Equitable Resilience calls for the centering of equity within resilience and adaptation planning, emphasizing the importance of identifying, preventing, and reversing inequities in practice.

Resilience in the face of the climate crisis is critical to the adaptation of global cities and metropolitan regions as increasing climate-related disasters threaten the livelihoods and environments of the most vulnerable populations. Lawrence Vale, “The politics of resilient cities: whose resilience and whose city?” Building Research and Information 42, no. 2 (2014):191-201, https://doi.org/10.1080/09613218.2014.850602 Though resilience planning has become core to many municipal planning efforts, it has long focused on protecting infrastructure and buildings against hazards (e.g. flooding, extreme heat), while failing to fully address social inequities and exclusions. Sara Meerow, Pani Pajouhesh & Thaddeus R. Miller (2019) Social equity in urban resilience planning, Local Environment, 24:9, 793-808, DOI: 10.1080/13549839.2019.1645103

Centering equity within resilience planning is essential, to ensure new design solutions don’t reinforce existing inequities or create new ones. Ibid. Equity, however, has yet to become ingrained within practice, or even fully understood and defined across scales. The need for resilience and adaptation planning to tackle head-on issues of epistemic, procedural, and distributive justice, along with retributive justice for past harms, is increasingly urgent as we see the failures and maladaptive outcomes of climate adaptation planning. W. Neil Adger, Jouni Paavola, Saleemul Huq, 2006. “Toward Justice in Adaptation to Climate Change,” in Fairness in Adaptation to Climate Change, ed. W. Neil Adger, Jouni Paavola, Saleemul Huq, M. J. Mace (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2006) Resilience planning must aim to be transformative, repairing historical injustices while creating new just processes and foundations for vulnerable communities.

Creating more equitable approaches to urban resilience requires new forms of knowledge production, new decision-making methods, new conceptualizations of power and governance, and new urban and architectural design typologies aimed at solving the unique, highly situated challenges faced by the most vulnerable. As these innovative forms of new knowledge emerge, the Equitable Resilience Portal aims to gather these key concepts, insights, case studies, and resources on the themes of Forms of Power; Community-Based Resilience; and Resilience Practices (In-Place and Through Relocation). The portal will act as a living resource, continually evolving as this field develops in theory and in practice.

As the Equitable Resilience Portal continues to grow, we invite you to submit resources, focused on resilience and adaptation research, theory, and practice that is grounded in equity and inclusion. Content can take the form of published papers and articles, case studies, books, reports, frameworks, exhibitions, taught courses, and annotated bibliographies, among others.  Join us in building this collective resource!

Click SUBMIT to send projects to the Equitable Resilience team for review. Please follow the submission guidelines closely, and include your contact information.

About the Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism
MIT’s Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism (LCAU) is an applied research center focused on the design and planning of large-scale, complex, twenty-first century metropolitan environments. The Equitable Resilience Initiative is a multi-year research initiative undertaken by LCAU affiliated faculty and collaborators. Equitable Resilience brings to the forefront questions of equity when designing for urban resilience: How can cities prepare now for a more equitable form of future resilience? It aims to use the momentum around global resilience thinking to address social inequities as a result of climate change preparations and impacts.



Email us at lcau@mit.edu