Human Ecology

, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 129–143 | Cite as

Defining Spaces of Resilience within the Neoliberal Paradigm: Could French Land Use Classifications Guide Support for Risk Management Within an Australian Regional Context?

  • Douglas K. BardsleyEmail author
  • Pierre Pech


An effective response to future risk within socio-ecosystems will require the retention of local diversity, not just in more vulnerable communities on the margins but also in regions vital to industrialised countries. A case study is presented that examines agroecosystem vulnerability to climate change within an Australian multifunctional rural landscape adjacent to the city of Adelaide. The dominant neoliberal governance approach is struggling to account for the levels of risk apparent in the region, even though there is considerable evidence that changes in policy and practice are required. Land use planning mechanisms can explicitly and implicitly support adaptation to risk within vital agroecosystems by defining spaces of complexity and experimentation. A review of French land use policy suggests that appropriate classifications can facilitate support for local diversity and broaden the capacity of farming systems to adapt to risk. Such classifications of spaces valuable for socio-ecological resilience and innovation could become vital tools to integrate into neoliberal governance systems to support anticipatory adaptation to future socio-ecological risk.


Risk Agriculture Climate change Land use planning South Australia France 



Many people assisted with this research at different times, with important support from Geoff Rogers, Susan Sweeney and Craig Liddicoat. We would also like to thank Christine Crothers for developing the map. Funding to support this research was provided by The University of Adelaide, the BEGI Business Chair of the University of Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne, the Eiffage Group, and the Australian Government through the Australian Greenhouse Office in the Department of the Environment and Water Resources.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.University Paris 1 Pantheon-SorbonneParisFrance

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