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Urban resilience in Spanish legislative and regulatory framework
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1  Universidad Politécnica de Madrid


Nowadays, urban resilience is a broadly mentioned concept, both in scientific literature and in official documents regarding the challenges of current society. This concept will be key for the future of urban areas. However, to implement consistent and integrated policies using resilience, an inclusive perspective of the concept needs to be embedded in the regulatory framework. Therefore, the aim of this research is assessing to which extend the transposition of the concept includes an integrated approach in Spanish legal framework.

This research undertook the following analyses:

  • Identifying the reference framework documents within Spanish, European and international documents related to sustainable urban development where “urban resilience” or “resilient cities” are mentioned as core concepts.
  • Conducting a systematic data collection of the Spanish legal framework looking for texts which explicitly mention either “resilience”, “resilient(s)” or any of the reference framework documents.
  • Identifying the importance given to resilience in the legal framework, evaluating how deeply resilience is considered and assessing its use as a tool to integrate different sustainable policies.

As the results show, resilience is mostly used to address climate change and natural hazards without including references to other aspects and, when doing so, it does it in a fragmentary manner. The documents analyzed consider neither a formal definition nor the possible negative trade-offs and fail to fully integrate all the aspects of resilience as a strategy for sustainable development. The final considerations provide a few guidelines to policy decision-makers, such as including an official definition of the concept, providing funds for plans and programs which include resilience as a core strategy and implement resilience policies throughout an interdisciplinary approach that include the analysis of the consequences. This research could have the potential to be transferred to other international contexts.

Keywords: urban resilience; Spanish legislative framework; urban policies