Originated from ecology (Folke 2002), the concept of resilience is adopted by multiple fields to explain how systems respond to the sudden shocks. The adoption of this concepts also took place in literatures to complex social-ecological systems, include the city and urban system. While many scholars focus on the disasters, the effects, the strategies, the recovery process; yet, few scholars seemed to focus on resilience from system perspective such as Rotarangi and Stephenson (2014), Presad et. al., (2009) and Wilkinson (2012).
We, in this paper, use the system perspective in our effort to understand urban resilience. Using the system perspective, we examine how stresses (disasters, calamities) affect the nodes (individuals, groups of individuals) and their networks. Whether those stresses will break the nodes and the network of relations between those nodes, it’s a matter of persistence. When the nodes persist to withhold with the stress, and persist to maintain their relations, and managed to cope, we argue that the system have a certain degree of resiliency. It is a matter of degree since the persistence of nodes to maintain their presence in the network and maintain their network of relation in the system are subject to their individual properties. Understanding the role and behavior of networks of actors in a shock prone community (or spatial unit) could be important to increase the ability to prepare, anticipate, cope and recover from disasters. These are the main argument and contribution of this paper.
We use case studies from different levels of community to strengthen this argument. The first case study is an urban kampong that managed to recover from devastating fire, and now it is under constant threat of evictions. The second is a small town that recover from economic – social crisis; and now under a constant threat of floods due to environmental destruction. And the third is a devastated small coastal town managed to recover from tsunami, and also under constant threat of floods and another tsunami.
Examination of those cases are focused on the nodes, their properties, their relations with other nodes within and beyond the disaster affected community. We argue that in resilient communities, the nodes (individuals/groups of individuals, entities/group of entities), and their linkages and interactions persists against stresses (calamities, disasters).