Compound Urban Crises

Linda Westman, James Patterson, Rachel Macrorie, Christopher J. Orr, Catherine M. Ashcraft, Vanesa Castán Broto, Dana Dolan, Mukesh Gupta, Jeroen van der Heijden, Thomas Hickmann, Robert Hobbins, Marielle Papin, Enora Robin, Christina Rosan, Jonas Torrens, Robert Webb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The crises that cities face—such as climate change, pandemics, economic downturn, and racism—are tightly interlinked and cannot be addressed in isolation. This paper addresses compound urban crises as a unique type of problem, in which discrete solutions that tackle each crisis independently are insufficient. Few scholarly debates address compound urban crises and there is, to date, a lack of interdisciplinary insights to inform urban governance responses. Combining ideas from complex adaptive systems and critical urban studies, we develop a set of boundary concepts (unsettlement, unevenness, and unbounding) to understand the complexities of compound urban crises from an interdisciplinary perspective. We employ these concepts to set a research agenda on compound urban crises, highlighting multiple interconnections between urban politics and global dynamics. We conclude by suggesting how these entry points provide a theoretical anchor to develop practical insights to inform and reform urban governance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1402-1415
Issue number6
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Human Geography


  • Cities
  • Complex adaptive systems
  • Compound urban crises
  • Critical urban studies
  • Governance


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