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Ideas for Building Local Sustainability After a Natural Disaster



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482 UCB Boulder, Colorado 80309-0482 (303) 492-6818 (303) 492-2151 (fax)

with funding from the

Public Entity Risk Institute

11350 Random Hills Rd. Fairfax, Virginia 22030 (703) 352-1846 (703) 352-6339 (fax)

Revised December 2005

This handbook was originally produced in 2001 as a guide for local practitioners on how to build sustainability into a community during the recovery period after a disaster. In the fall of 2005, after witnessing the catastrophic devastation of the Gulf Coast of the United States from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and as the nation was embarking on a recovery period of unprecedented scale in its history, the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado took a second look at Holistic Disaster Recovery and how it could be improved to help communities take a comprehensive and long-term approach to recovery. This revised version of the handbook includes updated sources of information, new examples of recovery success stories, and more specific attention to information related to the Hurricane Katrina recovery. The documents text has also been streamlined to make the handbook easier to use and more practical and valuable to those managing the recovery decisions and activities on the ground. This handbook is intended to be used by local government officials and staff, state planners, activists, emergency management professionals, disaster recovery experts, mitigation specialists, and others who help a community during disaster recovery. It is geared mainly toward small- to medium-sized communities. It presents managers and decision makers with a variety of strategies for using the recovery period to help a community make itself a better place to live, protect its natural environment, improve its resilience to future disasters, be more attractive to business, better manage growth, and preserve its history and culture for future generations. Whether a community is just getting over the emergency period after a hurricane, earthquake, flood, or other disaster, or whether it is looking ahead to better prepare for a disaster and its aftermath, this handbook provides guidance, examples, and information resources. The first chapter introduces the concept of sustainability and defines its usefulness in the context of recovery. The second chapter explores the planning process for a sustainable, holistic disaster recovery. The next six chapters describe each of the fundamental principles of sustainability as applied to specific disaster recovery situations and the recovery planning process. At the end of each chapter are examples of successful projects in other communities and a list of resources for finding more information on that topic. At the end of the handbook is a summary, list of references, and glossary of terms. Every community is unique and every disaster different. Recovery strategies should be specific and practical for the particular place and people involved. This handbook illustrates a range of options and is intended to complement other documents already available on recovery, reconstruction, planning, mitigation, and related local concerns. Communities along the Gulf Coast are confronting difficult decisions about where and how to rebuild and must find common ground and shared goals in the face of complex value conflicts. In the rush to rebuild, communities must not fail to use the long-term and holistic approach needed to capitalize on the opportunities to reduce vulnerabilities, reassess land use patterns, forge new partnerships, increase local capacity, and involve all residents in rebuilding safer, more livable, and sustainable communities.


This guide was originally produced under a 20-month project funded by the Public Entity Risk Institute entitled AA Project to Develop Guidance and Expertise on Sustainable Recovery from Disaster for Communities.@ The intent of this work was to consolidate what is known about sustainable recovery at the local level and to fill in the gaps by suggesting methods for future innovation. Immediately after Hurricane Katrina stuck the Gulf Coast in late August 2005, the Natural Hazards Center began an extensive review of the resources and guidance available through the guidebook. Links and resources were updated, new case studies identified, and chapters restructured to recognize the changes in the hazards and disasters literature and institutions over the past five years. To produce this handbook, the Natural Hazards Center originally contracted with professionals with expertise in the various aspects of sustainability and recovery, asking each of them to draft a chapter on their specialty that would combined with others into this manual or handbook. Those experts became the contributing authors: Jacquelyn Monday Clancy Philipsborn Sarah Michaels Ann-Margaret Esnard Charles Eadie Brenda Phillips Rod E. Emmer David Salvesen Chapter I. Introduction to Sustainability Chapter II. The Disaster Recovery Process Chapter III. Participatory Process Chapter IV. Quality of Life Chapter V. Economic Vitality Chapter VI. Social and Intergenerational Equity Chapter VII. Environmental Quality Chapter VIII. Disaster Resilience

The contributing authors were critical to the process of generating this handbook and although some modifications have been made, this work is largely the success of their efforts. Thus, credit goes to the contributors, but errors and omissions are the Center=s own. As with any major undertaking, a number other people contributed in various ways, both with the original publication and then again with the revision and reprint. The Center wishes to extend a special thank you to: Terry Baker, Stephen Baruch, Catherine Bauman, Arrietta Chakos, John Clouse, Bev Collings, Bob Cox, Windell Curole, Mark Darienzo, Marjorie Greene, Bob Hart, Duane Holmes, George Houston, Ward Huffman, Angus Jennings, Laurie Johnson, Gene Juve, H. Felix Kloman, Kent Lim, Diana McClure, Jennifer Miller, Deborah Needham, H. Philip Paradice, Eve Passerini, Ann Patton, Scott Porter, Darrin Punchard, Claire Rubin, Jeff Rubin, Patty Rueter, James Russell, Floyd Shoemaker, Dennis Sigrist, Michelle Steinberg, Don Webber, French Wetmore, and Calah Young. The 2005 revisions were undertaken by Julie Baxter, Greg Guibert, Erica Kuligowski, Christa Rabenold, and Sarah Stapleton.


Preface............................................................................................................................................. ii Acknowledgments.......................................................................................................................... iii 1. INTRODUCTION TO SUSTAINABILITY What Does It Mean for a Community to Be Sustainable?......................................... 1-2 Six Principles of Sustainability.................................................................................. 1-2 The Consequences of Business as Usual ................................................................... 1-4 Considering Sustainability after a Disaster................................................................ 1-4 Matrix of Opportunities ............................................................................................. 1-5 Where to Find More Information............................................................................... 1-6 THE DISASTER RECOVERY PROCESS The Holistic Disaster Recovery Process .................................................................... 2-2 Recognizing Short-term and Long-term Disaster Recovery...................................... 2-3 Holistic Disaster Recovery Planning: The 10-Step Process ...................................... 2-9 Making Sustainability Permanent ............................................................................ 2-11 Where to Find More Information............................................................................. 2-12 PARTICIPATORY PROCESSES IN DISASTER RECOVERY Undertaking a Participatory Approach ...................................................................... 3-1 Examples of Success.................................................................................................. 3-5 Monitoring the Participatory Process......................................................................... 3-7 Conclusion ................................................................................................................. 3-7 Where to Find More Information............................................................................... 3-7 USING DISASTER RECOVERY TO MAINTAIN AND ENHANCE QUALITY OF LIFE How Disasters Disrupt Quality of Life ...................................................................... 4-1 Recovery Strategies for Enhancing Quality of Life................................................... 4-2 Tools for Enhancing Quality of Life.......................................................................... 4-4 Actions to Enhance Quality of Life in the 10-Step Recovery Process ...................... 4-7 Examples of Success.................................................................................................. 4-9 Monitoring Quality of Life ...................................................................................... 4-10 Where to Find More Information............................................................................. 4-10 BUILDING ECONOMIC VITALITY INTO RECOVERY Economic Challenges and Opportunities after a Disaster.......................................... 5-1 Recovery Strategies for Building Economic Vitality ................................................ 5-3 Tools for Economic Vitality ...................................................................................... 5-6 Actions to Build Economic Vitality in the 10-Step Recovery Process...................... 5-8 Examples of Success................................................................................................ 5-12 Where to Find More Information............................................................................. 5-15







PROMOTING SOCIAL AND INTERGENERATIONAL EQUITY DURING DISASTER RECOVERY Understanding Social Inequity in Disaster Recovery ................................................ 6-1 Recovery Strategies for Promoting Social and Intergenerational Equity .................. 6-3 Tools for Promoting Equity ....................................................................................... 6-5 Actions to Promote Equity in the 10-Step Recovery Process.................................... 6-6 Examples of Success.................................................................................................. 6-8 Monitoring Social and Intergenerational Equity........................................................ 6-9 Conclusion ................................................................................................................. 6-9 Where to Find More Information............................................................................. 6-10 PROTECTING ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY DURING DISASTER RECOVERY Multiobjective Management for Hazards and the Environment................................ 7-2 Recovery Strategies for Protecting Environmental Quality....................................... 7-2 Tools for Protecting Environmental Quality.............................................................. 7-3 Actions to Protect Environmental Quality in the 10-Step Recovery Process.......... 7-10 Examples of Success................................................................................................ 7-13 Monitoring Environmental Quality.......................................................................... 7-14 Conclusion ............................................................................................................... 7-15 Where to Find More Information............................................................................. 7-15 INCORPORATING DISASTER RESILIENCE INTO DISASTER RECOVERY Recovery Strategies to Build a Disaster-Resilient Community................................. 8-2 Tools for Implementing Disaster Resilience.............................................................. 8-4 Actions to Incorporate Disaster Resilience in the 10-Step Recovery Process........... 8-9 Examples of Success................................................................................................ 8-12 Monitoring Disaster Resilience................................................................................ 8-14 Conclusion ............................................................................................................... 8-15 Where to Find More Information............................................................................. 8-15 SUMMARY Sustainability.............................................................................................................. 9-1 A 10-Step Process for Holistic Disaster Recovery .................................................... 9-2 A Final Word ............................................................................................................. 9-6




References.................................................................................................................................. 10-1 Glossary ..................................................................................................................................... 11-1

Chapter 1

Introduction to Sustainability

A community faces numerous tasks when recovering from a disaster: rebuilding roads and bridges, reopening businesses, reconstructing housing, restoring environmental resources, repairing utility services, and reinstituting social and medical services. Instead of simply rebuilding back the way things were before, a community can maximize long-term benefits by addressing these tasks with a more comprehensive and sustainable approach. When using this approach, the tasks of disaster recovery become opportunities for improving the community. How can a community take advantage of the opportunities available during disaster recovery? This handbook advocates following a framework for sustainable and holistic recovery in which the principles of sustainability become decision making criteria applied in every recovery decision. Sustainability is an all-encompassing concept that provides a framework for many of the forward-looking decisions or activities a community is already doing (or wants to do), involving improvements in quality of life, safety, economic opportunity, environmental protection, or the mitigation of natural hazards. Holistic disaster recovery is really sustainable redevelopment, which is a subset of a larger issue, sustainable development. It is not the end all; but instead it is just one piece of the pie. In this handbook, the term community is used to mean the local entities by which most people are organizeda neighborhood, village, city, county, or parish. Whether it consists of 200 people or a half-million, it is a community because the people that live there are connected by their interactions with each other and their physical location. This handbook is written for managers or decision makers with higher aspirations for the kinds of communities that people live in and for the types of lives they have access to. Some readers may have past experience with a natural disaster and have come away thinking that there must be a better way to cope with such events than simply rebuilding and hoping it will not happen again. Incorporating a sustainable, holistic approach to recovery can be a complex undertaking given competing demands, political and economic hurdles, and the bewildering array of ideas and special interests at play. The remainder of this chapter provides an introduction to what it means for a community to be sustainable and describes six main principles of sustainability and some of their key benefits. The final part of the chapter discusses the opportunities for sustainability during disaster

Introduction to Sustainability recovery and includes a matrix of opportunities that may arise when recovering from certain situations, such as damaged infrastructure or economic disruption.

What Does It Mean for a Community to Be Sustainable?

A sustainable community thrives from generation to generation due to: A social foundation that provides for the health of all community members, respects cultural diversity, and considers the needs of future generations; A healthy and diverse ecological system that performs life-sustaining functions and provides essential resources for humans and all other species; and A healthy and diverse economy that adapts to change, provides long-term security to residents, and recognizes social and ecological limits. A community can be thought of as made up of three spheres: a social sphere, an environmental sphere, and an economic sphere. The social sphere consists of all the interactions among peoplecooperating in neighborhood activities, practicing religion, enjoying family, sharing cultural identities, and solving problems. The environmental sphere is the natural, physical setting in which the community exists, including the visible landscape and natural resources, such as groundwater, air, and soil. The economic sphere consists of all the activities, transactions, and decisions related to producing and exchanging goods and services with each other and outsiders. These spheres can appear separate from one another, but they are intimately related. A town could not exist for long if people depleted or contaminated the groundwater. It would not be a nice place to live if some people were made to endure poverty-level living conditions so that others could enjoy economic success. To be sustainable, a community must maintain the balance and integration of its social, environmental, and economic spheres.

Six Principles of Sustainability

In every community, the character of these three spheressociety, environment, and economy will be different. The principles described below can be used as a guide to identify where a community wants or needs to improve its sustainability and how it can do so.

The Six Principles of Sustainability


1. Use a consensus-building, participatory process when making decisions. 2. Maintain and enhance quality of life. 3. Build local economic vitality. 4. Promote social and intergenerational equity. 5. Protect environmental quality. 6. Incorporate disaster resilience and mitigation. Adapted from Mileti, 1999.


Introduction to Sustainability

1. A Participatory Process
A participatory process seeks wide participation from all individuals who have a stake in the outcome of a decision. It involves identifying concerns and issues, allowing the generation of ideas for potential solutions, and facilitating consensus on decisions and actions. Engaging in a participatory process produces ideas that may not have been considered otherwise, improves the quality and dissemination of information, and fosters ownership on the part of the community in the ultimate decisions. The participatory process and its applicability to disaster recovery are discussed in Chapter 3.

2. Quality of Life
What a community thinks of as quality of life or livability has many components: income, education, health care, housing, employment, legal rights, and exposure to crime, morality, pollution, disease, disaster, and other risks. Different communities have different priorities. One town may be proud of its safe streets, high quality schools, and rural atmosphere, while another prizes its job opportunities and historical heritage. The point is that every locality can decide and plan for itself how best to enhance quality of life within its boundaries for current and future generations. Quality of life and its applicability to disaster recovery are discussed in Chapter 4.

3. Economic Vitality
Job opportunities and an attractive business climate are critical to the citizens of a community. The local government needs a stable tax base and revenue to provide and maintain infrastructure and services that keep the community operating effectively. Embracing sustainability in the local economy means paying attention to qualitative factors within the economy, not just the bottom line. Economic vitality has numerous advantages for a community in working toward sustainability and other goals. A truly sustainable local economy is diversified and less easily disrupted by internal or external events or disasters. Recovery from disaster, for example, is fundamentally an economic proposition. It requires a community to attract, effectively use, and sustain the flow of investment capital from a multitude of sources through the rebuilding process. A vital, sustainable economy does not simply shift the costs of its good health onto other regions, nor is it reliant on unlimited population growth, high consumption rates, or nonrenewable resources. Economic vitality and its applicability to disaster recovery are discussed in Chapter 5.

