UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction


Jeremy Reynolds

Learning from organisations regarding adaptive capacity and their relevance to urban resilience planning

Adaptability within organisations has been described as “being able to adapt to the requirements of the environment and being able to manage the environment’s variability” (McDonald, 2006) and “the capacity to continuous reconstruction” (Hamel and Valikangas, 2003). This aspect also appears relevant to urban resilience planning, and a city’s “ability to withstand a wide array of shocks and stresses“ (Leichenko, 2011).  However, the extent to which adaptive capacity is, or could be, connected to urban resilience is ambiguous. The purpose of this research is to investigate if good organisational practice in adaptive capacity has significant lessons for urban resilience planning.  It is expected that horizon scanning, risk management, attention to signals and  learning of lessons will form part of the answer.  The research is currently focussed on London and its ambition to be a “resilient city” (London City Resilience Strategy, Greater London Authority, 2020).