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Urban Resilience

Urban Resilience is a research group in the section of Civil and Architectural Engineering. The research group develops transdisciplinary research, education and knowledge transfer activities on urban resilience at international level.

Research in this area investigates urban resilient transition, addressing systemically the causes and effects of climate change in cities, including climate change adaptation and mitigation, and other related major urban challenges: urbanization, sustainable development, pandemics and disaster risk reduction. Urban Resilience is coordinated by Professor Nicola Tollin.

The objective of the research is to inform policymaking at international and national level, and to support science-based urban planning and design for local action, both in the Global North and South. The research group actively contributes to the joint implementation of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement, the New Urban Agenda, and the Sendai Action Framework for Risk Reduction.


The research is developed through the following thematic clusters, which are strongly interlinked, covering specific knowledge and research gaps on urban resilience:

Water and Human Settlements

This thematic cluster focus on urban water challenges and responses, related to urbanization and climate change, specifically working on Integrated Urban Water Management, Urban Metabolism and Water Sensitive Urban Design

Resilient Coastal and Maritime Planning

This thematic cluster focus on coastal zone that is the interlinkage between the marine and land environments, including maritime spatial planning, including climate impact and planning responses for coastal areas and small islands developing states.

Green Infrastructures for Climate Adaptation

This thematic cluster focus on green infrastructures, nature-based and hybrid solutions facing climate adaptation and mitigation issues, with specific relation to urban flooding, cloud burst and urban heat island, to improve urban livelihoods.

Circular Economy and Built Environment

This thematic cluster focus on circular economy transition of the built environment, construction and housing sector, particularly in relation to the reduction of use of material, energy, water and land, greenhouse gasses emissions, and the derived socio-economic co-benefits.

Human Health in Cities

This thematic cluster focus on the relation between human-health and climate change in cities, it includes systemic review of scientific and grey literature, and an analysis of evaluation framework to support urban design and planning practices.

Climate Change Governance

This thematic cluster focus on multi-level governance for climate change mitigation and adaptation in cities, including the analyses of the urban content of Nationally Determined Contribution and National Adaptation Plans.

Climate Action and Capacity Building 

This thematic cluster focus on supporting climate resilience action at local level, understanding operationalization needs, assessing and strengthening capacity building for local stakeholders, and enhancing impact and sustainability of resilience and climate interventions.


Water and Human Settlements of the Future

The project aims at advancing research on urban water management, contributing to the work of the Intergovernmental Hydrological Program IHP of UNESCO.

Health and Climate Change in Cities

The project aims at investigating the relation between health and climate change in cities, to support informed decision making, also through evaluation. The project is part of the Human Health Program of SDU.

Understanding Urban Resilience

The project focus on urban resilience and system thinking, specifically aiming at mapping urban resilience knowledge gaps, barriers and opportunities for operationalization and capacity building gaps and needs. In collaboration with Imperial College London, MIT and University IUAV of Venice.

International Urban Resilience Academy

IURA is a transdisciplinary platform for education, research and networking activities on urban resilience, including the organization of intensive training for practitioners, policy-makers and researchers. The project is in partnership with over 20 leading organizations worldwide.

Urban Governance and the Paris Agreement

The project aims at developing an evaluation and monitoring system for analysing urban challenges and responses within international climate policies, and to analyse the urban content of National Adaptation Plans, Nationally Determined Contribution. The project is in collaboration with UN-Habitat and UNESCO.

Special Issue of Water Journal 

The Special Issue “Water and Human Settlements of the Future” aims at collecting original research and literature review articles on the state of the art and recent theoretical advances on water research, policy, and practice in cities worldwide.

Resilient Cities Book Series. Springer

Resilient Cities Book Series aims to analyse the challenges faced by cities and provide an up-to-date body of knowledge, including a systematic collection of global cutting-edge best practices, fundamental to managing the urban transition toward resilience.

Urban Resilience Intensive Training

The training aims at expanding the participants' knowledge on policies, tools, strategic and action planning for resilient urban transition,  responding to the need for systemic change in tackling global challenges, for a just and green transition, with a specific focus on COVID-19 recovery and climate change interplay.


Circular transition of social housing. 

The aim of this Industrial PhD project is to foster the CE transition of Danish social housing, through integrating environmental, economic and social co-benefits to be jointly assessed to support the evidence-based decision making and the design process of architectural firms and stakeholders, through value chain innovation. 

Capacity Building for Operationalising Urban Resilience Transition 

The aim of this PhD project is to foster the operationalisation of urban resilience, through assessing and strengthening capacity building for actions; enhancing impact and sustainability of resilience and climate interventions, as well as assess and strengthening tools and methods that support actions for the resilience transition of urban coastal areas in Sub-Saharan Africa.

From low carbon buildings to sustainable cities. 

This aim of this PhD project is to addresses sustainability transitions in the built environment, from buildings to metropolitan scale, ranging from low carbon development to multidimensional challenges currently faced by cities. Emphasis is made on the urban global south, with special focus on Latin America.

Integration of human health and climate change in the framework of urban resilience.

The aim of this PhD project is to conceptually and operationally articulate the relationship between climate change and health within the framework of urban resilience, incorporating it in the evaluation, monitoring and planning of territories.

More information on the PhD research projects:


Nicola Tollin
tel. +45 6550 8668

International Urban Resilience Academy

Visit IURA

Yearbook 2018-19

Urban Resilience Research Group


Yearbook 2019-20

Urban Resilience Research Group


Last Updated 16.04.2021