How to Demarcate Resilience? A Reflection on Reviews in Disaster Resilience Research

  • Maike VollmerEmail author
  • Gerald WaltherEmail author
Part of the The Urban Book Series book series (UBS)


Resilience has emerged as one of the major buzzwords for political and academic discussions that pertain to a constant well-being and functioning of societies and infrastructures. While the term has led to the emergence of various initiatives and funding schemes, the diversity of different concepts of resilience and its utility is quite large. The chapter reflects on several reviews that have recently been conducted to analyze the different ways of defining and conceptualizing resilience. Most of these reviews have been performed within current projects on disaster resilience that are funded by the European Commission. The discussion of these reviews serves to highlight overlapping but also potentially conflicting elements within the resilience discussions. Particularly, four questions are addressed within the discussion: (1) Does being resilient mean to be able to “bounce back”, or to adapt? (2) Who or what is resilient? (3) Does resilience target protection against unknown or known threats? And (4) what are boundaries of resilience to related concepts? The chapter then identifies overlap with similar terms such as risk management to provide possible ways forward and strengths and weaknesses of various approaches. It is thus a starting guide for scientists, policymakers, and other relevant stakeholders on how to ensure that resilience can be transformed into a concept that is open yet consistent enough to enable its operationalization.


Resilience Definition Concept Review Disaster resilience 



The contribution is based on the Grant Agreement No. 700621 supporting the work on the SmartResilience project provided by the Research Executive Agency (REA) (‘the Agency’), under the power delegated by the European Commission (‘the Commission’). This support is gladly acknowledged here, as well as the collaboration of all the partners and their representatives (persons) involved.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fraunhofer Institute for Technological Trend Analysis INTEuskirchenGermany

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