A Vision for Resilient Urban Futures

Timon McPhearson, The New School
David M. Iwaniec, Georgia State University
Zoé A. Hamstead, SUNY University at Buffalo
Marta Berbés-Blázquez, Arizona State University
Elizabeth M. Cook, Barnard College
Tischa A. Muñoz-Erickson, USDA Forest Service
Lelani Mannetti, Georgia State University
Nancy B. Grimm, Arizona State University

Originally published in:

McPhearson T. et al. (2021) A Vision for Resilient Urban Futures. In: Hamstead Z.A., Iwaniec D.M., McPhearson T., Berbés-Blázquez M., Cook E.M., Muñoz-Erickson T.A. (eds) Resilient Urban Futures. The Urban Book Series. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-63131-4_12.


A fundamental systems approach is essential to advancing our understanding of how to address critical challenges caused by the intersection of urbanization and climate change. The social–ecological–technological systems (SETS) conceptual framework brings forward a systems perspective that considers the reality of cities as complex systems and provides a baseline for developing a science of, and practice for, cities. Given the urgency of issues we collectively face to improve livability, justice, sustainability, and resilience in cities, bringing a systems approach to resilience planning and policymaking is critical, as is development of positive visions and scenarios that can provide more realistic and systemic solutions. We provide a vision for more resilient urban futures that learns from coproduced scenario development work in nine US and Latin American cities in the URExSRN. We find that developing an urban systems science that can provide actionable knowledge for decision-making is an emerging, and much needed, transdisciplinary research agenda. It will require true boundary-crossing to bring the knowledge, skills, tools, and ideas together in ways that can help achieve the normative goals and visions we have for our shared urban future.