Measuring Resilience in the Assumed City

Wesley Cheek, Ksenia Chmutina*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
32 Downloads (Pure)


The malleable nature of both the idea of a city and the idea of resilience raises an important question—why measure? Resilience is assumed to be located in the physical infrastructure of specific places or as a quality of the people located there. For disasters, we are often trying to conceptualize, measure, or render legible resilience in physical structures. But what is it that we are trying to measure, and is the idea of a city reflected in these measurements? If cities are organized around something other than resilience, is resilience their natural by-product? What is necessitating the need for increased—and measured—resilience? Using interpretive policy analysis, we explored five well known disaster resilience frameworks (UNDRR’s Making Cities Resilient Campaign, UN-Habitat’s City Resilience Profiling Programme, The World Bank and GFDRR’s Resilient Cities Program, Arup and The Rockefeller Foundation’s City Resilience Index, and The Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities) to identify the working definition of “city” and of “resilience.” We conclude that if the demand for cities to become more resilient is an acknowledgment of the risk produced by globalized urbanization, then the call itself is an indictment of the current state of our cities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-329
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Science
Issue number3
Early online date29 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022


  • City planning and design
  • Disaster governance
  • Resilience frameworks
  • Urban theory


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