of cases, performance emphasis). These miss the Method’s essence and imply a rigid template that does not exist. Instead, the Method’s relatively few defining features enable a wide variety of research possibilities. I conclude with what I would write today like a richer palette of research choices, more emphasis on time, and flexible philosophy of science. Yet the core message of theory building would remain.
This is a unique book that provides rich knowledge on how to understand and actively contribute to urban sustainability transitions. The book combines theoretical frameworks and tools with practical experiences on transition management as a framework that supports urban planning and governance towards sustainability. The book offers the opportunity to become actively engaged in working towards sustainable futures of cities. Readers of this book will be equipped to understand the complexity of urban sustainability transitions and diagnose persistent unsustainability problems in cities. Urban planners and professionals will build competences for designing transition management processes in cities and engaging with multidisciplinary knowledge in solution-seeking processes.The heart of the book marks the variety of very different local case studies across the world – including, amongst others, Rotterdam in the Netherlands, La Botija in Honduras, Sydney in Australia and Cleveland in the US. These rich studies give inspiration and practical insights to young planners on how to create sustainable urban futures in collaboration with other stakeholders. The case studies and critical reflections on applications of transition management in cities offer food for thought and welcome criticism. They also introduce new lenses to understand the bigger picture that co-creation dynamics play in terms of power, (dis-)empowerment, legitimacy and changing actor roles. This will equip the readers with a deep understanding of the dynamics, opportunities and challenges present in urban contexts and urban sustainability transitions.
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