PhD Dissertation: Enhancing urban and infrastructure resilience: An institutional perspective

Their high population densities, architectural structures, economic importance and geographical location (for instance, on deltas) make cities particularly vulnerable to various threats such as those deriving from climate change, terrorist attacks or natural hazards. Adding to their vulnerability is the risk of failures cascading through coupled infrastructure systems and across sectoral and territorial boundaries. So, city managers, urban planners and infrastructure providers increasingly have to plan for risk, crisis and uncertainty.

This study of the cities of Rotterdam in the Netherlands and Christchurch in New Zealand show that cities are still institutionally ill equipped to significantly enhance their resilience – their capacities to resist, recover and adapt. The study reveals that adaptive and networked governance strategies to enhance resilience are often impeded by formal regulations, legislation, informal traditions and work routines, and the allocation of resources.

These general framework conditions support developing knowledge on urban and infrastructure resilience in parallel and organising and keeping contingency and risk management in “silos” (i.e. within sectors and administrative areas); moreover, they hamper the sharing of knowledge and information between different governance levels. The study’s findings suggest that to overcome these problems, there should be formal legal reforms to complement informal approaches to stimulate adaptive and networked governance. Furthermore, national and regional governments should be more proactive in institutionalising urban and infrastructure resilience.

Start date and time
End date and time
Academiegebouw, Domplein 29
PhD candidate
Andreas Huck MSc
PhD supervisor(s)
Prof. Dr. J. Monstadt
Prof. Dr. P.P.J. Driessen
Prof. Dr. A. Rudolph-Cleff