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Operationalizing resilience: co-creating a framework to monitor hard, natural, and nature-based shoreline features in New York State

Katinka Wijsman, The New School, Urban Systems Lab
D. S. Novem Auyeung, New York City Department of Parks and Recreation
Pippa Brashear, SCAPE Landscape Architecture
Brett F. Branco, Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay, Brooklyn College; Earth and Environmental Sciences, CUNY Graduate Center
Kathryn Graziano, New York Sea Grant
Peter M. Groffman, CUNY Advanced Science Research Center at the Graduate Center; Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
Helen Cheng, New York Sea Grant (previous affiliation); Department of Marine and Environmental Sciences at Northeastern University (current affiliation)
Dylan Corbett, Arcadis U.S.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-12182-260310

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Abstract

There is growing interest in the application of nature-based solutions to adapt to climate change and promote resilience, yet barriers exist to their implementation. These include a perceived lack of evidence of their functioning in comparison to conventional solutions and an inability for existing design, policy, and assessment processes to capture the multiple benefits of these solutions. Positing this as a challenge of operationalizing and measuring resilience, we argue that the concept of resilience needs to be given concrete meaning in applied management contexts. Starting with shoreline vulnerability as a policy problem and natural and nature-based shoreline features as a promising solution, we present a case study of a co-creative process to produce an interdisciplinary and locally relevant approach to understanding and capturing the benefits of natural and nature-based solutions. We develop the notion of resilience service to enable a concreteness to resilience that simultaneously takes into account ecological, technical, and social dimensions. Through the co-creative process, our researcher-practitioner network developed a monitoring framework for shoreline features in New York State to facilitate the comparison of natural and nature-based features with conventional shoreline approaches. We describe the process and assess the advantages and drawbacks of integrating scientific input and local knowledge. We present the monitoring framework, showing how the co-creative character of the process is consequential in the formulation of the final framework through the selection of parameters, indicators, and protocols. We argue that interdisciplinarity, co-creation, pragmatism, multi-scalar applicability, and policy relevance are critical principles to understand the functioning and facilitate the implementation of nature-based solutions, while recognizing that this work necessitates compromise and as such will lead to continued deliberation. We posit this is a strength of the process for it acknowledges the creation of resilience as a social process in which values are central and subject to change.

Key words

co-creation; indicators; monitoring; nature-based solutions; New York State; operationalization; resilience

Copyright © 2021 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087