4. Social and Intergenerational Equity

In an ideal community, each citizen is treated fairly, regardless of ethnicity, age, gender, cultural background, or other characteristics. This means resources and opportunities are equally available to all, and a few people do not profit at the expense of others. It also means that the housing options of people of limited economic means are not reduced to the most dangerous sites in town, such as in the floodplain or over a historic toxic waste site. Present day decision makers sometimes overlook the stake that future generations have in todays decisions. A sustainable community does not exhaust its resources, destroy natural


Introduction to Sustainability systems, or pass along unnecessary hazards to its great grandchildren. Equity and its applicability to disaster recovery are discussed in Chapter 6.

5. Environmental Quality
The natural features of a community, such as rivers, beaches, or mountain settings, can become defining points of community identity. More residents are demanding open spaces, natural areas, parks, wildlife habitat, and the educational opportunities provided by nature. A community can take positive steps toward a sustainable future by replacing detrimental local practices with those that allow ecosystems to renew themselves, by redirecting human activities and development to less sensitive areas, and by reclaiming or restoring damaged areas, such as local wetlands. Environmental quality and its applicability to disaster recovery are discussed in Chapter 7.

6. Disaster Resilience
For a community to thrive in the future and retain its special character and livability, it must be resilient in the face of natural disasters like tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, and drought. Although these events cannot be prevented, there are many actions a community can take to reduce property damage, economic disruptions, and loss of lives and to ensure that quality of life remains at (or quickly returns to) predisaster levels. A sustainable community views natural hazards as an inherent part of the larger environment in which it exists and takes responsibility for identifying and planning for its risks and for its recovery when disaster strikes. Disaster resilience and its applicability to disaster recovery are discussed in Chapter 8.

The Consequences of Business as Usual

Neglecting opportunities to rebuild more sustainably and to incorporate sustainability into the fabric of the community may have negative consequences. Poor local conditions will only worsen when not addressed. This includes environmental conditions, such as the deterioration of water quality and the loss of natural spaces, social conditions, such as unfair distribution of risk, and economic situations, such as the loss of employment opportunities when businesses relocate to other towns. Unsustainable relationships with the environment are expensive for everyone. Disaster losses continue to increase nationwide. All taxpayers pay when the federal government provides (sometimes repeatedly) large amounts of financial relief for rebuilding. Government policies are becoming stricter, requiring that communities help themselves before they are eligible for federal assistance. Communities that help themselves now will be in a better position later on.

Considering Sustainability after a Disaster

In an ideal world, communities would use a long-term approach in their planning and management processes and incorporate the various principles of sustainability. In reality, many communities have not formally considered the broader issues of environmental quality, social equity, or livability. The period of recovery after a disaster is a good time to start, because disasters shake-up the status quo and present opportunities to build back in a better way. The public and local decision makers are thinking about the problems of floods, earthquakes, landslides, tornadoes, and other natural hazards when normally these issues are not high on the priority list.


Introduction to Sustainability In some cases, the disaster does some of the work already. For example, a tornado, earthquake, or flood may damage or destroy aging, dilapidated, or unsafe buildings or infrastructure. A community is forced to make difficult decisions. Federal, state, and private programs are available to provide technical, expert, and/or financial assistance to both public and private projects. Programs designed to help a community mitigate disasters can be used to strengthen overall sustainability and resiliency to other social, economic, and environmental problems.

The Matrix of Opportunities on the next page can be used as a guide to holistic disaster recovery decision making. The vertical axis of the matrix lists the six sustainability principles and some options for applying them. The horizontal axis lists typical problem situations a community could face during disaster recovery, such as damaged housing or utilities. At the intersection of the problem and the principle are opportunities to devise a recovery strategy that furthers sustainability. These are marked with an x. This matrix is just a sample of a hypothetical disaster in a hypothetical community. Communities should develop their own matrix tailored to their own unique situation. The remainder of this handbook discusses a variety of options, tools, and actions for addressing each of the principles of sustainability in disaster recovery situations. Examples of success in other communities are provided. Once a community is well along in its recovery, it will want to periodically assess its progress. A monitoring section in each chapter discusses ways that different aspects of sustainability could be monitored over time. Each chapter concludes with a Where to Find More Information section that lists additional resources.


Introduction to Sustainability

Matrix of Opportunities
(x = an opportunity to devise a recovery strategy that furthers sustainability)


Riverine, beach, and dune erosion

Stormwater system, power plant

Houses damaged beyond repair

Downtown, CBD, historic district

Victims, population traumatized

x x x x x x x x x x x x x

Toxic air, water, soil, wellheads

Medical facilities damaged

Houses to be repaired

Tree loss, habitat loss

Water treatment plant

Businesses disrupted

Subway, rapid transit

Harbor, port, airport

Loss of work force

The Principles of Sustainability and Some Options for Applying Them

Social and family services, daycare disrupted

Commercial buildings damaged/destroyed

Roads, bridges, and related infrastructure


Public spaces

Phone lines

Power lines








1 Use a Participatory Process 2 Maintain and Enhance Quality of Life Make housing available/affordable/better Provide education opportunities Ensure mobility Provide health and other services Provide employment opportunities Provide for recreation Maintain safe/healthy environs Have opportunities for civic engagement Others 3 Build Economic Vitality Support redevelopment and revitalization Attract/retain businesses Attract/retain work force Enhance economic functionality Develop/redevelop recreational, historic, tourist attractions Others

Use a participatory process along with all the other principles of sustainability and in every disaster recovery situation in which it is appropriate.

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

x x x x x x x x

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

x x

x x x x x x x

x x

x x x x x x

x x

x x

x x

x x x x x

x x x x

x x

x x x x

x x x x x x x

x x

x x

4 Promote Social and Intergenerational Equity Preserve/conserve natural, cultural, historical resources Adopt a long-term focus for all planning Avoid/remedy disproportionate impacts on groups Consider future generations' quality of life Value diversity Preserve social connections in and among groups Others 5 Protect Environmental Quality Preserve/conserve/restore natural resources Protect open space Manage stormwater Prevent/remediate pollution Others 6 Incorporate Disaster Resilience/Mitigation Make buildings and infrastructure damageresistant Avoid development in hazardous areas Manage stormwater Protect natural areas insurance Others x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

x x x x x x

x x x

x x x x

x x

x x x x

x x x x x x

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

x x x x

x x

x x x

x x

x x

x x x



Introduction to Sustainability

Where to Find More Information

Web Resources
Redefining Progress Redefining Progress is an organization that works with a broad array of partners to shift the economy and public policy towards sustainability. Information about the groups programs on sustainability indicators and sustainable economics can be found on their Web site. Visit Smart Communities Network The Smart Communities Network was developed by the U.S. Department of Energy. This Web site provides resources, tools, links to articles and publications, and community success stories on a variety of topics from community energy to sustainable business to disaster planning. Visit U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Green Communities Program This Web site identifies five steps to community sustainability and under each step provides tools, case studies, links, and information on how to get started. Visit

Books, Guidebooks, and Articles

Arnold, Matthew B. and Robert M. Day. 1998. The Next Bottom Line: Making Sustainable Development Tangible. Washington, DC: WRI Publications. This report tries to bring sustainable development down to earth for a business audience. Its authors seek to break down the abstract ideals of sustainable development into ideas small enough to grasp and powerful enough to lead to new business opportunities. The authors offer a road map for businesses to find financial success in the solutions to our environmental and social challenges. Burby, Raymond J., editor. 1998. Cooperating with Nature: Confronting Natural Hazards with Land Use Planning for Sustainable Communities. Washington, DC: The Joseph Henry Press. http:// This book focuses on the breakdown in sustainability that follows disaster. The authors follow the history of land use planning and identify key components of sustainable planning for hazards. They explain why sustainability and land use have not been taken into account in the formulation of public policy. They also lay out a vision of sustainability, concrete suggestions for policy reform, and procedures for planning. The book has an excellent bibliography on local land use planning and management for natural hazard mitigation. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). 2000. Planning for a Sustainable Future: The Link between Hazard Mitigation and Livability. FEMA Report 364. Washington, DC: FEMA. This booklet is about hazards mitigation, disaster resilience, sustainable development, and livability and describes the linkages among these concepts. It shows how communities that undertake hazards mitigation planning become more disaster resilient and reap further benefits.


Introduction to Sustainability Hazards mitigation links disaster resilience to broad community objectives of economic health, social well-being, and environmental protection. FEMA. 2000. Rebuilding for a More Sustainable Future: An Operational Framework. FEMA Report 365. Washington, DC: FEMA. This document provides guidance to FEMA planners in the postdisaster response and recovery process. State emergency management officials, local jurisdictions, and other FEMA staff may also use it as a reference during nondisaster time. Hart, Maureen. 1999. Guide to Sustainable Community Indicators. 2nd edition. North Andover, MA: Hart Environmental Data. Indicators of sustainable community are ways to measure how well a community is meeting the needs and expectations of its present and future members. The author explains what indicators are, how indicators relate to sustainability, how to identify good indicators of sustainability, and how indicators can be used to measure progress toward building a sustainable community. The Web site contains the information in the document, plus links and contact information for sources of assistance and advice, along with a list of communities in the United States that are developing indicators of sustainability. Krizek, Kevin J. and Joe Power. 1996. Planners Guide to Sustainable Development. Chicago, IL and Washington, DC: American Planning Association Planning Advisory Service. This report urges planners to incorporate sustainable development objectives into their everyday work. It describes the history, concepts, and theories behind sustainable development; evaluates progress at the global, national, and state levels; and proposes strategies to help planners become more actively involved in local sustainable development programs. The book includes case studies of sustainable development initiatives in five communities.


Chapter 2

The Disaster Recovery Process

Disaster recovery is viewed by some people as a fight against Mother Nature to restore order in a community. However, the disaster recovery process is not a set of orderly actions triggered by the impact of a disaster upon a community. Rather, disaster recovery is a set of loosely related activities that occur before, during, and after a disastrous event. These activities may include the following: Financial management Warning and ongoing public information Temporary housing Economic impact analyses Detailed building inspections Redevelopment planning Environmental assessments Demolition Reconstruction Hazards mitigation Preparation for the next disaster Evacuation and sheltering Search and rescue Damage assessments Debris clearance, removal, and disposal Utilities and communications restoration Reestablishment of major transport linkages When disaster strikes, response activities and recovery activities are often uncoordinated, occur concurrently, and may overlap or conflict with one another. Management responsibility for these activities may be assigned to people unfamiliar with them. Decisions affecting community welfare, some with long-lasting impacts, are made under intense pressure and scrutiny, and it is impossible to take into account the views of all stakeholders. As a consequence, a community may miss opportunities to improve infrastructure, their economy, the environment, or quality of life. This chapter focuses on the disaster recovery process. It describes the concept of predisaster planning for recovery, short-term and long-term aspects of recovery, working with different

The Disaster Recovery Process perspectives in recovery, and the obstacles and enablers to holistic disaster recovery. The chapter also presents the 10-Step Process for Disaster Recovery, which is based on the 10-step model for local government planning action and will be used as a framework for presenting planning recommendations throughout the remaining chapters of this handbook.

The Holistic Disaster Recovery Process

The ideal disaster recovery process recognizes the possibilities of the situation and manages the necessary activities to create solutions not additional problems. A community should strive to fully coordinate available assistance and funding while seeking ways to accomplish other community goals and priorities, using the disaster recovery process as the catalyst. In an ideal disaster recovery process, the community proactively manages the following: Recovery and redevelopment decisions to balance competing interests so constituents are treated equitably and long-term community benefits are not sacrificed for short-term individual gains Multiple financial resources to achieve broad-based community support Reconstruction and redevelopment opportunities to enhance economic and community vitality Environmental and natural resource opportunities to enhance natural functions and maximize community benefits Exposure to risk to reduce it to less than the predisaster level This ideal disaster recovery process is consensus-based and compatible with long-term community goals, and it takes into account all the principles of sustainability described in Chapter 1. It has both immediate and lasting impacts that are self-supporting and make a community better off than it was before. It is a holistic disaster recovery. The question is, how can a decision maker reshape a process that operates within an emotional, reactionary, time-sensitive, expensive, and politically charged atmosphere and is based upon incomplete information, disproportionate needs, and the worst working conditions imaginable? There are two important steps to get a community started. The first is identifying and understanding the obstacles that prevent a holistic disaster recovery from occurring. Secondly, a community needs to identify and adopt new strategies that coordinate, lead, and manage postdisaster decisions in a way that starts to overcome these obstacles.

Planning Ahead for Disaster Recovery

Disaster recovery actually begins before a disaster occurs. Emergency managers refer to this as preparednessthe phase during which people get ready for the onslaught and aftermath of disaster by planning with such activities as warning, evacuation, and sheltering. In disaster-prone regions, communities may even preplan debris removal, utility restoration, and the management of donations and volunteers. These predisaster activities have a dramatic impact upon a communitys ability to respond and recover from a disaster.


The Disaster Recovery Process A communitys response to a disaster lays the groundwork for both short-term and long-term recovery. For example, to return power quickly, downed lines are often immediately restrung on poles, rapidly reestablishing the preexisting risk without taking into account why the power lines came down (often because trees fell across them) or why the poles themselves failed (blown down by wind, burned by wildfire, or undermined by erosion) in the first place. An opportunity is missed to relocate power lines underground to protect them from similar events in the future or to improve aesthetics. By studying mitigation options before disaster strikes, a community is better prepared for recovery and decision making can take place in a less-fettered environment with appropriate funding, public input, and cost-benefit analysis. If a community fails to adequately respond to a disaster, its credibility suffers. This loss of credibility can become a barrier to implementing a holistic disaster recovery. If a local government cannot reestablish power quickly, clear the roads of debris from an event that they should have known would occur sooner or later, or provide temporary housing in a timely manner, then constituents may not trust that same government to manage more complex longterm recovery issues. During disaster recovery communities tend to focus first on improving response activities (i.e., warning, evacuation, power restoration, debris management) before the more advanced concepts of holistic recovery. In the immediate postdisaster period, people often think that mitigation activities may not work or that coupling community improvements with repairs may be too expensive, too disruptive, or too timeconsuming. However, it is within this same timeframe that decisions affecting repairs and restoration are made, and thus the opportunities Planning for Recovery to integrate the principles of sustainability into In 1981, Nags Head, North Carolina, began the recovery process are often lost. addressing its severe exposure to coastal Holistic disaster recovery is about change. Because the disaster recovery process begins before the disaster, the best chance to foster postdisaster change is to include sustainability issues in local predisaster planning. The six principles of sustainability can be integrated into postdisaster plans, but there is a better chance for implementationbecause of timing and a lesspressured decision-making environmentif they are addressed beforehand. This concept has been called preevent planning for postevent recovery or PEPPER (Spangle, 1987).
storms and subsequent erosion by developing a postdisaster recovery plan that included a Recovery and Reconstruction Task Force with identified pre- and postdisaster responsibilities, including building moratoriums and reconstruction priorities and guidelines. The controversial nature of this effort is best demonstrated by its 1989 adoption date, eight years after discussions were initiated. In 1990-91, Hilton Head, South Carolina, developed its Pre-Disaster Recovery and Mitigation Plan as a means of avoiding the similar controversies neighboring communities faced while recovering from Hurricane Hugo in 1989. Over the next decade, Hilton Head wisely focused its efforts on stormwater and floodplain management, which posed more frequent and disruptive problems than the occasional major hurricane.

