A Typology of Resilience: Rethinking Institutions for Sustainable Development
Publication Year: 1996
Journal: Organization and Environment
Under the general rubric of sustainability, societies are now struggling with the reconciliation of the demands of human systems and the health and continuation of the biosphere that supports them. Fundamental to coping with this challenge is the creation of decision-making and management approaches that possess an ability to operate in the face of pervasive risk and uncertainty In searching for clues to ways in which to meet the challenge, it would make sense to look to areas of human experience where change and the interaction of human and natural systems have been addressed before. We examine the intellectual areas of ecology and risk, and find that the attribute of resilience is a strong theme. A three-class typology of resilience (resistance to change; change at the margins; openness and adaptation), is developed to structure the discussion and clarify the issues. We argue that, whereas the nature of the problems facing humanity demands entertaining responses across this spectrum, current institutions and policy processes appear to be locked into "type 2"—change at the margins.