Resilience of Urban Economic Structures Following the Great Recession
Sustainability 2021, 13(4), 2374; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13042374
11 Pages Posted: 10 Dec 2020 Last revised: 23 Feb 2021
Date Written: December 9, 2020
The future sustainability of cities is contingent on economic resilience. Yet, urban resilience is still not well understood, as cities are frequently disrupted by shocks, such as natural disasters, economic recessions, or changes in government policies. These shocks can significantly alter a city’s economic structure. Yet the term economic structure is often used metaphorically and is often not understood sufficiently by those having to implement policies. Here we operationalize the concept of economic structure as a weighted network of interdependent industry sectors. For 938 U.S. urban area, we then quantify the magnitude of change in the area’s economic structure over time, focusing on changes associated with the 2007-2009 global recession. The result is a novel method of analyzing urban change over time as well as a typology of U.S. urban systems based on how their economic structures responded to the recession. We further compare those urban types to changes in economic performance during the recession to explore each structural type's adaptive capacity. Results suggest that cities that undergo constant but measured change are best positioned to weather the impacts of economic shocks.
Keywords: urban resilience, development, economic structure, interdependence, economic shocks
JEL Classification: O10, O40, O51, L00, J01
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