Measuring social resilience in cities: An exploratory spatio-temporal analysis of activity routines in urban spaces during Covid-19

Carissa Champlin*, Mikhail Sirenko, Tina Comes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
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Covid-19 has dramatically changed life in cities across the globe. What remains uncertain is how national policies and appeals to comply with suggested rules translate to changes in the behaviour of citizens in urban areas. This lack of local knowledge leaves urban policy makers and planners with few clues as to the determinants of social resilience in cities during protracted crises like a pandemic. Methods are required to measure the capacity of people to conduct routine activities without risking exposure to a prevalent disease, particularly for those most vulnerable during a health crisis. By spanning the fields of urban resilience, human geography, mobility studies and the behavioural sciences, this study explores how to measure social resilience in cities during a protracted crisis. Using a public participation GIS online platform, we observe changes in citizen behaviour within urban spaces during the Covid-19 pandemic. Inhabitants from three districts of a Dutch city mapped their activity routines during the lockdown period and during the year before the pandemic. Spatio-temporal analysis reveals changes in the clustering of activities into what we describe as ‘activity bubbles'. We reflect on the influence of the urban space on these changes and assess the contribution of this exploratory research methodology for gaining insights into behavioural change. Implications for urban planning and resilience theory are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104220
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Activity bubbles
  • Protracted crisis
  • Social capital
  • Urban space

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