Design for change: five proxies for resilience in the urban form

Alessandra Feliciotti, Ombretta Romice, Sergio Porta

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The sheer complexity and unpredictability characterizing cities challenges the adequacy of existing disciplinary knowledge and tools in urban design and highlights the necessity to incorporate explicitly the element of change and the dimension of time in the understanding of, and intervention on, the form of cities. To this regard the concept of resilience is a powerful lens through which to understand and engage with a changing world. However today resilience is addressed by urban designers only superficially, and an explicit effort to relate elements of urban form to resilience principles is still lacking, representing a great limit for urban designers, as form is their elective medium of intervention in the urban system. As first steps to overcome this gap, we explore in this work the combination of established knowledge in urban morphology and urban design, with knowledge developed in resilience theory and we look at the configuration of, and interdependencies between, different urban elements from the perspective of five proxies of urban form resilience, namely diversity, redundancy, modularity, connectivity and efficiency. After defining each proxy in resilience theory and in relation to urban form, we address them at five different scales which are relevant to urban morphology and urban design: plot, street edge, block, street and sanctuary area / district.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-30
Number of pages8
JournalOpen House International
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2016


  • urban design
  • resilience
  • proxies
  • urban morphology
  • urban form


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