Recognizing Short-Term and Long-Term Disaster Recovery

Usually, communities think of preparing for a disaster before its onset and responding to and recovering from disaster as activities for after the 2-3

The Disaster Recovery Process event. However, sometimes communities do respond before disaster happens. For example, in predictable events, like slow-rise riverine flooding or most hurricanes, there is time to notify people of the impending danger, take some protective measures, and evacuate safely. Response actions are taken before anything happens, reducing the need to respond further and reducing some elements of short-term recovery that might otherwise be necessary. Traditional, postevent disaster recovery occurs in short-term and long-term phases. Search and rescue, mass care, management of donations and volunteers, damage assessment, public information, temporary housing, utility restoration, and debris clearance are essential elements of short-term recovery. How they occur will affect how some longer-term decisions are made. Long-term recovery begins when a community starts to repair or replace roads, bridges, homes, and stores. It is also the period where improvement and changes for the better, such as strengthening building codes, changing land use and zoning designations, improving transportation corridors, and replacing affordable housing stock, are considered. Whether they are considered during predisaster planning or short-term postdisaster recovery, it is during the long-term recovery period that most changes in preexisting conditions can and do occur. Changes such as improving traffic circulation or supplementing affordable housing units are examples of improvements in a communitys quality of life (see Chapter 4). Changes that include sustained efforts to reduce loss of life and property from the next disaster, such as changes to building codes and land use designations, are examples of mitigation (discussed in more detail in Chapter 8). In catastrophic disasters, such as the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami or Hurricane Katrina in 2005, short-term and long-term recovery phases may be significantly different than in disasters of lesser magnitude. Short-term recovery activities can continue for months, seriously impacting the ability to integrate long-term recovery and mitigation opportunities into early decision making. Long-term postdisaster recovery may begin with the repopulation of displaced residents and with participatory processes for visioning the future that may occur at scales ranging from neighborhood to regional. The recovery of severely impacted communities may also include economic revitalization, vocational retraining, and social network rehabilitation.

Different Perspectives on Disaster Recovery

It is important to recognize that not everyone within a community will have the same perspective or understanding of disaster recovery. The issues discussed thus far are presented from a community recovery point of view, that is, the activities that need to be managed in order for a local government to recover to an equal or improved state. However, there are also perspectives of the individual and of community economics that need to be taken into account. The individual perspective is important because as a community starts its recovery, most people are recovering emotionally, and this takes place at a slower pace than the external, community recovery. Communities respond quickly and with increasing resolve to reestablish utilities, provide access, and create reconstruction policies. Individuals experience a short period of cohesion, during which people come together to help and comfort each other, followed by a longer period of disillusionment as personal, family, job, insurance, and disaster assistance issues


The Disaster Recovery Process take their toll. This creates a disconnect between community recovery and individual recovery that leads to frustration, misunderstanding, and disillusionment. Similarly, there is an economic perspective that differs from both that of the community and the individual. It is this economic perspective that highlights the interrelationship and interdependency between local governments and the business community. Businesses, from small mom-and-pop to big box national chains, are primarily concerned with minimizing their down time. The businesses often reach out to their employees to help them recover as individuals, because they need them as employees to help manage the business recovery. People forced to stand in line for water and ice, insurance appointments, and disaster assistance find it difficult to return to work to help their other family at the same time. There is also an increased reliance of business upon local government. Without access to their facilities or power and water to run equipment and bathrooms, business recovery is hindered. Conversely, the longer it takes for businesses to recover, the greater the problems for local government (e.g., unemployment, loss of sales taxes, loss of business services). In New Orleans, Louisiana, after Hurricane Katrina, the economy struggled to recover in the absence of decisions regarding the repair of levees, utilities, and transportation services and the uncertainty related to issues such as building regulations, the availability of insurance, and access to education. The lack of housing, employees, consumers, and production capacity further stifled the economy. As a result, city revenues continued to decline, causing layoffs and further restricting services when they were most needed. Thus, the postdisaster environment can create a cycle of decline that is difficult to break. Everyone in the community has a stake in disaster recovery and the differing perspectives and interdependencies of individuals, government, and business can create conflicts over priorities and timing. Local politics also can become a barrier to the holistic recovery. It is important to recognize the differing perspectives and agendas in order to tailor recovery actions that address these conflicts and barriers as much as possible.

Obstacles to Holistic Disaster Recovery

There are many obstacles to a successful recovery that may slow down or sidetrack the recovery process. If these obstacles are ignored, these they can impede holistic recovery. A few common obstacles are described below. Degree of DamageAfter presidential disaster declarations, programmatic funding rules and applicable codes and standards (e.g., building codes, infrastructure design standards) will drive the decisions to repair or replace damaged facilities and affect a communitys ability to make changes. When facilities require full replacement, there are often more alternatives for correcting poor past decisions than there would be if only slight repairs are needed. Rules, Regulations, and PoliciesOn the positive side, funding made available through government disaster relief programs provides the means to jump-start the recovery process. However, the rules, regulations, and policies that accompany the funding can often alter priorities, limit opportunities, and curtail creative solutions.


The Disaster Recovery Process Property Rights, Development, and Land UseThese issues affect how and when communities make recovery decisions. For example, after a flood, a community may identify an opportunity to enhance economic development, natural resource protection, and the quality of life by limiting redevelopment in certain areas. The idea of establishing a riverfront park that combines flood loss reduction with a pedestrian/bicycle corridor and public access for picnicking, fishing, and boating is becoming more commonplace. However, communities are often surprised to discover that many owners of flooded homes not only want to return to their riverfront vistas but also intend to take the opportunity to replace the structures with larger, more modern units. A bigger is better redevelopment trend has been documented following earthquakes and wildfires. In other cases, damaged properties represent the least desirable housing in the community due to location, repetitive damage, increased risk, and decreasing property values. Otherwise unaffected property owners may choose to oppose redevelopment plans, arguing that government should not assist those who knowingly accepted the risk. Drive to Return to NormalProposed postdisaster changes in land use, building codes, densities, infrastructure, property ownership, and redevelopment plans always take time and are often costly to those impacted. These changes can be seen as unnecessary delays and expensive deterrents in an already slow and costly recovery. These attitudes can be obstacles to using recovery opportunities for community improvement. Lack of Awareness of the True Redevelopment PossibilitiesPeople may be unaware of how other communities have made substantial community improvements by using a disaster to initiate the process. Others are more concerned with their own personal world than with the larger picture of community improvement, and it is difficult to change their primary focus without significant preplanning, coordination, leadership, political will, and some vision of an improved future. Immediate Changes in the Roles and Procedures of Local Government Officials Postdisaster government roles, procedures, and priorities change, often requiring different mixes of skills than those to which officials are accustomed. Job functions change, workloads increase dramatically, and the work involves new players, new terminology, and even new Communicating with the Public structures, such as the National Response Plan Eight months after a wildfire disaster, the Los and National Incident Management System. Alamos County, New Mexico, government busily adopted changes to the location of Additionally, public scrutiny and political utilities, zoning designations, and building pressure reach new heights as local officials try codes. The residents affected by the fire, to maintain the day-to-day functions that however, were frustrated by unresolved government normally provides. disaster claims, code changes requiring Searching for an Extraordinary Solution to what Appears an Extraordinary Problem Most extraordinary problems are actually problems that governments deal with routinely: picking up debris, conducting building inspections, planning, permitting new
reconstruction design modifications, utility restoration digging up neighborhood roads, and escalating personal losses. The county was acutely aware of these circumstances and through concentrated and ongoing communication made use of newsletters, survivor meetings, and the county Web site to diffuse a difficult situation.


The Disaster Recovery Process development, managing grants and loans, and providing public information. The situation becomes extraordinary because all these functions are happening at the same time and with greater demands. Communities need to break down the problems into those that they are already accustomed to resolving and then use standard procedures. Otherwise, the search for the extraordinary solution will only slow them down. Lack of Systematic Communication between Decision Makers, Departments, and StakeholdersCommunities need to develop a mechanism that ensures that the principles of sustainability are incorporated into every decision. There needs to be a comprehensive, ongoing, systematic series of checkpoints at which every decision is weighed against its impact on hazards vulnerability, economic vitality, environmental preservation, quality of life, and social justice. Unless this occurs, few decisions are analyzed to the extent that their direct and indirect consequences can be foreseen. Lack of Political Will to Do the Right ThingAddressing long-term needs and determining methods to prevent a recurrence are often goals unintentionally sacrificed due to lack of appropriate support. When public decisions are swayed by the immediacy of constituent needs, preexisting conditions are often reestablished. Local leaders must define a vision of the future, provide the direction to get there, and establish the priorities to make it happen. They must develop and create a will that is infectious among community politicians and constituents alike. Disaster recovery managers must juxtapose short-term and long-term community needs against the quick and easy fix or the perceived rights of select property owners. They must protect the health, safety, and welfare of the community from the desires, power, and influence of those who promote short-sighted solutions. They need to foster personal and community responsibility for recovery decisions that will affect their community for years to come.

Enablers for Holistic Disaster Recovery

Disaster recovery has evolved from meaning helping communities replace what they had to helping communities prepare and protect themselves from preventable, repeated losses. FEMA helped bring about this change by sequentially conditioning disaster assistance upon the requirement to rebuild to applicable codes and standards, to purchase and maintain hazards insurance, and to develop mitigation plans. These requirements are accompanied by substantial financial and technical resources and trainings to provide the catalyst for successful community disaster recovery, to reduce future exposure to risk, and to minimize repetitive impacts to the taxpayers. Through leadership and incentives, community safety and improvement have become standard postdisaster priorities. The Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968, as amended, and the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000, along with initiatives, such as FEMAs Project Impact and the Institute for Business & Home Safetys Disaster Resistant Communities, have also helped to make these improvements predisaster priorities. A few enablers for holistic disaster recovery and how they might be used are described below.


The Disaster Recovery Process Stakeholder PerceptionBe aware of every person, business, agency, and organization that may be affected by a potential decision and include them in the decision-making process. Some may benefit directly from the action being taken, while others may benefit from the multiobjective element of the action. For example, a detention pond that contains a playground within its boundaries may provide protection to some and recreation opportunities to others. From a holistic recovery perspective, the detention pond may also contribute to improved water quality, wildlife habitat, and protect downstream businesses from flooding. Build as wide a supporting constituent base as possible and include them in the decision-making process. More information on participatory processes is provided in Chapter 3. Political WillThis includes the willingness to analyze the issues, evaluate the alternatives, and protect the long-term public interest. It is the willingness to make the tough decisions, to maintain the overall focus, and to get the job done. AuthorityAuthority is the ability to use appropriate tools to support the needs of the community. Making development changes in a community can be difficult and controversial for those with the authority to implement change. Not having the state-empowered local authority to act (e.g., adopting land use measures) is one thing; failure to act is another. PrioritizationThrough prioritization, a community can order its actions to maximize outcomes. In holistic disaster recovery, establishing priorities allows communities to double up on other goals, such as affordable housing, access to recreation, or improved transportation corridors. Assigning a weighted decision making factor capitalizes upon additional and nontraditional disaster recovery resources while maintaining an overall implementation framework. VisionIt has been said, you cant get somewhere if you dont know where youre going! Creating a vision of what kind of place a community wants to be in the future provides direction otherwise lacking in disaster recovery. With a vision of the future, the community can use disaster recovery to reduce vulnerability and improve overall quality of life, as well as other aspects of sustainability. Community EndorsementCommunity support and buy-in builds public expectations and confidence. Promoting multiple objectives and benefits broadens constituent support and helps to create the public investment critical to long-term implementation and success. Leadership/Local ChampionThe presence of a leader or local champion plays a fundamental role in building community support. A local champion is the person who devotes time and energy to building a coalition of interests and advocating holistic recovery to the community. Leaders have the ability to effectively deal with value conflicts, demonstrate commitment to public knowledge and input, and articulate a vision of the future that reflects the values and goals of community members.


