Applying the Urban Systems Abstraction Hierarchy as a Tool for Flood Resilience

K. McClymont*, M. Bedinger, L. Beevers, G. H. Walker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
43 Downloads (Pure)


Climate change will mean cities are exposed to more frequent short‐term shocks such as floods. City‐scale resilience is achieved by understanding how these shocks interact with longer‐term stressors (e.g., social inequality). The Urban Systems Abstraction Hierarchy (USAH) has been developed for this purpose. In this paper, Glasgow (UK) is used as a case study application, to demonstrate how resilience theory can be operationalized through the application of the USAH. Results demonstrate how the USAH can quantify interdependencies between tangible physical entities in the city and intangible outcomes that monitor city stressors, and specifically how these outcomes change in response to a 1:200‐year fluvial flood return period in Glasgow. Resilience concepts such as multifunctionality, redundancy and diversity are applied to interpret the results and their implications for longer‐term resilience in Glasgow. The findings from the application of the USAH show that the outcome Social equality and equity is influential for longer‐term resilience in Glasgow, whilst Reliable communications and mobility is an important outcome for flood resilience.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2023EF003594
JournalEarth's Future
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 23 May 2023


  • abstraction hierarchy
  • flooding
  • complex adaptive systems
  • urban systems
  • resilience


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