Urban resilience: Analyzing the policies of U.S. cities. Academic Article uri icon


  • Resilience has become an important concept in urban governance, yet, the policies that cities actually adopt and implement to build resilience remain largely unknown. The lack of empirical studies on resilience policies hinders our ability to develop theory, ask new questions, and test hypotheses. The goal of this paper is to quantify and compare policies and programs of the 101 largest cities in the U.S. that tangibly affect resilience. We develop a set of resilience policies and then search government websites for evidence of adoption of those policies. To explore patterns of policy adoption, we conduct factor analysis and correlation. We find that resilience does not coalesce around any particular sets of programs. Instead, resilience is a flexible concept, modified to address local context. Substantive groupings of policies do not explain policy adoption. Different dimensions such as funding and level of needed commitment may better explain empirical patterns of policy adoption. Across cities, greater attention must be dedicated to addressing drivers of social vulnerability and climate change impacts. By examining what cities are doing and whether there are underlying patterns to the policies they pursue, we tackle basic empirical questions of how to make sense of the evolving resilience landscape.

published proceedings

  • Cities

altmetric score

  • 3.35

author list (cited authors)

  • Woodruff, S., Bowman, A., Hannibal, B., Sansom, G., & Portney, K.

citation count

  • 8

complete list of authors

  • Woodruff, Sierra||Bowman, AnnO'M||Hannibal, Bryce||Sansom, Garett||Portney, Kent

publication date

  • January 2021

published in