Understanding the notion of resilience in spatial planning: A case study of Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Peiwen Lu, Dominic Stead

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Citations (Scopus)


The notions of urban resilience and the resilient city have gained considerable attention and interest over recent years, not only in relation to environmental management but also in terms of urban planning. The notion of urban resilience is not just confined to academic discourses - it is increasingly prevalent in urban policy documents. This paper examines awareness and understanding of urban resilience in the planning policy arena in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, where planning has a long history of managing water. Specific attention in the paper is paid to the issue of climate change and how planning processes in the city consider or deal with the risks that it presents. The ways in which the city assesses and prepares for these risks or threats form the two main areas of analysis. The paper concludes that evidence of resilient thinking can be found at all levels of decision-making, ranging from the transnational to local levels. However, the notion of resilience is still quite fuzzy and its significance can vary substantially between policy officials and between policy documents, sometimes even within the same administration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-212
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Dec

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

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