The Disaster Recovery Process

Multiobjective Planning for Natural Hazards

Holistic disaster recovery does not occur by itself. In the ideal disaster recovery, a communitys goals for economic development, environmental protection, disaster resilience, and other issues are coordinated through comprehensive planning initiated ahead of time. Experience has demonstrated that a key to successful hazards mitigation is multiobjective planning. The multiobjective opportunities commonly identified during hazard mitigation planning resemble the principles of sustainable development and smart growth, the name given to state-of-the-art community planning strategies. Planningwhether it be for smart growth, sustainable development, or hazards mitigationadopts similar goals, takes similar approaches, and faces similar barriers. Below are listed the principal elements of each of these three community planning approaches.
Three Approaches to Community Planning
Sustainability Participatory Process Quality of Life Economic Vitality Social Equity Environmental Quality Disaster Resilience Natural Hazards Mitigation Planning Avoidance Strengthening Conserving Limiting Communication Smart Growth Comprehensive Planning Compact Urban Areas Mixed Land Uses Transportation Options Staged Infrastructure Human-Scale Design Predictable Development Review

Holistic Disaster Recovery Planning: The 10-Step Process

Most communities complete their recovery and mitigation plans in the postdisaster setting by following FEMAs mitigation planning initiatives, requirements, and incentives. They are advised to follow what has become known as the 10-step mitigation planning process. This is the same planning process that is recommended in the guidance for the National Flood Insurance Programs Community Rating System and also is recognized in some U.S. Army Corps of Engineers local flood control initiatives. The process is described in detail from a flood mitigation perspective in Flood Mitigation Planning: The CRS Approach by French Wetmore and Gil Jamieson (1999). Even if a community is not preparing a formal recovery plan, the 10-step process is a useful guide to action. Holistic disaster recovery can be incorporated into this process as follows. Step 1: Get OrganizedThe community can demonstrate its commitment to the process through the resources it provides for the planning process. Introduce the holistic disaster


The Disaster Recovery Process

The 10-Step Process for Local Planning and Action

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. Get organized. Involve the public. Coordinate with other agencies, departments, and groups. Identify the problem situation. Evaluate the problem and identify opportunities. Set goals. Explore all alternative strategies. Plan for action. Get agreement on the action plan. Implement, evaluate, and revise.

recovery concept, outline planning, encourage staff commitment and input, and gather needed resources during this step. Step 2: Involve the PublicThe sustainability principle of using a participatory process is readily addressed by including the stakeholders directly. See Chapters 3 and 6 for more discussion of who to include and how to do it. Step 3: Coordinate with Other Agencies, Departments, and GroupsA community can expand representation on the central recovery committee or task force to include those who can contribute expertise on each of the principles of sustainability. This could include state or local parks or wildlife departments, economic development directors, the business community, academia, or social services personnel, for example. Step 4: Identification of Problems and Step 5: Evaluate the ProblemsRecovery team members should consider how the potential impacts might affect economic activities, natural resources, the overall quality of life, and people of different ages, races, and economic status. The team should also adopt a long-term viewpoint so that intergenerational equity is considered. Step 6: Set Goals and ObjectivesThe recovery team can use the Matrix of Opportunities presented in Chapter 1 to identify and incorporate short- and long-term recovery issues into the evolving plan. Coordination with other community plans and programs at this point will help integrate disaster recovery issues with existing comprehensive, development, capital improvement, drainage, transportation, housing, and recreation plans. Step 7: Explore All AlternativesThe recovery team reviews the options and tools available to achieve the selected goals and objectives. As part of this review, the six principles of sustainability are included among the criteria that assist the team in deciding which actions to take and in which order. The criteria should clearly identify proposed actions that support sustainability as having high community value. The recovery team needs to be sure that the actions agreed upon do not undermine any of the aspects of sustainability. This step becomes the true litmus test for choosing activities that will help integrate sustainability into the community during its recovery.


The Disaster Recovery Process Steps 8, 9, and 10: Write, Adopt, and Implement the PlanIn these final steps, the agreed upon actions are summarized into a plan that is adopted by a local elected governing body. It is important that the plan does not sit on the shelf but is written as a practical and specific guide for action. This 10-step process does not guarantee that every sustainability principle will be addressed in the recovery, but including the principles as decision-making criteria ensures that they will at least be considered. The rest of the chapters in this handbook provide more details about how to incorporate different aspects of sustainability into the appropriate phases of the 10-step process.

Making Sustainability Permanent

Disaster recovery provides the opportunity to introduce sustainability into a community. Although, there are many other ways, the dramatic nature of disasters and the frequent need for rebuilding provide opportunities to substantially improve the character of the community in ways that rarely occur otherwise. However, a community should not wait for a disaster to pursue principles of sustainability that may provide solutions to other problems it faces. Adopting a natural hazards element within a local comprehensive plan is one of the most effective ways to incorporate sustainability into a community by ensuring that every development/redevelopment decision is subject to the principles of sustainability. The American Planning Association provides a model natural hazards element for local comprehensive plans in Appendix E of the Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery and Reconstruction guidebook (Schwab et al., 1998). Disaster recovery provides an opportunity to correct unsustainable choices of the past. It is not the driving force behind implementation of sustainability, nor should it be. Disasters are simply catalysts for change.


The Disaster Recovery Process

Maxims for Disaster Recovery

Disaster recovery is not easy. The operating procedures of critical recovery agencies will be unfamiliar. The community will be understaffed. The issues will be complex, changing, and fueled by competing interests. There is never enough time; there is never enough money. Decision makers and their families are likely to be victims themselves. Disaster recovery takes years. During the first weeks the community will address emergency actions. During the first months it will address restoration of community services. During the first months and for years thereafter it will address rebuilding, replacing, and improving what was lost and addressing financial, political, and environmental issues. Disaster recovery programs and procedures seem like moving targets. Disaster assistance policies are frequently changed, amended, or replaced. Political interests often respond with additional, supplemental assistance. Different programs from different agencies often do not mesh well. There are many possible outcomes to disaster recovery. Re-creating a predisaster level of services and quality of life is not guaranteed. Local, state, and federal regulations define boundaries for recovery options. Local leadership and vision are determinants of recovery outcomes. There is a silver lining. Many communities, in retrospect, feel their disaster was the catalyst for making many improvements that otherwise may never have occurred. There is a lot of help available for disaster recovery. Local decision makers do not need to reinvent the wheel. Help is available from state and federal disaster officials, decision makers from other communities that have been impacted by disaster, professional organizations (e.g., planning, engineering, architecture), and disaster recovery consultants. Having experienced a disaster does not make a community immune. If it happened once, it can happen again. Decision makers should learn from experiences by evaluating what worked and what did not. Incorporating mitigation into disaster recovery protects a community from the next disaster. Decision makers should share their lessons learned and successes with others.

Where to Find More Information

Training Courses and Workshops
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Emergency Management Institute, National Emergency Training Center. Emmitsburg, Maryland. Recovery from Disaster. FEMA E210. The resident version of this course is designed for local disaster recovery teams. These teams, consisting of emergency managers, elected city/county/parish administrators, public works directors, building inspectors, and


The Disaster Recovery Process community planners, are taught how to develop a disaster recovery plan. Participants are given the opportunity to develop their own recovery plan outline during the course. Integrated Emergency Management Courses (IEMC) for Specific Communities. FEMA Courses E930/S390, E931/S391, E932/S932. These courses place emphasis on community response and short-term recovery issues. They are tailored to fit the community and are based on a selected hazard type. The courses use classroom instruction, planning sessions, and exercises to allow for structured decision making in a learning, yet realistic, environment. A key outcome is to help with the transition from response to short-term recovery. The three classes are E930/S390 IEMC/Community Specific/All Hazards: Response and Recovery; E931/S931 IEMC/Community Specific/Hurricane: Response and Recovery; and E932/S932 IEMC/Earthquake: Response and Recovery.

Web Resources
American Planning Association The American Planning Association (APA) is a nonprofit organization representing practicing planners, officials, and citizens involved with urban and rural planning issues. APAs mission is to encourage planning that will contribute to public well-being by developing communities and environments that meet the needs of people and society more effectively. Their Web site is an excellent source of books about community planning that incorporate the principles of sustainable development. Visit Response to Hurricane Katrina. This section provides information on the response and assistance program coordinated by the APA in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Disaster and Hazards Resources. This section lists online educational materials and articles related to natural hazards. Asian Disaster Preparedness Center, Indian Ocean Tsunami Disaster Information Resources This Web page of the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center provides links to several assessment reports and other publications related to recovery and reconstruction in areas affected by the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004. Visit FEMA Response and Recovery This section of FEMAs Web site includes information on individual and public assistance and access to the Response and Recovery Library. Visit Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) EDEN is a collaborative, multistate effort by extension services across the country to improve the delivery of services to citizens affected by disasters. Their Web site serves primarily extension agents and educators by providing them access to resources on disaster mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery that will enhance their short- and long-term programming


The Disaster Recovery Process efforts but also provides hurricane resources for Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, as well as links to many other organizations. Visit Institute for Business & Home Safety The Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) is a nonprofit association that engages in communication, education, engineering, and research with the mission to reduce deaths, injuries, property damage, economic losses, and human suffering caused by natural disasters. Visit Community Land Use Planning. This section provides information on the link between land use planning and hazard mitigation and how to get natural hazards considered in land use decisions. Louisiana Recovery Authority The Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) is the planning and coordinating body at the state level implementing the governors vision for the recovery of Louisiana. Their Web site provides information on the nine recovery teams established by the LRA and on priorities for short- and long-term needs of the recovery. Visit Mississippi Governors Commission: Recovery, Rebuilding, Renewal The Governors Commission on Recovery, Rebuilding, and Renewal was formed shortly after Hurricane Katrina to develop a broad vision for a better Gulf Coast and South Mississippi. The commission focuses on giving local leaders access to ideas and information that will help them decide what their region will look like in the future. The Web site also includes a link to final team reports from the commissions Mississippi Renewal Forum. Visit Rothstein Catalog on Disaster Recovery This is a catalog of books, software, videos, and research reports that date back to 1989. Visit Urban Land Institute The Urban Land Institute (ULI) initiates research that anticipates emerging land use trends and issues. The ULIs Advisory Services offers fee-based expert analysis and advice on how to solve difficult land use, development, and redevelopment problems for public, private, and nonprofit organizations. A ULI advisory service panel was asked to make recommendations for the rebuilding of New Orleans, Louisiana, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Their draft report, A Strategy for Rebuilding New Orleans, Louisiana, November 1218, 2005, is available online. Visit

Books, Guidebooks, and Articles

Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action (ALNAP) and the Provention Consortium. 2005. South Asia Earthquake 2005: Learning from Previous Recovery Operations. London, UK: ALNAP.


The Disaster Recovery Process This briefing paper provides a synthesis of key lessons from postdisaster recovery programs. The briefing covers targeting, participation, assessment, shelter and housing, risk reduction and policy and attempts to draw out main lessons in each area while highlighting critical sources for further reference. American Planning Association (APA). 2002. Growing Smart Legislative Handbook: Model Statues for Planning and the Management of Change. Chicago, IL: APA. This new edition includes a CD-ROM, user manual, and new materials address the siting of controversial facilities, authorization for all types of local land development regulation, adequate public facilities requirements, urban growth areas, unified development permit reviews, design review, traditional neighborhood development, and transfer of purchase rights. The APA has developed a model natural hazards element for local comprehensive plans. The model incorporates practices taken from numerous state statutes, combining them to create a mechanism whereby hazards mitigation, a stepping stone for holistic disaster recovery, may be institutionalized. Association of State Floodplain Managers. 1996. Using Multi-Objective Management to Reduce Flood Losses in Your Watershed. Madison, WI: Association of State Floodplain Managers. This publication explores planning and implementation techniques for multiobjective watershed management. It provides a general introduction to multiobjective management and the planning process that helps a community select the flood loss reduction measures most suitable to its situation. It explains how to define problems and goals, build partnerships, combine needs and solutions creatively, and begin formal implementation procedures. Both riverine and coastal flood watersheds are examined. Much of the document focuses on multiobjective management planning details, involving subjects such as fish and wildlife issues, water supply, housing improvement, transportation, and lifelines. Preparation of a multiobjective management plan involves problem definition, involvement of nonlocal groups, and public and official acceptance of the plan. Becker, William S. and Roberta F. Stauffer. 1994. Rebuilding the FutureA Guide to Sustainable Redevelopment for Disaster-Affected Communities. Golden, CO: U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Center of Excellence for Sustainable Development. This document summarizes why sustainability is important and gives an example of sustainable development in one community, Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin. The reader is walked step-by-step through the holistic recovery process. The last chapter discusses real-life problems that the planner may encounter. There is an appendix to the report with a comprehensive list of resources. Berke, Philip R., Jack D. Kartez, and Dennis E. Wenger. 1993. Recovery after Disaster: Achieving Sustainable Development, Mitigation and Equity. Disasters 17 (2): 93-109. Emergency Management Australia. 1996. Australian Emergency Manual Disaster Recovery. Dickson, ACT: Emergency Management Australia.


The Disaster Recovery Process D6FCCA256C8D00558574/$file/disaster_recovery_manual.pdf. The aim of this manual is to provide disaster managers and practitioners with a comprehensive guide on recovery at all levels. The manual is divided into four main sections: 1) concepts and principles which underpin the recovery process, 2) insights into the likely impact a disaster may have upon the community, 3) structures within which disaster recovery is managed and planning and operational guidelines, and 4) specific services which may be provided. FEMA. 1997. Framework for Federal Action to Help Build a Healthy Recovery and Safer Future in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Washington, DC: FEMA. This document identifies and explains the wide range of grants, loans, and technical assistance that the federal government can offer to meet the recovery needs of people and communities. Although the document summarizes these programs for the states of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota, the descriptions are applicable to other areas recovering from flooding. Programs summarized include comprehensive flood hazard mitigation; housing repairs, rehabilitation, reconstruction, and replacement financing; the National Flood Insurance Program; economic recovery programs; agriculture programs; infrastructure programs; health and mental health programs; and programs for special needs populations. FEMA. 2000. Rebuilding for a More Sustainable Future: An Operational Framework. FEMA Report 365. Washington, DC: FEMA. This document provides guidance to planners in the postdisaster response and recovery process. State emergency management officials, local jurisdictions, and other FEMA staff also may use it as a reference during nondisaster time. Mileti, Dennis S. 1999. Disasters by Design. Washington, DC: The Joseph Henry Press. This book is a summary volume of the Second National Assessment of Research on Natural Hazards with the formal mission of summarizing what is known in the various fields of science and engineering that is applicable to natural and related technological hazards in the United States and making some research and policy recommendations for the future. It summarizes the hazards research findings from the last two decades, synthesizes what has been learned, and outlines a proposed shift in direction in research and policy for natural and related technological hazards. Disasters by Design is intended for a general audience including policy makers and practitioners. The annotated bibliography is available online at Minnesota Department of Public Safety. Recovery from Disaster Handbook. St. Paul, MN: State of Minnesota. This handbook provides local governments with guidance in long-term recovery after a disaster. The restoration process places great demands on government and the private sector. The manual also provides answers and advice to many questions that arise during recovery. Tool kits at the end of each chapter provide additional information. Petterson, Jeannine. 1999. A Review of the Literature and Programs on Local Recovery from Disaster. Natural Hazards Research Working Paper #102. Boulder, CO: Natural Hazards Center.


