Cities currently host more than half of the world population, a number which is projected to continue to rise. Urban centres also create large percentages of national gross domestic product (GDP) and are important sources of employment but also generate large proportions of national greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change and fast technological progress, among other factors, will bring considerable challenges for urban policy-makers and implementers. They will need to be able to keep pace with the unforeseeable and a future that will be significantly different from past experience, while also aiming to maintain and increase liveability and social well-being. This is leading local, state and national governments as well as international organisations to start developing and implementing resilience policies. However, what it is meant by “resilience” might be significantly different in each case, making comparison of policies and proposals a complex issue. To complicate things even further, in addition to the many established definitions of the term which have been coined over the years, many policies and academic publications on the topic lack a clear definition of the type of resilience they seek to address.
The present work explores some established resilience concepts and their policy implications as well as the new concept of sustainable resilience. This publication then explores the question of whether some forms of resilience are more sustainable than other from an urban policy perspective.