Urban resilience requires sophisticated technical expertise to anticipate problems and develop transformative solutions, yet these efforts alone are often insufficient. We argue that resilience work needs to acknowledge the social contexts in which these plans are situated to better identify potential pitfalls and negotiate challenges “on the ground.” Drawing on Zukin and DiMaggio’s (Structures of capital: the social organization of the economy. Cambridge University, Cambridge, pp 1–36, 1990) embeddedness framework, we explain how cognitive, cultural, structural, and political contexts can complicate resilience work. First, we describe the framework and draw on extant literature to show how the four dimensions relate to urban resilience. Then, we use case studies from two environmental disasters to illustrate how emergency response efforts fell short because they did not adequately account for social context. Our aim is to orient urban resilience experts and practitioners to embeddedness thinking and offer suggestions for ways to better negotiate obstacles to success and opportunities for improvement inherent in the social environment.