Modeling Teleconnected Urban Social–Ecological Systems: Opportunities and Challenges for Resilience Research

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Urban social–ecological systems (SESs) have progressively become more interdependent in their information, resource, material, energy and waste flows. The evolution of those systems has been studied through a variety of concepts (including central place theory, urban ‘metabolism’, etc.). New frameworks on teleconnections have synthesized and extended past theory, but the relevance of the type, degree and spatial structure of the interlinkages for the resilience of urban systems is understudied. We explore the evolving nature of the interlinkages of cities, resource bases and resilience using two approaches: (1) we review literature on urban systems, teleconnections and resilience and (2) we develop scenarios of a stylized network of urban SESs and examine the system-level resilience of each scenario to external shocks using a mathematical biology model. Our results show how factors such as resource consumption, extraction and population migration drive system-wide resilience at different levels of teleconnection of urban systems.