The Disaster Recovery Process This literature review explores what is known about community recovery from disasters as it relates to the design of a program of technical assistance to help communities plan and implement a long-term, sustainable recovery. Rubin, Claire B. Martin D. Saperstein, and Daniel G. Barbee. 1985. Community Recovery from a Major Natural Disaster. Monograph No. 41. Boulder, CO: Natural Hazards Center. This publication describes what was learned by a team that spent four years observing how 14 communities coped with the deleterious effects of disasters. The focus of the research was on the ways in which local governments activities, as well as their interactions with other levels of government, affected the speed and/or efficiency of recovery. The roles of community officials in recovery and postdisaster mitigation, the kind of disaster agents involved, the levels of emergency planning and preparedness, and the communities sense of themselves and their futures are all analyzed. Schwab, Jim et al. 1998. Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery and Reconstruction. PAS Report No. 483/484. Chicago, IL: American Planning Association. This document helps community leaders and planners educate their constituents on how informed decisions and choices can affect the rebuilding process and yield a safer, more sustainable community. The report introduces planners to their roles in postdisaster reconstruction and recovery and provides guidance on how to plan for postdisaster reconstruction side by side with all other players involved. A key theme throughout this report is to rebuild to create a more disaster-resilient community. Vale, Lawrence J. and Thomas J. Campanella, editors. 2001. The Resilient City: How Modern Cities Recover from Disaster. Cary, NC: Oxford University Press. For as long as they have existed, cities have been destroyedsacked, shaken, burnt, bombed, flooded, starved, irradiated, and pillagedin almost every case they have risen again. Rarely in modern times has a city not been rebuilt following destruction, be it natural or otherwise. This book explores urban disasters from around the globe and the ongoing restoration of urban life. It examines why cities are rebuilt, how a vision for the future gets incorporated into a new urban landscape, and how disasters have been interpreted and commemorated in built form. Featured disasters include the Oklahoma City bombing, the Chicago Fire, San Franciscos 1906 earthquake, Mexico Citys 1985 earthquake, Chinas Tangshan earthquake, and more.


Chapter 3

Participatory Processes in Disaster Recovery

The opportunity for public involvement in decision making is immense when a community is faced with the myriad of problems of recovering from a disaster. The participation of stakeholders and citizens in the decision-making process allows for mutual learning to occur between participants and local staff and officials and for more creative ideas and solutions to emerge. Many of the benefits of public involvement result from the interaction and exchange of perspectives among stakeholders and the public. In addition, the policies and plans developed through a public involvement process will benefit from higher levels of credibility and support. Engaging the public is crucial to achieving a holistic and sustainable recovery from a disaster. This chapter focuses on the importance of using a participatory approach in the holistic disaster recovery process. The chapter is not a how-to kit for designing a public participation process there are a multitude of forms the process can take. Instead, the chapter discusses the benefits of a participatory approach, how to select among techniques, and the obstacles that may present themselves. Examples of success from other communities are highlighted and a variety of expert resources for finding more information on designing a participatory process are provided at the end of the chapter.

Undertaking a Participatory Approach

Undertaking a participatory approach requires political and financial commitment. It also requires commitment on the part of the recovery team and local policy makers to allow public input to truly influence the decision-making process. Processes that fail to satisfy participants have long-term negative consequences for working relationships within a community and can set the community back from achieving its goals. Public buy-in is essential to avoid making decisions in the immediate aftermath of a disaster that may compromise what the community might achieve in the long term (Schwab et al., 1998). A communitywide participatory process is unlikely to be feasible in the immediate aftermath of a disaster because people are occupied with immediate, basic needs. Also, it takes time for leaders to set up a constructive process. In the case of the Vermillion Basin, South Dakota, (discussed below) the participatory process took place a year after the 1993 flood.

Participatory Processes The recovery phase of a disaster cycle is often a time when people are more open to messages about change. For example, after an area in Kokomo, Indiana, flooded in 2003, community members took steps to protect themselves. The community held a town meeting to determine the best course of action and called upon the local media and volunteer flood recovery teams from local churches and civic groups. Because elevating homes would not be cost effective, and rebuilding damaged homes required stricter codes and added cost, it was agreed that buying the flood damaged properties, removing the structures, and converting the area into green space was the best option.

Deciding among Participatory Approaches

Negotiation is at the heart of all participatory processes. People are invited to participate based on the understanding that they are embarking on a search for the reconciliation of competing interests (Daniels and Walker, 1996). The extent of acceptable disagreement during the search and on its outcomes is what distinguishes one participatory approach from another. Consequently, in deciding which approach to use, it is important to consider the following: How Much Agreement Is Likely to Be Reached through the Process? If there is a strong likelihood that consensus will be reached, a planning exercise will be feasible. If not, an activity that more easily accommodates disagreement, such as collaborative learning, may be more useful. Will the Outcomes Be Implemented? If Yes, By Whom? Do the implementers have the right to review, accept, modify, or reject any or part of the outcome? If it is likely that the outcome will be implemented reasonably intact, a planning exercise is warranted. If not, shared learning may be a better way to generate an array of options. How Inclusive Is the Approach Being Considered? Can the approach be structured to facilitate the contribution of marginalized groups? Historically marginalized and excluded groups may not believe they are able to affect change and may need opportunities to develop their collective strengths to be able to buy into the recovery process. Making an effort to reach out and include them as active participants enhances the likelihood of a long-term, sustainable outcome.

Techniques for Participatory Processes

Some of the techniques described below are common practices used by community leaders in public participation processes; others are used less often and are associated with particular approaches. Local officials may choose a combination of techniques that best matches the character of the community and the goals and objectives of the process. Public Meetings Public meetings are used to exchange information and obtain ideas from residents about goals, problems, and potential solutions. They should only be used if citizen information is likely to influence decisions.


Participatory Processes Issue Presentations The purpose of issue presentations is for experts to provide information on scientific, technical and legal dimensions of a problem. Each presentation should include a question and answer session. Panel Discussions After issue presentations, discussions are commonly held with panelists representing critical stakeholder groups. Panelists talk briefly about their viewpoints and concerns and those of the groups they represent. A question and answer discussion period with all participants may follow. Workshops Workshops consist of an interactive format in which participants views and ideas are explicitly solicited, often on predetermined themes. To maximize participation, attendees may be invited to work in subgroups. Field Trips Field trips are helpful for viewing problems first hand and speaking to people who cannot attend gatherings in a given place. Live Call-in Radio Live call-in radio may be used get immediate feedback on potential solutions. If there is widespread Internet access, real-time chat rooms and virtual forums may be useful. Charette A classic planning technique, a charette is an intense effort to solve problems in a limited amount of time. A typical charette is characterized by a structured schedule, open process for participation, and three activities that involve generating ideas, decision making, and problem solving.

Encouraging Participation
Engaging appropriate individuals and representatives of agencies and organizations is critical to the success of any form of participatory process. Organized and unorganized groups of citizens need to be included if they can provide useful information for resolving the issue or if they could affect implementation by accepting or rejecting it. There are several practical steps that a community can take to increase public participation and to improve the quality of the input. It is essential that people are informed of their opportunity to participate and of how their input will be used. PublicityMake the effort to reach as many people as possible with invitations to participate. Send information to people who have been affected or will be affected. Post notices in conspicuous places, such as public buildings and community centers. Make the messages clear, simple, and supported with photographs or illustrations. Make use of existing newsletters or consider establishing a new one for the project. Write press releases and arrange for press coverage from the local media. Get the message out in as many languages and formats as appropriate. 3-3

Participatory Processes

LogisticsTake into account peoples busy schedules and the competing demands on their time. Making participation as easy as possible for them will increase attendance. Select a convenient, accessible location, or consider offering duplicate sessions at several locations and times. Schedule sessions during a time that is likely to work for most people (week days, week evenings, weekends). Supply refreshments. Provide childcare. Provide translation services (City of Denton, 1999).

Dos and Donts for Encouraging Participation

Anticipate issues rather than having them imposed. Avoid viewing public involvement as good or bad. Recognize that public involvement requires sharing decision making authority. Define ahead of time which publics to involve. Define ahead of time what can and cannot be negotiated. Define issues in terms amenable to resolution; avoid either/or terms. Keep in mind the specific objectives of the public process. Select an appropriate decision making form. Consider citizen attitudes toward institutional goals. Use more than one approach. Work to build relationships. Keep an eye on the public interest. Accept and learn from failure.

Not everyone will be able or willing to participate. Some people will be too busy securing the basics of life. Decisions not to participate also may stem from the three factors described below, each of which has different roots and requires different responses. Assumptions that their views are adequately represented by an active group, Source: Thomas, 1995. such as a neighborhood association or environmental public interest group. Lack of awareness of their stake in the decision or viewing it as being of minor importance to them. In this case, a comprehensive public information campaign may provide enough information to determine whether the decision does or does not have personal importance. Disbelief that they can influence the outcome of the process. This may be remedied by a public information campaign that presents technical issues, lays out the proposed process of public involvement, and encourages wider participation (Creighton, 1983).

Financing a Participatory Process

Public and stakeholder involvement processes will require considerable financial and staff resources. The following are a variety of suggestions for financing participatory processes: Presidential disaster declarations make funds available from federal, state, and possibly private sources. Technical assistance also becomes available from federal and state agencies that may include the loan of personnel skilled in planning, facilitation, and leading consensus-building initiatives. After a disaster, local businesses, residents, and out-of-town groups often donate to local relief funds. These funds could provide for special projects, such as developing a participatory process that cannot be funded through other channels. Food and refreshments for public meetings might be donated by area businesses or corporations wishing to assist in the recovery. 3-4

Participatory Processes The local government might be able to tap its own budget for public education or other goals to supply outreach materials. Meeting space could be obtained free from area businesses or nonprofit organizations. Local radio or television stations could donate on-air time for public service announcements or for live broadcast of meetings.

Examples of Success
Vermillion River Basin, South Dakota
The Vermillion River basin drains 2,185 square miles in the southeast corner of South Dakota into the Missouri River near Burbank, South Dakota. At the time of the 1993 flooding of the Vermillion River basin, the population density of the area was 25-35 people per square mile. The flood caused $250 million in damages and provided a catalyst for undertaking a multiobjective flood mitigation plan. After a series of exploratory phone calls, the South Dakota Division of Emergency Management, the TLC (Turner, Lincoln, and Clay counties) Water Project District, the National Park Service (NPS), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) decided to have a public brainstorming session to bring together as many people and agencies as possible from inside and outside the basin to consider how to improve quality of life. The outcome of the session would be a plan that residents could realistically use, without waiting for massive federal assistance, to reduce vulnerability to flooding and to address other issues residents thought important (Zahn et al., 1994). Local agencies and interested individuals drew up a preliminary list of 17 issues, grouped into the five categories below, that they thought a planning workshop should address: Flood hazard management, drainage, and transportation systems Economic development and sustainability, cultural and historic resources, and housing Fish and wildlife Outdoor recreation and open space Water quality and erosion Organizers recruited individuals from different agencies and groups with the expertise necessary to understand local concerns, make recommendations, and suggest sources and methods of implementation assistance and funding. About 150 people participated in the planning workshop June 20-24, 1994, in Parker, South Dakota. Two-thirds of participants were residents of the basin, while one-third were from local, state, and national organizations. They used a four-step planning process (note similarity to Steps 4, 5, 6, and 7 of the 10-step process for holistic recovery described in Chapter 2). 1. Define the basins flood-related problems and goals. 2. List sensible ideas for solving each problem. 3. Identify ways to reach other basin goals that coincide with or complement the potential solutions to the flood problems. 4. Specify sources of technical assistance and funding for each idea and how to obtain it.


Participatory Processes Step 1 was accomplished on Monday, the first day, in a large public meeting. On Tuesday, participants broke out into five planning teams, one for each issue. A draft plan was produced Thursday night for presentation to public officials in the basin on Friday, the last day of the workshop. The process resulted in a planning document (published with technical and financial assistance from the NPS and FEMA that described the background and physical characteristics of the basin, outlined concerns as expressed by the participants, listed possible solutions to each of those concerns, and identified ways in which those solutions could be tackled. The document, MultiObjective Flood Mitigation PlanVermillion River Basin South Dakota (listed in the resources section at the end of this chapter) was not intended to be adopted as a formal plan, but it has served as a foundation for subsequent efforts by residents and business people to address multiple objectives. The basin was successful in getting enabling legislation passed at the state level that makes it possible for a river basin district to be formally established to plan for and implement solutions to basinwide problems.

Tropical Storm Allison in Texas

In June 2001, Tropical Storm Allison flooded 35 communities in Texas. The storm caused $5 billion in damage in the city of Houston alone, which is part of Harris County. FEMA and the Harris County Flood Control District partnered to conduct flood studies that remapped 1,200 miles of stream in 22 watersheds (encompassing all 35 flooded communities in Texas). They created the Tropical Storm Allison Recovery Project (TSARP). The team invited all 35 communities to participate in the mapping process to generate community involvement in the project. The TSARP held frequent meetings and communities participated in advisory committees and stakeholder groups. The TSARP used many different tools for effective community outreach and credits these tools with helping people to understand and eventually support the idea that updated and more accurate maps help reduce the impacts of future flooding. These tools are listed here: A Web site for posting presentations, reports, educational resources, and guidance documents Publications Community visits by the Harris County Flood Control District Communication Department A public outreach consultant to lead media and public relations Clear, concise messages to specific audiences Training courses for flood insurance agents Presentations to civic organizations, real estate groups, homeowner associations, and business and environmental groups throughout Harris County Those involved with the map modernization project believed the coordinated outreach plan involving all of the affected communities was a key to its success.


Participatory Processes

Monitoring the Participatory Process

The sophistication and extent of monitoring will vary with the type of participatory process chosen. At a minimum, it is important to ask participants during the process if midcourse corrections are needed. Planners and decision makers must be willing and able to make modifications. Decisions about what aspects will be evaluated should be made while designing the participatory process. This helps to ensure that activities are focused and goals are clear. Documenting the experience of participation is essential for monitoring and evaluation. Ideally, both participants and those managing and financing the endeavor should evaluate it. Feedback should be obtained immediately following the activity and again after enough time has lapsed to assess the outcomes (City of Denton, 1999).

There is no guarantee that a participatory process will lead to successful outcomes. Broader public interests may be neglected in favor of the special interests of specific publics who accept the invitation to become involved (Thomas, 1995). Even when people do participate, involvement may not be continuous or predictable. Commitment and interest wanes as people tire of the task. They may have preconceived ideas about desirable outcomes, and their enthusiasm can fade when it turns out that other people disagree (Cornwall and Jewkes, 1995). People participate because they have some interest in the outcome and remain involved as long as that interest persists. Differences in technical expertise, roles in the community, and willingness and ability to commit time and energy inevitably lead to different levels of involvement. People may participate in some stages of the process more than others. In addition, the participating public will express inconsistent preferences that lead to conflict and leave decision makers with mixed signals about what to do (Steelman and Ascher, 1997). Although it is not without pitfalls, a well-chosen and appropriately employed participatory process can make the difference in the successful implementation and effectiveness of recovery strategies over time. Committing to a participatory approach characterized by transparency and mutual learning builds trust in the integrity of the process and reduces suspicion of the motives of agencies or the influence of powerful interests. Allowing for an open dialogue and for the time needed to work through issues will result in more legitimate and sustainable outcomes.

