Resilience and regions: Building understanding of the metaphor

Rolf Pendall, Kathryn A. Foster, Margaret Cowell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We survey literatures from disciplines including ecology, psychology, disaster studies, geography, political science and economics to understand how they see resilience. Some literature describes resilience as a return to conditions before a shock. Other resilience writing embraces a complex systems perspective. For other fields, resilience describes the ability of people, regions or ecosystems to thrive despite adversity. We conclude that although the resilience metaphor poses the danger of fuzziness and necessitates careful specification of space and time boundaries in studying resilience phenomena, it proves useful for illuminating regional change and linking different types of regional stresses to alternative resilience frameworks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-84
Number of pages14
JournalCambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Metaphors
  • Regionalism
  • Resilience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics


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