Urban resilience to climate change scholarship has increasingly focused on increasing its salience for existing decision making processes. At the same time, large inequalities in vulnerability to climate change mirror inequalities in the social power of different urban residents. Existing approaches have improved epistemological pluralism and reflexivity in knowledge systems research, yet remain hotly contested by urban communities. Conceptual gaps have become evident on how knowledge systems research addresses highly unequal forms of decision-making largely responsible for the problems that resilience research now paradoxically seeks to address. Because of these dynamics, knowledge systems research continues to grapple with the fundamental and politically charged question of what constitutes ‘knowledge,’ in urban systems. Drawing upon our own experiences as resilience researchers and a select review of literature on the philosophy and politics of knowledge production, we offer the concept of ‘experiential pluralism,’ defined as the acknowledgement of the inherent validity of individual and collective experiences in framing knowledge needs despite their seeming contradictions, to explore how knowledge systems may address issues of social alienation prevalent in cities. We offer concrete examples of how such a shift makes ethics explicit in research, places greater emphasis on relationship building, and place based creativity in addressing urban climate resilience challenges. In closing, we discuss the role of addressing alienation through experiential pluralism in order to create more democratic modes of urban governance.