Governing the resilient city: An empirical analysis of governing techniques

Sabrina Huizenga*, Lieke Oldenhof, Hester van de Bovenkamp, Roland Bal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
41 Downloads (Pure)


Resilience is increasingly used as a new discourse for dealing with future shocks, crises and transition in urban governance. Although embraced in policy and academia, resilience is also severely critiqued as a continuation of neo-liberal thinking. To avoid the trap of imposing a meta-narrative on resilience, we argue that resilience should be treated as a ‘matter of empirics’. Using a governmentality lens, we empirically investigate how the resilient city is governed in practice. Based on a multi-sited ethnography of resilience within the city of Rotterdam that joined the 100-RC initiative pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation, we identify five governing techniques: anticipating, transcending, laboratizing, monitoring and responsibilizing. Our analysis shows that resilience discourse has the potential to be both progressive and cruel, depending on the techniques used and the interactions between them. Hence, how resilience is shaped not only depends on the individual techniques but also on their entanglements in practice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104237
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was partly funded by the NWA -agenda ‘Towards resilient societies’ and has been written as part of the first authors PhD research ‘caring for the city’ which foregrounds different experimental sites in the city.

Publisher Copyright: © 2023 The Authors


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