Assessing the historical adaptive cycles of an urban social-ecological system and its potential future resilience: the case of Xochimilco, Mexico City
As the bulk of the world’s population becomes urban, maintaining urban ecosystem services for environmental and social well-being in cities is crucial. According to resilience theory, maintaining such services requires for a complex adaptive systems perspective that helps in identifying key elements and dynamics behind cross-scale social-ecological interactions. In this context, the objective of this article is to use a resilience “lens” to problematize the imminent loss of an urban wetland using the adaptive cycle model as a heuristic tool.
Our case study focuses on the Xochimilco wetland, located in the southern periphery of Mexico City. Xochimilco is characterized by the presence of a complex system of raised bed wetland agriculture (the chinampa system), which was established over 1000 years ago; currently, despite having a recognized cultural and environmental value, it is threatened by increasing urban sprawl, over-exploitation of the aquifer, and water contamination. By conducting a historical analysis of the Xochimilco social-ecological system, we assess how it has gone through phases of the adaptive cycle.
As a result, we identify critical elements of the system’s historically maintained resilience and main drivers of system change. From such findings, we present some insights on the possibilities of maintaining the system’s resilience and guidance for future management strategies for the Xochimilco wetland. Lastly, we reflect on the scope and limitations of using a resilience-based approach and an adaptive cycle analysis for addressing urban sustainability problems, especially in cities in the Global South.
Research news | 2023-05-25
AI could create a perfect storm of climate misinformation
The speed and the way misinformation about climate change and sustainability issues moves around the world is rapidly changing. Now, the Centre presents a new synthesis on AI and climate misinformation in connection to the Nobel Prize Summit 2023, "Truth, Trust and Hope"
Research news | 2023-05-22
Financial actors and academia join forces to build back biodiversity
Today is International Biodiversity Day! This year with the theme “From agreement to action: build back biodiversity”, and for us, that is a good reason to highlight the potential of the finance sector in reviving biodiversity
General news | 2023-05-17
Maria Tengö appointed special professor at Wageningen University
Maria Tengö is the most recently appointed professor at the Stockholm Resilience Centre
Research news | 2023-05-16
Grasping food supply risks: how self-sufficient and resilient are nations?
Lack of self-sufficiency and diversity in crop production remain main risks to national food supply, new study finds
Research news | 2023-05-12
The cognition of the commons
The ability to monitor, evaluate and share our own cognitive processes can improve group decisions and enable more sustainable use of common-pool resources
Research news | 2023-05-11
Building back better: Resilience means more than bouncing back
Adapting, transforming and creating new ways of functioning as a society: This is how reshaping a resilient future in the aftermath of a shock should look like, argue researchers