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Nature for Resilience? The Politics of Governing Urban Nature

Tozer, Laura; Bulkeley, Harriet; Kiss, Bernadett; Luque-Ayala, Andrés; Voytenko Palgan, Yuliya; McCormick, Kes; Wamsler, Christine

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Laura Tozer

Bernadett Kiss

Yuliya Voytenko Palgan

Kes McCormick

Christine Wamsler


Transcending initial efforts to make cities ‘climate smart’ by focusing on the potential of new technologies and infrastructural interventions, various actors are increasingly interested in deploying nature to help achieve urban resilience. In this context, rather than taking resilience as a given property of particular systems or entities, it is important to examine why, how, with what implications, and for whom resilience is being enacted. We examine how and why nature-based solutions are being mobilised as a means for governing the resilience of cities and what this means for the ways in which urban resilience is imagined and enacted by different actors. Recognising that behind different approaches to resilience are diverse ways of valuing nature, we identify four value positions through which nature comes to be understood, given meaning, form, and purpose. Drawing on systematic document analysis and 66 interviews from Cape Town, Mexico City, and Melbourne, we discuss how these four value positions of nature are manifested in nature-based interventions for resilience, as well as the implications both for the politics of resilience interventions and the opportunities for enabling social benefit through nature-based solutions. We find that the integration of intrinsic values for nature opens opportunities for nature-based solutions to enable social benefits through an increased focus on the means through which they are implemented. We conclude that urban-nature-as-resilience interventions serve to embed values and the socio-natures they produce within the city, creating fundamentally different consequences for the forms and politics of nature-based interventions designed to realise urban resilience.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 27, 2022
Online Publication Date Nov 2, 2022
Publication Date 2023
Deposit Date Sep 22, 2022
Publicly Available Date Nov 3, 2023
Journal Annals of the American Association of Geographers
Print ISSN 2469-4452
Electronic ISSN 2469-4460
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 1113
Issue 3
Pages 599-615
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Accepted Journal Article (327 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
This is an Accepted Manuscript version of the following article, accepted for publication in Annals of the American Association of Geographers. Tozer, Laura, Bulkeley, Harriet, Kiss, Bernadett, Luque-Ayala, Andrés, Voytenko Palgan, Yuliya, McCormick, Kes & Wamsler, Christine (2023). Nature for Resilience? The Politics of Governing Urban Nature. Annals of the American Association of Geographers 113(3): 599-615. It is deposited under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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