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Compound urban crises

Westman, L., Patterson, J., Macrorie, R. et al. Compound urban crises. Ambio (2022).


The crises that cities face—such as climate change, pandemics, economic downturn, and racism—are tightly interlinked and cannot be addressed in isolation. This paper addresses compound urban crises as a unique type of problem, in which discrete solutions that tackle each crisis independently are insufficient. Few scholarly debates address compound urban crises and there is, to date, a lack of interdisciplinary insights to inform urban governance responses. Combining ideas from complex adaptive systems and critical urban studies, we develop a set of boundary concepts (unsettlement, unevenness, and unbounding) to understand the complexities of compound urban crises from an interdisciplinary perspective. We employ these concepts to set a research agenda on compound urban crises, highlighting multiple interconnections between urban politics and global dynamics. We conclude by suggesting how these entry points provide a theoretical anchor to develop practical insights to inform and reform urban governance.


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