Positively Resilient? How Framing Local Action Affects Public Opinion

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12 Scopus citations


Cities face numerous environmental challenges. Local governments need the public’s support to tackle these problems, and scholars and practitioners have suggested that framing initiatives around resilience, as opposed to sustainability, reducing vulnerability, or adaptation, may increase public support for local action. Resilience, they argue, has a better social connotation, is more positive, and less polarizing than related concepts. Empirical evidence supporting these claims is lacking. In three online survey experiments, we test whether the public is more likely to support policies when they are framed in terms of “resilience.” We also examine public conceptualizations of these different terms and whether resilience has a more positive connotation. We find significant differences in policy support, perceived importance, and interpretations of the concepts. The study confirms that framing affects policy support, but complicates claims that resilience is inherently more appealing. These findings have implications for urban research and policymaking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)70-103
Number of pages34
JournalUrban Affairs Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • adaptation
  • framing
  • resilience
  • sustainability
  • vulnerability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies


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