Where to Find More Information

Videos, CDs, and Software
The IBM Neighborhood America Public Comment Service This service supports the management of public comment collected both online and by traditional means. Project managers are able to manage large volumes of public comment, moderate questions, and generate reports that categorize, classify, and characterize public responses. Visit


Participatory Processes

Web Resources
AmericaSpeaks AmericaSpeaks is a nonprofit organization that engages citizens in the public decisions that impact their lives. The organization develops tools that work for both citizens and decision makers and designs and facilitates large-scale town meetings on public policy issues. Their Web site provides information on history, projects, and other resources. Visit Community Planning Web Site This Web site shows how a variety of participation methods can be used in different scenarios ranging from disaster management to village revival. The site offers checklists and templates as well as general principles and resource listings. Visit Creighton and Creighton This Web site provides an annotated list of links about public involvement. Visit Local Government Commission Center for Livable Communities The Web site of the Local Government Commission provides explanations of why public participation is important in community planning, the use of computer simulation in public participation, the use of community surveys, and participatory land use mapping. Visit The Highlander Education and Research Center This group specializes in participatory education and action research and stakeholder involvement. Their Web site includes resources for multiracial organizing in the southern United States. Visit U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Green Communities Program The Green Communities program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency identifies five steps to community sustainability: community assessment, trends analysis, vision statement, sustainable action plans, and implementation. Under each step, the Tools section explains methods for community involvement. Visit

Books, Guidebooks, and Articles

American Red Cross. Building Disaster Resistant Neighborhoods Handbook. Washington DC: American Red Cross. This handbook outlines a step-by-step action plan, with examples, to assist planners in working with neighborhood associations to help them become better prepared for the next disaster.


Participatory Processes Becker, William S. and Roberta F. Stauffer. 1994. Rebuilding the FutureA Guide to Sustainable Redevelopment for Disaster-Affected Communities. Golden, CO: U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Center of Excellence for Sustainable Development. This document summarizes why sustainability is important and gives an example of sustainable development in one community, Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin. The reader is walked step-by-step through the holistic recovery process. Chapter 4 provides information on citizen involvement. Bleiker, Hans and Annemarie Bleiker. 2000. Citizen Participation Handbook for Public Officials and Other Professionals Serving the Public. Monterey, CA: The Institute for Participatory Management and Planning. This book contains information on how citizen participation works, techniques for fulfilling project objectives, and worksheets for assessing project needs and participation processes. Creighton, James. 2005. The Public Participation Handbook: Making Better Decisions through Citizen Involvement. San Francisco, California: Jossey-Bass. A practical guide to designing and facilitating participation of the public in environmental and public policy decision making, this guide is written for government officials, the public, community leaders, and professional facilitators. It includes a toolkit for designing a participation process, selecting techniques to encourage participation, facilitating successful public meetings, working with the media, and evaluating the program. FEMA. 2003. State and Local Mitigation Planning How-To-Guide. Washington, DC: FEMA. This link is Chapter 1: Building Support for Mitigation Planning, Step 3: Engage the Public, which offers procedures and techniques for identifying the public, organizing public participation activities, and developing a public education campaign. Access the full document at FEMA. 2000. Rebuilding for a More Sustainable Future. Washington, DC: FEMA. This document provides guidance in the postdisaster response and recovery process. It provides an introduction to the principles and practices of sustainable development and explains the need for sustainable actions to be incorporated into the postdisaster recovery process. Section 3: Focus on the Community provides different approaches to public involvement and describes recent initiatives taken by communities to create a more sustainable future. Krajeski, Richard L. and Kristina J. Peterson. 1999. But She Is a Woman and This Is a Mans Job: Lessons for Participatory Research and Participatory Recovery. International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters 17(1): 123-130. Kweit, Mary and Robert Kweit. 2004. Citizen Participation and Citizen Evaluation in Disaster Recovery. American Review of Public Administration 34 (4): 354-373.


Participatory Processes This article examines the effects citizens perceptions of the public participation process following the flooding in East Grand Forks and Grand Forks, North Dakota, had on their evaluation of the success of the recovery. National Disaster Education Coalition. 2004. Talking about Disaster: A Guide for Standard Messages. Washington DC: National Disaster Education Coalition. The National Disaster Education Coalition has reviewed and updated this guide for standard messages. The purpose of the guide is to assist those who provide disaster safety information to the general public. It contains awareness and action messages intended to help people reduce their risk of injury or loss in the event of natural and human-caused disasters, including drought, earthquakes, fires, floods, hazardous materials incidents, heat, hurricanes and tropical storms, tornadoes, and tsunamis. Sanoff, H. 2000. Community Participation Methods in Design and Planning. New York, NY: John Wiley and Sons. This how-to guide to community design provides tools and techniques for bringing community members into the design process successfully and productively. Wilcox, David. 1994. The Guide to Effective Participation. UK: Partnerships Online. This online guide, The Guide to Effective Participation, was designed for community activists and professionals in the United Kingdom but has many useful resources for those in the United States interested in fostering community participation as well.


Chapter 4

Using Disaster Recovery to Maintain and Enhance Quality of Life

Quality of life means different things to different individuals, households, and communities. It may be defined as the product of the interplay among social, health, economic, and environmental conditions that affect human and social development, (Shookner, 1997). The disaster recovery period presents an opportunity to maintain and enhance quality of life elements in a community, such as: Housinghome ownership, affordable homes and rental properties, appreciating property values Educationadequate and safe public education Mobilitytransportation alternatives and efficient flow of traffic Health Careaccess to high-quality and affordable health care facilities and services Employmentsuitable job opportunities and low unemployment rates Economicseconomic vitality, affordable products and services, local business owners, vibrant downtowns and business districts Recreationwell-designed public spaces, open spaces, parks, greenways, and recreational facilities Environmentminimal pollution, healthy ecosystems, and resource and energy efficient residential and commercial buildings Public Safetylittle exposure to crime, diseases, and disasters Equity and Civic Engagementability for residents, community groups, and the private sector to participate in planning and development efforts Disaster Resiliencehousing, employment, transportation, and public facilities that are protected from or able to withstand impacts of natural hazards

How Disasters Disrupt Quality of Life

Disasters create sudden changes to social networks, lifelines, the environment, housing, and the economy and also dramatically affect the health and safety of community residents. The following scenarios demonstrate some of these changes and how disasters impact communities each year. Damaged infrastructure causes reduced mobility and access to services Damaged utilities (power lines, phone lines, water treatment plants) reduce communication and increase threat of disease

Enhancing Quality of Life Damaged public facilities (schools, central business districts and downtowns, historic districts, airports, harbors, stormwater systems, power plants, telecommunication centers) affect education, employment, recreation, the economy, and public safety Damaged or uninhabitable housing leads to loss of possessions and homelessness Damaged businesses cause economic disruption and spur unemployment, loss of tax base, and a shortage of basic supplies Damaged schools and universities reduce access to learning, recreation, child care, employment, and customers Unemployment severs access to health insurance and other benefits Environmental damage may result in erosion and pollution of air and water Damaged medical facilities and limited access to social services, family services, and daycare cause further personal trauma
Hurricane Katrina Drives Up Gas Prices Nationwide
After Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005, gasoline prices rose across the United States and some stations ran dry or experienced long lines at the gas pumps. The high prices were related to the impact of the storm on oil refineries and pipelines along the Gulf Coast. Katrina shut down ten refineries and slowed service at six others. The hurricane also knocked power out to the pipelines that transported petroleum to the Midwest and the East Coast. Ten percent of the nations refining capacity was lost due to the storm. Source: Geotimes 2005.

Large cities may have the ability to absorb the negative effects of disasters, but rural communities are not always as resilient. For example, when tornadoes struck Stroud, Oklahoma, a rural community southwest of Tulsa, three of its top four employers were devastated. Suddenly, the towns tax base dissolved, and as a result, its only hospital permanently closed (Baruch and Baruch, 2000). Disasters also have effects far beyond their immediate geographic impact zone. Disruption may extend to other communities in the area, region, and even the nation.

Recovery Strategies for Enhancing Quality of Life

Communities may begin to enhance quality of life during the disaster recovery process. A community can start with the situations that exist after a disaster, pick and choose among the options for improving its quality of life, select implementation tools to pursue each of those options, and develop strategies that are specially tailored to its own needs. Some of the options and recovery strategies a community could use to improve quality of life when faced with disaster are listed below. These options are not exhaustive but instead illustrate the range of possibilities. Likewise, the sample strategies below suggest ways in which some options and disasters could be combined to help a community improve its quality of life.


Enhancing Quality of Life

Options for Maintaining and Enhancing Quality of Life

Make housing available/affordable. Provide educational opportunities. Ensure mobility. Provide health and other services. Provide employment opportunities. Provide recreational opportunities. Maintain safe/healthy environments. Create opportunities for civic engagement.

Situation: Damaged transportation facilities Recovery Strategies: Rebuild to increase mobility. Circulation patterns should allow efficient and safe movement between home, work, and recreation as well as effective evacuation. Rebuilding efforts should not threaten neighborhood integrity, historic and cultural resources, or environmental quality. Allow for alternative modes of transit, such as walking and cycling. Create connecting paths and greenways for pedestrians and cyclists with some common nodes for social interaction. Beautify the parking lots of public facilities. Upgrade outdoor parking lot facilities to integrate greening concepts and improve aesthetics. Community residents can be asked to compete in design competitions or tree planting and maintenance programs. Situation: Damaged public facilities Recovery Strategies: Make public facilities less vulnerable to future hazards. Move public facilities out of known hazard zones (see Chapter 8 on mitigation), but first study the impact of their new locations on future growth and transportation patterns in the community. Enhance educational opportunities by rebuilding or upgrading schools. Repairs, modernization, and upgrades should focus on structural safety and energy efficiency. Enhance public facilities and access to them by designing or redesigning schools to be magnets for recreation, sports, and meetings. Ensure that schools have recreational facilities and meeting rooms to host sports tournaments and other activities. Situation: Damaged utilities Recovery Strategies: Relocate critical facilities and equipment out of known hazard zones or retrofit the facilities to minimize disruption of services. Situation: Damaged housing Recovery Strategies: Rezone parts of the community for affordable housing. Inventory damaged housing with a history of abandonment and tax delinquency. Consider buyouts of these properties to eliminate eyesores and reduce potential negative impacts on property values.


Enhancing Quality of Life Encourage energy efficient buildings. Provide educational forums and advice for home and business owners on techniques and funding sources to replace aging, damaged heating and cooling equipment with the latest techniques and equipment to lower costs. Provide public spaces for social interaction and recreation. Buy out homes in known danger zones and use the space as parkland, community gardens, or other public open spaces that will promote social interaction and recreation for all residents. Upgrade building codes so that new construction will be built with a higher standard.

Situation: Disruption of health and safety Recovery Strategies: Use the opportunity to identify gaps in family services, social services, and health care facilities and ensure that emergency plans have defined strategies and policies for short-term and long-term sheltering for residents with special needs. Create or update the communitys database of housing locations of vulnerable populations for evacuation and rescue purposes. Create maps that show locations of different population segments and their potential vulnerability to future hazards. Consider whether staff in the health and social service sectors are representative of the wider community, especially with regard to spoken languages (see Chapter 6).

Tools for Enhancing Quality of Life

Conceptually, communities with a good quality of life have certain traits in common: social ties are strong, the built environment supports a comfortable lifestyle, the economy is healthy, and environmental quality is preserved. In different communities, people will interpret these traits to mean different things and will place varying levels of importance on them. Therefore, the tools used after a disaster to enhance a communitys quality of life should reflect residents needs and priorities for community improvement. Some tools that could be used during recovery (or any time) to enhance quality of life are listed below.

Tools for Enhancing Quality of Life

Public participation Zoning and land use planning Historic preservation Property acquisition Special protection of critical infrastructure Environmental improvements

Public Participation
Public participation in decision making is essential for identifying what quality of life issues are important to residents and for obtaining local support for improvements. Community members may be willing to lead a task force or committee with a specific quality of life improvement goal. There also may be standing local committees that address such issues as housing, economic development, infrastructure, and hazards mitigation. Members of these committees can serve as liaisons to the public, educating other community members about the importance of disaster


Enhancing Quality of Life mitigation in improving quality of life. (Public participation is discussed in detail in Chapter 3).

Zoning and Land Use Planning

Zoning ordinances are the development tools that regulate the location, type, and intensity of new development. Zoning has been used in many communities to restrict growth in high-hazard areas, which can also improve quality of life by increasing safety. Examples of zoning techniques that traditionally have been used to restrict development in hazardous areas are floodplain regulations, fault-line and coastal setbacks, and hillside development regulations. New kinds of sustainable land use planning techniques and tools can improve both quality of life and disaster resilience, such as smart growth principles, urban growth boundaries, infill development, minimum density zoning, and brownfields development. Smart growth refers to a development approach in which growth or economic development is in balance with the environment and quality of life. Smart growth directs new development to limited areas, promotes mixed-use development, and encourages renovation of older areas. Urban growth boundaries are used to limit urban sprawl into surrounding rural communities, agricultural land, and open space. Urban areas are allowed denser development than rural ones and are designed to have mixed-use development, infill development, and land use patterns that reduce reliance on automobiles for travel. Infill development refers to the development of vacant or less-developed parcels of land in already developed areas. Infill development encourages more concentrated development in areas already served by infrastructure, transportation, and other municipal services. It also may be used to for urban renewal purposes. Towns looking for places to house residents after a disaster might consider infilling existing urban areas. Minimum density zoning requires that development densities stay above a certain level by mandating average or maximum lot sizes. The goal of minimum density zoning is to use land efficiently. Brownfields are areas of land that were previously developed, but environmental concerns now hinder new development. Brownfields can be reclaimed for new development through a program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency known as the Brownfields Economic Redevelopment Initiative. Brownfield remediation and redevelopment improves the overall health and safety of the community but can be a very timely process. For more information, visit

Historic Preservation
Preserving a communitys historic architecture and design adds to its aesthetic appeal and unique sense of identity. However, historic buildings may be vulnerable to hazards or may have deteriorated to the point that they are unsafe. Both the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Park Service (NPS) administer programs to help communities preserve historic buildings. FEMAs Public Assistance Grant Program provides federal assistance to state, local, or tribal governments for use in the repair, replacement, or restoration of historic structures damaged by disasters. Through its Historic Preservation Grants-in-Aid, the NPS provides matching grants to states to assist state, local, and tribal governments expand and accelerate their


Enhancing Quality of Life historic preservation activities and expand the National Register of Historic Places.

