Fragile Cities in the Developed World: A Conceptual Framework

Forthcoming in Cities

28 Pages Posted:

See all articles by J David Selby

J David Selby

Center for Organization Research and Design

Kevin C. Desouza

School of Management, QUT B-School; Governance Studies, Center for Technology Innovation; China Institute for Urban Governance

Date Written: November 27, 2018

Abstract

Cities, like any complex adaptive systems, may become increasingly fragile if not properly managed. To date, the literature has focused primarily on the examination of cities within fragile countries. This has resulted in a dearth of studies that have looked at how developed (or even advanced) cities that operate in relatively stable countries and/or environments might allow unresolved issues to accumulate in the city: degrading its ability to function. Studying fragility in developed cities is a worthwhile undertaking given their economic, social, and political significance. This paper puts forth a conceptual framework to understand the nature of fragile cities in the developed world. Our framework frames fragility as a function of unresolved fractures of social compacts that degrades a city’s ability to function over time and stress exacerbates its effects. Drawing on over two dozen incidents from developed cities, we ground the framework and illustrate its value.

Keywords: fragility; cities; resilience; planning; risks; crises

Suggested Citation

Selby, David and Desouza, Kevin C., Fragile Cities in the Developed World: A Conceptual Framework (November 27, 2018). Forthcoming in Cities. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=

David Selby (Contact Author)

Center for Organization Research and Design ( email )

Phoenix, AZ
United States

Kevin C. Desouza

School of Management, QUT B-School ( email )

Brisbane, Queensland 4001
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://www.kevindesouza.net

Governance Studies, Center for Technology Innovation ( email )

1755 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

China Institute for Urban Governance ( email )

Shanghai, 200030
China

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