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Creative Destruction and Social Innovation dynamics comparison: San Juan, Puerto-Rico (US) and Barcelona.
* 1, 2 , 3 , 4 , 5
1  Urban Studies and Economics Department, Queens College, CUNY
2  Action Without Borders Project, Social Habitat Work Programme, International Union of Architects
3  Economics Department, Queens College, CUNY
4  Urban Planning Department, Universidad de Puerto-Rico
5  Universidad de Puerto Rico, Ríos Piedras


Marcus and Colding (2014) and Soane et al. (2012) have argued for the need to use the adaptive cycle theory as a conceptual tool of analysis and approach focusing on urban systems behavior. This heuristic focuses on Gunderson & Holling’s (2002) adaptive cycle and panarchy theory[1], which divides the dynamics and resilience of social-ecological systems (SES) in two distinct loops: the front-loop, which includes growth and conservation phases, and the back-loop, which includes collapse, and reorganization phases. Most recently, Herrmann et al. (2016) have used the tool to compare the growth and collapse of cities, highlighting the complementarities of the two loops, as well as their time and spatial dimensions.

Despite these recent developments on research have seldom used Holling’s adaptive cycle theory to examine the dynamics and resilience of urban planning (Marcus and Colding 2014, and Schlappa and Neill 2013). In particular, the novelty is to focus on real estate and its associated policy when analyzing a city’s adaptive cycle. We use the adaptive cycle theory to improve our understanding of cycles of urban hazards and change and offer a powerful narrative with practical implications for better understanding the vulnerabilities and windows of opportunity of these dynamics.

The objective is to contribute to bridge theory and practice and consolidate the use of Resilience Thinking as a methodology to identify thresholds for urban change, analyze urban SES evolutionary dynamics, and forecast forthcoming SES dynamic processes for community resilience. We use the methodologies and tools developed by the resilient thinking concept to conduct and compare two parallel SES dynamics and their evolution using empirical case studies such as the city of San Juan, Puerto-Rico, US and Barcelona, Spain after systemic crisis.

[1] Holling, C. S., & Gunderson, L. H. (Eds.). (2002). Panarchy: understanding transformations in human and natural systems. Island Press.

Keywords: Panarchy, Commons, Resilience Thinking, Adaptive Cycle, Creative Destruction, Urban Crisis, Self-learning, Diversity, Social-ecological Systems, urban dynamics, Transformatio