The world faces horrendous challenges over coming generations. We as humans have become witnesses to the upheaval of the planet, very gradually coming to realise that we are the main agents of this convulsion. Life on earth, at least as we have known it, is slowly becoming untenable, with increasingly intense storm surges, inundations, heat-island effects, fires, droughts and floods. While picture postcards from various places around the globe, snapshots taken at the right angle and at the right time, continue to show a world of relatively comfortable urbanism for many, beneath the surface there is a deep unsettling of the human condition. Upheaval shakes the ground on which we walk. In this context, talk of ‘resilience’ is now the favoured approach of government and planners, yet the concept is contradictory and deceptive, and has a decided bias towards technocratic uses. This is especially evident in the example of resilience as applied to our cities and to urban development, as will be taken up later in this article and contrasted with a more vital, holistic view of human community and its needs.
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