Property Acquisition
Alternative transportation and recreation are two quality of life goals that can go hand-in-hand with disaster mitigation. FEMAs Hazard Mitigation Grant Program allows for the acquisition and relocation of damaged properties, which in turn allows the land to be converted to public open space. The Transportation Emergency Relief Program of the Federal Highway Administration provides aid for the repair of federal-aid highways and roads on federal lands that have suffered major damage. These funds can be used to improve the quality and lifespan of roads. For more information, visit The Rails to Trails Conservancy allows communities to use old railroad right-of-ways for bike or walking paths. Because many railroads were built on the lowest ground available, they are often in floodplains. Maintaining these areas as trail corridors, rather than developing them, can save money when the next flood occurs and provide recreation and transportation opportunities in the meantime. For more information, visit The NPS operates a Land and Water Conservation Grant program that allows for the acquisition and development of land for outdoor recreation areas. For more information, visit

Special Protection of Critical Infrastructure

Communities must plan for the availability of water, energy, and shelter during a disaster. Energy needs can be reduced by retrofitting existing buildings and encouraging the use of new techniques in new construction. Reducing energy needs could be a critical first step to ensuring that a community has energy reserves to accommodate the next heat wave or cold snap. A community might consider high R-value insulation in walls or ceilings; underground power lines that are not as susceptible to damage during storms as hanging lines; efficient design in size and scale of buildings; retrofitting of heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems, energy efficient windows and appliances; and conversion to alternative fuels.

Environmental Improvements
A healthy environment and access to natural areas enhances the quality of life in a community by providing recreational and educational opportunities and improving aesthetics, while also improving disaster resilience. Wetlands store floodwater, improve surface water quality, and provide wildlife habitat. Native vegetation breaks the force of wind, decreases erosion, and may be resistant to wildfire. There are several groups and programs that can assist with environmental improvements. For example, the National Arbor Day Foundation has several programs that encourage communities to plant trees. Other environmental enhancement programs are discussed in Chapter 7.


Enhancing Quality of Life

Actions to Enhance Quality of Life in the 10-Step Recovery Process

Once the recovery ideas or strategies are identified, the community will need to explore them through a systematic process to determine the best approach, select feasible tools, locate technical assistance, formulate details, plan for action, find funding, get approval, and move toward implementation. Within the 10-step process described in Chapter 2, the following activities will help ensure that quality of life is improved during the disaster recovery process.

Step 2: Involve the Public

The recovery period presents a vast opportunity to improve local civic capacity and bring together diverse segments of a community. Chapter 3 provides information about different approaches to maximize participation and Chapter 6 discusses how to identify and involve people that may have been overlooked in the past.

Relocation of Rhineland, Missouri

Rhineland, Missouri, a community of 157 people, was relocated to a 49-acre plot adjacent to its previous location after being flooded four times in 1993. This project boasted a 96 percent participation rate and a well-planned redevelopment phasing process. Rhinelands sources of funding included the following: Community Development Block Grants Economic Development Administration FEMA Missouri Housing Development Commission Village of Rhineland

Actions: Organize meetings at convenient times and venues and make sure to provide transportation, child care, and food. Do not reinvent the wheel. Review this manual and other resources to identify examples of other communities that have successfully incorporated principles of sustainability during disaster recovery. Be prepared to share this information with the public and make comparisons with the local situation. Use different media (flyers, posters, local newspaper, local television stations, and the Internet) to reach the public.

Steps 4 and 5: Identify and Evaluate the Problem

Use the postdisaster window of opportunity to discuss predisaster conditions that detracted from the communitys quality of life and how they now may be improved upon. Actions: As part of a community meeting, ask participants to voice what they like and dislike about their community. This information may already be available if the community recently completed a master plan or other project that engaged residents in a visioning process. After the meeting, planners should be able to articulate the following: What were the predisaster problems? What are the postdisaster problems? Which problems are common; which problems are different? Which problems must be addressed to enhance quality of life in the community?


Enhancing Quality of Life

Step 6: Set Goals and Objectives

In setting goals, public officials should engage the community in a visioning process to identify the quality of life elements that they wish to maintain and enhance. Actions: Prepare a map of the community that shows major landmarks and roads. As part of a meeting, ask residents to list their address and place a square on the map to indicate where they live and an x where they work. Prepare a simple form so that residents can place a check mark next to the elements they feel are important to maintain and enhance. Leave blank spaces for them to add in others. Possible examples include the following: Agriculture and related industries Historic and rural character Economic vitality and new business Open space, greenways, and parks Sustainability and Disaster Energy and/or water efficiency Resilience in North Carolina Natural resources North Carolinas Division of Emergency Disaster-resilient, affordable housing Management provides communities with Low unemployment rates guiding principles of sustainability and related Good public education strategies and indicators to improve disaster Easy access to centers of employment, resilience and quality of life. The goals are categorized as: education, and recreation Sustainable housing Easy flowing traffic and planned Sustainable business evacuation routes Sustainable critical infrastructure Public transit Sustainable environment Community centers Source: North Carolina Division of Prepare a final map of the community from Emergency Management and the Federal the exercises completed in the prior steps, Emergency Management Agency 2005. summarize the main outcomes, and distribute a one-page flyer to participants and the media as part of a follow-up meeting to discuss and review potential strategies and actions. Try to reach additional residents, particularly those from different groups.

Step 7: Explore All Alternative Strategies

Besides considering different ways to incorporate quality of life concerns, work to consolidate multiple sustainability objectives, such as economic, environmental, social, and mitigation objectives. Select from the opportunities identified under Step 5, the goals and objectives set in Step 6, and the options and tools described in this chapter. The strategies will need to be expanded and tailored to meet the needs of the community. It is important at this juncture to confirm that any alternative selected does not detract from other principles of sustainability.


Enhancing Quality of Life

Step 10: Implement, Evaluate, and Revise

Because recovery is a long-term process, the goals and policies formulated early in the process must be implemented gradually with ongoing funding and through institutionalization of appropriate procedures, rules, budgets, and policies.

Examples of Success
Communities have used the long-term recovery and reconstruction period to replace aging and damaged buildings with new structures built with the latest techniques to lower heating and cooling costs. Others have used the recovery period to remedy their affordable housing problem. Affordable housing and home ownership have emerged as top priorities in many rebuilding efforts. However, new affordable housing should also be disaster resilient. Research institutions, nonprofit organizations, and FEMA can provide resources and advice on design and building options that are both safe and affordable; some of these resources are listed at the end of the chapter.

Relocating Residents in Louise, Mississippi

Gill Quarter, a low-income, 22-home subdivision in the Mississippi River delta town of Louise, Mississippi, is located in the Silver Creek floodway. Seasonal floods caused great damage to homes. Beginning in 1999, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, Mississippi Department of Economic and Community Development, the Town of Louise, and the South Delta Planning and Development District completed a project to provide Hazard Mitigation Grant funds and Community Development Block Grant funds to acquire the structures and relocate the residents to new affordable housing and rental units.

Financing Affordable Housing in Quincy, Massachusetts

The recovery period after disaster declarations for Noreasters in 1991 and 1992 gave the city of Quincy, Massachusetts, the opportunity to address its goal of increasing the availability of financing for affordable housing within the city. The city provided a range of options for homeowners whose properties were located in flood prone areas. The goal was to reduce vulnerability through retrofit, relocation, and structural improvements. The city also forged some creative partnerships by incorporating public funds not traditionally applied to mitigation. The success of the citys First Time Home Buyer/Local Lender Memorandum of Understanding was recognized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), who granted it a Local Best Practice Award in 2000. Signers of the memorandum included the City of Quincy Department of Planning and Community Development, HUD, the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, and local lenders. The projects three primary strategies demonstrate the citys commitment to incorporating multiple objectives into its mitigation planning: housing retrofits, public works improvement, and housing acquisition and demolition.

Sustainable Urban Design and Mitigation in San Francisco, California

After years of debate, San Francisco, California, decided to demolish rather than repair an earthquake-damaged elevated freeway along its Embarcadero waterfront area. The redesigned public space has contributed to a major economic revitalization of the immediate area, which


Enhancing Quality of Life also includes the new privately funded waterfront baseball park that is home to the San Francisco Giants.

Monitoring Quality of Life

As public officials work to maintain and enhance quality of life, these five indicators can be used to monitor progress toward goals. 1. Short-Term vs. Long-Term Recovery ActivitiesHow do the immediate, short-term reconstruction efforts affect the overall long-term efforts to maintain and enhance a communitys quality of life? It is important for the recovery team to keep track of the immediate postdisaster recovery, repair, and reconstruction activities. They should not jeopardize long-term sustainability efforts. 2. Multiobjective ManagementHow is this process promoting multiobjective management? Quality of life should already be a guiding principle inherent in many ongoing local, state, and federal initiatives related to smart growth, economic development, housing, and transportation. Join forces with these other programs. 3. Consistency with Other Local Planning EffortsDo the quality of life elements envisioned by the community complement other locally-driven planning and development initiatives? Where appropriate, set goals that are consistent with a recent comprehensive plan. Make sure the comprehensive plan takes into account vulnerable areas. 4. A Vision Shared by Community ResidentsHow is this process promoting participation by everyone? Quality of life should be a shared vision of community residents from diverse backgrounds (rich and poor, employed and unemployed, young and old, homeowners and renters, business owners and consumers). Public participation should be a continuous process as different groups move in and out of the area. 5. Consideration of Current and Future ResidentsIs the redevelopment process contributing to an improved quality of life for current and future generations? Aim to improve the following factors and conditions: employment opportunities, social interaction, environmental quality, energy efficiency, equity, opportunities for civic engagement and community building, education, recreation and pleasure, affordable housing, and health and safety.

Where to Find More Information

Videos, CDs, and Software
Mitigation Revitalizes a Floodplain Community: The Darlington Story. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR). 1997. Madison, WI. This video is about the efforts of a small rural Wisconsin community to reverse the effects of neglect and disinvestment in its historic downtown area following repeated flooding and economic change. Using a multiobjective planning and management strategy, officials and citizens, in partnership with government agencies and private entities, identified six goals: 1) preserve the historic character of the downtown; 2) restore community pride; 3) acquire and relocate commercial properties at risk; 4) 4-10

Enhancing Quality of Life elevate and flood proof commercial and residential structures; 5) stimulate investment downtown; and 6) pursue tourism as an economic strategy. The video follows the mitigation process from early meetings through floodproofing and relocation. Available free from Wisconsin DNR, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921; (608) 264-9200.

Web Resources
Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) Blueprint for Safety Program This Web site offers an educational program that is designed to provide accurate, current, and reliable information about disaster safety building techniques and features to help families become better prepared for floods, hurricanes, wildfires, and windstorms. Visit FEMA Historic Preservation and Cultural Resources Program The Environmental, Historic Preservation, and Cultural Resources Programs integrate environmental and historic preservation considerations into FEMAs mission of preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation. The program helps agency staff and nonfederal partners anticipate and accomplish environmental and historic preservation review required by federal laws and executive orders. This Web site provides an overview of how FEMA integrates environmental and historic preservation considerations into agency programs and provides resources that FEMAs nonfederal partners can use in disaster preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery. Visit Florida Long-Term Hurricane Recovery Initiatives The Florida Department of Community Affairs in coordination with FEMA is working to help Florida communities hit hardest by Hurricanes Charley and Ivan prepare plans for recovery. Their long-term hurricane recovery initiatives are highlighted on this Web site, which includes recovery plans, recovery meeting minutes, recovery updates, and community suggestions. Visit Heritage Preservation, The National Institute for Conservation Heritage Preservation is working to save the objects that embody our history, partnering with conservators, museums, civic groups, and concerned individuals across the nation who care about preserving pieces of our shared and individual pasts. The Web site contains information on conservation, education, preparation, and how to become involved. In addition, their site links to the Heritage Emergency National Task Force, which includes information about the task force, their response to Hurricanes Rita and Katrina, and a hurricane resource page. The resources link to federal funding for cultural institutions, rapid building and site condition assessment, and hurricane salvage information, among other types of advice. Visit Local Government Commission The Local Government Commission (LGC) is a nonprofit organization working to build livable communities in California. LGC organizes a variety of conferences, workshops, and training sessions on land use and transportation-related issues. The organization also publishes a monthly newsletter and has a resources library with a catalog of videos and slides.


Enhancing Quality of Life Visit North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office Information for Owners of Damaged Buildings following a Natural Disaster In recent years hurricanes, tornados, and other natural disasters have inflicted enormous suffering and property damage across parts of North Carolina. The State Historic Preservation Office offers information sheets to assist historic property owners in recovering from a natural disaster. Visit Operation Fresh Start, Rebuilding Your Home and Community Planning sections This Web site is designed to empower individuals and communities as they recover from natural disasters by providing resources and tools that can help rebuild communities, businesses, and homes using sustainable principles and technologies. The site also links to redevelopment overviews, government resources, nonprofit organizations, manuals, magazines, and newsletters. Visit Smart Communities Network This Web site created by the U.S. Department of Energys Smart Communities Network includes a section on disaster planning that provides information on key principles, case studies, publications, educational materials, and other resources. Visit Smart Growth America, Rebuilding after Katrina Smart Growth Americas coalition is actively engaged in helping the Gulf Coast recover from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Their Web site provides key principles and recommendations for redevelopment as well as related articles and commentary. Visit U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Disaster Recovery Assistance This page provides an overview of the housing and community development assistance for disaster recovery that can be obtained through HUD. Visit

Books, Guidebooks, and Articles

American Planning Association (APA). 2004. Safe Growth America Checklist. Washington, DC: APA. The goal of APAs Safe Growth America initiative is to build environments that are safe for current and future generations of people and to protect structures, transportation and utility infrastructures, and the natural environment from damage. This checklist provides a series of questions to examine the safety of neighborhoods. Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium Journal 7(1). Fall 2000. This special issue focused on the economic vulnerability of rural communities and on disaster recovery for small businesses.


