There is an increasing number of academic work produced on the salient term ‘resilience’ that seems to be replacing the term ‘sustainability’. The complexity of the term’s further conceptualisation goes along with that of its actual realisation. It is essential that tools, which are being developed for the quick and efficient responsiveness of cities towards for example crises, disasters and terrorism, come under scrutiny.
Therefore, the paper will focus on the following: Firstly, in the legal and social context, resilience needs to be considered as part of policies that will consider justice and fairness in the decision-making processes and the equal distribution of benefits and problems. Secondly, translating theory into practice, resilience needs to be discussed and translated into policies, considering the huge underlying socio-economic disparities and the landscape of uneven development in the big cities. Reproducing unevenness while carrying out projects of urban resilience, jeopardises the future of cities’ smooth development and functionability. Looking at the other side of the coin, only when strategies towards resilient cities include the less privileged groups, would make more sense because in times of crisis (floods etc) those are most affected. Thirdly, it is of utmost importance while actualising resilience to bring together scholars and practitioners from diverse disciplines, as only then an action plan will be an all-encompassing set of expectations.
The paper aspires to contribute to the literature on addressing legal and socio-political matters and to normatively analyse resilience to help build bridges to policy practices. In doing so, it responds to a current challenge scholars face in developing a theoretical framework covering a variety of dimensions. It looks into the subject in a multi-disciplinary way – addressing legal, socio-political and engineering aspects – also reflecting the profile of the research team.