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Jon Coaffee

Jon Coaffee

Professor Jon Coaffee holds a Chair in Spatial Planning and Urban Resilience at the University of Birmingham. His work has focused upon the interplay of physical and socio-political aspects of resilience. He has published widely especially on the impact of terrorism and other security concerns on the functioning of urban areas. This work has been published in multiple disciplinary areas such as geography, town planning, political science, sports studies and civil engineering. Most notable he published Terrorism Risk and the City (2003), The Everyday Resilience of the City (2008); Terrorism Risk and the Global City: Towards Urban Resilience (2009) and Sustaining and Securing the Olympic City (2011).

>> www.birmingham.ac.uk
>> J.Coaffee@Bham.ac.uk

Abstract

Urban Resilience: Spatial Planning and the Shock-Proof City

This paper examines the changing role and remit of UK resilience politics and polity since 2000. Drawing on emerging theories of urban resilience and spatial planning, upon a range of conceptualisations of such practices as anticipatory, pre-emptive and responsibilising, and from prior and ongoing empirical research investigating the changing dimensions of a range of resilience policies as they roll out in practice, this paper charts the emergence and progression of different 'waves' of resilience policy over the last decade. Specifically it argues that changing practices of resilience have emerged as both a function of time, and in relation to a range of changing socio-political and economic pressures which has rearticulated the meaning and operational role of resilience. Emerging in the UK predominantly as a policy connected to countering the threat of international terrorism post 9/11, resilience has expanded as a policy metaphor and as a way of embedding foresight into a variety of local place making activities. After addressing how the political rhetoric of resilience has been used in a variety of seemingly loosely related practices, with resultant urban geo-political impacts, the paper will conclude by reflecting upon the multiple uses of the term in planning practice. Questions will also be raised about the usefulness of resilience as the central organising concept used for depicting how social and economic systems respond to contemporary and future crises and over what form the next generation of resiliency practices might take.

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