PUBLICATION Journal article

Placing Urban Renewal in the Context of the Resilience Adaptive Cycle

Resilience thinking provides valuable insights into the dynamics of complex adaptive systems. To achieve resilience in urban systems, it can be fruitful to delve into the intricacies ofresilience processes. This paper theorizes about how the specific characteristics of resilient systems can be integrated into the spatial design of cities. Emphasizing the importance of the built form and spatial systems in maintaining order within urban processes, we focus on how adaptive renewal cycles can be applied to various systems and dimensions where urban change, adaptation, and renewal occur. The paper identifies key resilient system characteristics applicable to urban spatial form and contextualizes urban renewal within the adaptive renewal cycle—a framework originally developed to capture temporal and spatial ecosystem dynamics. We integrate insights within ‘space syntax theory’, theorizing about how cities renew themselves over space and time. We discuss instances of ‘compressed resilience’ and the challenges posed by the ‘tyranny of small decisions’ in  urban planning and development. In conclusion, we identify future research directions in the theoryof spatial morphology and resilient urban systems, emphasizing the need for a deeper understanding of the interplay between urban processes, urban form, resilience, and adaptive renewal.

Keywords: compressed resilience, resilience, space syntax theory, spatial morphology, the adaptive renewal cycle, urban renewal

Marcus. L. and J. Colding. 2024. Placing Urban Renewal in the Context of the Resilience Adaptive Cycle. Land 13(1), 8.