treat quality of life as a by-product or an ‘after-effect’ of policy intervention.”12 Broadening the sphere of official concern from a narrow focus on GDP measures to adopting indicators of resilience and well-being (see p. 89) captures the (many) other values – like having a voice in shaping the future of one’s city, belonging to supportive communities, etc. – that have a direct impact on the success of a policy. Creatively (re-) using infrastructure, designing multi-use destinations, and encouraging shared learning (see Long Time, No See, p. 37) enhance a city’s physical experience – the quality of its lived experience in particular – and provide greater access to spaces for collective action. For Samuel Jones and Melissa Mean, authors of the Resilient Places report, local authorities should consider developing measurement tools like a “resilience of place” index to understand their evolving needs and to better support their capacity for self-organization. They write: “The resilience of place provides a more useful gauge of how our towns and cities are faring because it recognizes that places are not static, but instead are dynamic and change over time.”13 When managed well, transparent, responsive governance frameworks can enable a wide range of bottom-up activities that lead to improved human well-being and contribute to a more holistic understanding of social innovation – one that incorporates environmental concerns into a framework for participatory governance that turns cities into holistic and collaborative hubs of socio-ecological resilience. Once again, local culture and creativity will have to be acknowledged as integral parts of the process as they, too, are highly changeable factors connected to personal expression, collective identity, and civic engagement.
Without open spaces for community organizing, in fact, there is brittleness. Creative tools like participatory vulnerability assessments and civic storytelling, can instead enable the co-production of resilience outcomes and ensure the successful transition from what author Nick Wilding calls “break even communities” to “breakthrough communities” – places that anticipate and respond to shocks by taking coordinated action toward a commonly agreed to vision of a better future14 . After all, to adapt is to exercise creativity, and the ability to collaboratively respond to change may just be the most important skill a community needs to deal with today’s (and tomorrow’s) uncertainty. 12. UN-HABITAT (2012) Prosperity of Cities: State of the World’s Cities 2012-/2013 Report . Nairobi: United Nations Human Settlements Programme p. 62 13. Jones, S. and M. Mean (2010) Resilient Places: Character and Community in Everyday Heritage. London: Demos, p. 17 14. Wilding, N. (2011) Exploring Community Resilience in Time of Rapid Change, Dunfermline, UK: Carnegie UK Trust, p. 35
Quotes, in order of appearance: UN-HABITAT (2012) Prosperity of Cities: State of the World’s Cities 2012-/2013 Report. Nairobi: United Nations Human Settlements Programme, p. 104 Moench, M., S. Tyler, and J. Lage (2011) Catalyzing Urban Climate Resilience: Applying Resilience Concepts to Planning Practice in the ACCCRN Program (2009– 2011) Boulder, CO: Institute for Social and Environmental Transition, p. 125 Tyler, S. et al. (2010). Planning for Urban Climate Resilience: Framework and Examples from the Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (ACCCRN). Climate Resilience in Concept and Practice Working Paper Series. Boulder, CO: Institute for Social and Environmental Transition, p. 40 Jones, S. and M. Mean (2010) Resilient Places: Character and Community in Everyday Heritage. London: Demos, p. 44