Enhancing Quality of Life Disaster Planning for Floridas Historic Resources. Tallahassee, FL: 1000 Friends of Florida. This manual focuses on steps that local communities can take in coordination with FEMA, Florida Division of Emergency Management, and Florida Division of Historical Resources to ensure that local historic resources are appropriately considered in emergency management activities. FEMA. 2005. Before and After Disasters: Federal Funding for Cultural Institutions. FEMA 533. Washington, DC: FEMA. This guide is an updated and expanded version of Resources for Recovery: Post-Disaster Aid for Cultural Institutions, first developed in 1992 by Heritage Preservation and then revised in 2000. Before and After Disasters includes summary descriptions and contact information for 15 federal grant and loan programsalmost double the number of resources in the previous edition. It covers sources of federal assistance for preparedness, mitigation, and response, as well as for recovery. Sample projects in disaster planning, training, treatment research, and restoration illustrate the funding guidelines. FEMA. 2005. How-To Guide #6 Integrating Historic Property and Cultural Resource Considerations into Hazard Mitigation Planning. Washington, DC: FEMA. The importance of integrating historic property and cultural resource considerations into mitigation planning has been made all too apparent in disasters that have occurred in recent years, such as the Northridge earthquake or the Midwest floods. Whether a disaster impacts a major community museum, a historic main street, or collections of family photographs, the sudden loss of historic properties and cultural resources can negatively impact a communitys character and economy, and can affect the overall ability of the community to recover from a disaster event. This guide shows communities, step-by-step, how to develop and then implement a predisaster planning strategy for their historic properties and cultural resources. It provides community planners with the tools and resources they need to consider historic properties in mitigation planning activities. While the emphasis is on the built environment, this guide has made a special effort to include cultural institutions to address the mitigation of cultural heritage, including museum collections, works of art, and books and documents. Geis, D.E. 2000. By Design: The Disaster Resistant and Quality of Life Community. Natural Hazards Review 1(3): 151-160. According to this author, the present approach to designing and building communities is inadequate and is inflicting great and growing harmphysically, environmentally, socially, economically, and emotionallythat we can no longer tolerate. The disaster resilient community concept, the first step toward creating quality of life communities, was created specifically to provide a new way of thinking. A number of basic questions need to be addressed. What are disaster resistant communities? Why are they important? What are the benefits? What is the relationship between a disaster resistant community and a sustainable quality of life community? And, most importantly, how do we go about creating them? This article provides the answers to these questions so that the concept can be better understood and used to its fullest potential. Lessons from Disaster. 2000. Rural Voices 5(4). 4-13

Enhancing Quality of Life This special issue produced by the Housing Assistance Council featured several stories on the Lessons from Disaster. The Housing Resource Council has also written a guide that explains resources available from federal and state governments for rebuilding housing after a disaster both on a temporary basis and for the long term. National Trust for Historic Preservation. 1993. Treatment of Flood-Damaged Older and Historic Homes. Information Booklet No. 82. Washington, DC: National Trust for Historic Preservation. This guide provides information on treatment of flood-damaged older and historic buildings, including technical information, where to go for assistance, and a checklist of practical considerations. U.S. National Task Force on Emergency Response. 1997. Emergency Response and Salvage Wheel. Washington, DC: National Task Force on Emergency Response. Much of Americas cultural heritage is in the care of museums, libraries, art institutions, and other organizations, and protecting these valuable resources can be difficult under the best of conditions. In a disaster, collections that have been carefully built over many years can be damaged, endangering national treasures. The National Task Force on Emergency Response recently created this tool to guide caretakers in protecting and salvaging their collections. It outlines steps to take in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from disasters and discusses creating disaster plans, working with emergency management agencies in the community, and obtaining assistance from national conservation organizations. The wheel also provides information on responding to a disaster warning, taking protective action during a disaster, initiating recovery activities away from the site, stabilizing a building and its environment, handling documentation, retrieving and protecting artifacts, assessing damage; prioritizing salvage activities, revitalizing historic buildings, and restoring photographs, books, papers, and other materials.


Chapter 5

Building Economic Vitality into Disaster Recovery

A vibrant local economy is a vital component of community sustainability. Embracing sustainability in the local economy means addressing environmental, social equity, disasterresilience, and quality of life factors within the economynot just the bottom line. Economic vitality is the engine that drives recovery. Communities that have successfully recovered and sustained their economic vitality have demonstrated an ability to synchronize their local goals with larger market forces and to act on opportunities to create new partnerships not only with businesses and investors, but also with nongovernmental organizations, insurers, educational institutions, and other segments of the community. Economically successful communities: Respond to community values in economic planning. Creatively utilize traditional economic revitalization tools, such as redevelopment authority. Find ways to transform business districts into more interesting and diverse places. Proactively seek and involve investment and technical assistance partners from within and outside the community. Establish positive images to attract investors. Create new visions for their communities rather than attempting to restore what existed before the disaster. Formulate short-term survival strategies to maintain continuity in the economy while long-term recovery takes place. This chapter focuses on the challenges and opportunities of economic changes after a disaster and discusses how to create a balance between short-term and long-term survival. Strategies, tools, and actions for building economic vitality during disaster recovery are presented along with examples of success stories.

Economic Challenges and Opportunities after a Disaster

Recovery from a disaster is fundamentally an economic proposition and requires that substantial capital be reinvested into the community. Public capital must repair and rebuild facilities and infrastructure. Private capital must be directed into business recovery and housing. Insurance

Building Economic Vitality funds also provide another source of capital for recovery. The pace and success of recovery will be determined by how well the community attracts, effectively utilizes, and sustains the flow of investment capital from a multitude of sources through the rebuilding period. The community faces a substantial challenge in ensuring that sources of capital from outside the region align with local goals for sustainable development. Outside sources can both spur sustainability and undermine it. For example, public assistance programs can mandate mitigation but impose requirements that limit a communitys options. Private and public investment may be focused on limiting front-end construction costs (first costs) at the expense of long-term sustainability (lower life cycle costs for buildings). The policies and requirements for using insurance funds in disaster recovery are another variable that can have major consequences for sustainability. These considerations are important because research indicates that the percentage of reconstruction that is financed by sources outside the region is one of the most influential variables determining the success of recovery. Regional indebtedness and long-term losses from a disaster have been shown to decrease inversely relative to the share of outside capital that finances recovery (Chang, 1997). The postdisaster situation forces a community to reassess its economic situation. In some cases, a disaster might involve only a cursory look at economic policy. For example, the Oakland Hills, California, urban wildfire recovery was primarily residential in scope. In other instances, such as flood recovery in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and East Grand Forks, Minnesota, or earthquake recovery in Santa Cruz and Watsonville, California, the economic setting was changed in fundamental ways by the disaster. Recovery demanded that the communities create new opportunities and build economic components into their postdisaster recovery plans that reflected underlying changes in the local and regional economies.

Achieving a Balancing Act

The process of rebuilding a more sustainable economy entails a critical balancing act. On the one hand, there is no recovery without economic vitalityno investment, no growth. Yet there may be potentially higher short-term costs associated with sustainable redevelopment, such as for buyouts of flood-prone properties or for costs associated with the adoption and implementation of higher development standards or building codes. At the same time, there is pressure to move fast and furiously after a disaster. This pressure can result in economic development being pursued without careful attention to environmental planning, social equity, and other elements of sustainability. This has the potential to recreate the same unsustainable, vulnerable conditions that turned the natural event into a community disaster in the first place. The trick during recovery, therefore, is to demonstrate the long-term economic benefit of sustainable development (or redevelopment) while fully supporting short-term economic activity and to infuse postdisaster plans, policies, and programs with principles of sustainability.


Building Economic Vitality Predisaster planning and recovery policies can be especially important in achieving this balance and ensuring a holistic recovery. For example, if there is already a database of at-risk properties and plans for buyouts, recovery can move ahead more quickly. Having pertinent knowledge available from prevent planning can make it easier for community members to understand choices, make decisions, and support long-term implementation. Conversely, delay can be debilitating.

Economic Changes in the Aftermath of a Disaster

In the postdisaster setting the investment calculations may change dramatically. For example, a major retailer or manufacturing facility that was perfectly happy with the return on investment in the predisaster setting might not be willing to reinvest after the disaster because the cost of repairing or rebuilding may be substantially higher, thereby making reinvestment unprofitable. Or, as in Kobe, Japan, and Northridge, California, a loss of local population centers may devastate local or neighborhood-serving small businesses. On the positive side, the disaster can provide new opportunities for economic development that were not possible previously. Uncertainty compounds and heightens postdisaster economic recovery challenges. Will competing areas forever take market share away from a local facility? How quickly will other businesses reopen to establish critical mass? How soon will infrastructure be in place? Will enough housing be available to sustain neighborhood-serving small businesses? How different will the new economic context be? Each community has a unique economic context and a specific set of economic drivers in the local economy. The overall health of the local economy will rise and fall with the fortunes of the specific economic sectors that are present in the community. Economic vitality can be understood by examining the component parts of the local economy and assessing trends and opportunities within each sector. Factors such as employment, projected growth, relative significance of particular sectors within the total economy, and emerging outside forces, such as the business cycle and industry wide trends, collectively establish the relative vitality of the local economy.

Recovery Strategies to Build Economic Vitality

Building economic vitality can startor continueduring disaster recovery. A community can start with the situations that exist after a disaster and pick and choose among the options for improving its economy and among the tools available to pursue each of those options to develop strategies that are specially tailored to its own needs. The Matrix of Opportunities in Chapter 1 shows some of the options a recovering community could use to further economic vitality while it addresses other disaster-induced challenges. The situations and options shown on the matrix, and the tools listed below, are not exhaustive; rather, they are meant to give an idea of the range of possibilities. Likewise, the sample strategies below suggest ways in which some options and disaster-induced situations could be combined to help a community improve its economy. Notice how each of the strategies suggested below uses one or more of the options listed on the Matrix of Opportunities under the third sustainability principle, Economic Vitality. 5-3

Building Economic Vitality

Options for Building Economic Vitality

Support area redevelopment/revitalization. Attract/retain businesses. Attract/retain work force. Enhance economic functionality. Develop/redevelop recreational, historic, tourist attractions.

A disaster can provide a community with unprecedented opportunities to bring together economic, social equity, quality of life, and environmental goals. After a disaster, community awareness about the value and need for mitigation is extraordinary. Moreover, because the status quo is no longer an option, there can be greater openness to new ideas and to considering different perspectives. This facilitates the opportunity to move beyond old stereotypes and create new community political alliances. Nearly every aspect of the urban fabric can play a role in the functionality and success of the local economy. Here are some illustrations of how recovery strategies addressing specific disaster situations can help support economic sustainability. Situation: Damaged transportation facilities Recovery Strategies to Build Economic Vitality: Rebuild to enhance capacity. Increase the ability to bring people into a business district and to move goods in and out of a community. Rebuild to improve functionality. Create a different circulation pattern or create and/or expand transit. Undo past mistakes and support redevelopment. Demolish an unneeded overhead freeway to reestablish a stronger urban pattern as a key element of economic revitalization of a district. Rebuild to promote more sustainable transportation systems. Change land use to promote mixed uses and more concentrated development to reduce dependence on automobile transportation systems. Situation: Damaged public facilities Recovery Strategies: Rebuild to transform/expand school facilities in support of economic strategies. Form partnerships between the city and the school district to rebuild the high school auditorium as a community performing arts facility. Upgrade public spaces to support economic revitalization. Create new sidewalks and street furniture and plant street trees to create a downtown civic living room to enhance the pedestrian experience and increase commercial activity. Locate new public uses into a damaged area. Establish a community college branch in a downtown to expand activity and population. Establish a community center for displaced families and others to meet social goals and create higher activity levels in support of economic goals.


Building Economic Vitality Rebuild key economic facilities to improve economic and environmental functionality. Rebuild a port facility with state-of-the-art characteristics resulting in greater capacity, reduced energy consumption, restoration of environmental features, enhanced pollution controls, and disaster-resilient design.

Situation: Damaged utilities Recovery Strategies: Create new infrastructure that supports economic growth while incorporating sustainable features. Rebuild a damaged telecommunications system for increased capacity; establish stormwater systems where none existed; increase capacities of water, wastewater, or power facilities to meet future economic needs; use disaster-resilient designs. Form partnerships with utility companies to upgrade systems. Add fiber optics or other advanced technologies in infrastructure when it is rebuilt. Situation: Damaged housing Recovery Strategies: Create new housing opportunities to support area redevelopment. Establish new housing stock in a rebuilding area to support neighborhood-serving businesses. Create new housing stock to serve specialized needs in the economy. Leverage housing reconstruction assistance to alleviate farm-worker housing shortages. Create housing to attract or retain businesses. Establish housing near job centers and in keeping with the housing needs and preferences of workers. Improve neighborhoods to attract or retain businesses. Establish new schools or parks to improve neighborhood vitality. Upgrade housing that was not damaged but could benefit from higher levels of mitigation or quality. Relocate housing out of hazards zones. Create new public attractions, such as parks and recreation facilities, in flood-prone areas to mitigate hazards and attract people into a business district. Situation: Damaged commercial/industrial facilities Recovery Strategies: Rebuild commercial buildings with enhanced features to support businesses. Rebuild retail buildings to have increased floor-to-ceiling ratios, window/display area, and better floor layouts. Create interim commercial facilities. Build temporary retail spaces consolidating multiple businesses in shared facilities. Establish and/or improve mitigation features. Rebuild commercial/industrial facilities in flood-prone areas with elevated electrical elements and ability to seal out water during flooding. Situation: Environmental damage Recovery Strategies: Restore damaged environmental features in ways that support other economic goals. Consider adding improved public pedestrian access along the coastline to encourage tourism while repairing coastal erosion damage. Integrate natural features into business district recovery. Upgrade damaged river levees with improved walkway connections and linkages with a downtown commercial area. 5-5

Building Economic Vitality Establish new tourism opportunities based on interest in understanding natural systems. Set up an earthquake park focused around dramatic examples of faulting, liquefaction, or landslides. Establish memorials or tributes. Memorialize people or events in new greenbelt areas.

Situation: Disruption of health and safety Recovery Strategies: Relocate and reuse medical facilities to support economic as well as health objectives. Relocate a damaged hospital while repairing and reusing the previous structure for mixed-use housing, commercial, or office uses.

Tools for Economic Vitality

Although long-term economic recovery is never an easy task, especially for small communities struck by disaster, the recovery team and local planners have many resources at their disposal. Because economic recovery is recognized as one of the most important and difficult aspects of disaster recovery, many federal agencies have programs to help communities get back on their feet.

Tools for Building Economic Vitality

Redevelopment and housing Economic incentives Loan programs Public-private partnerships Capital improvements Redistricting

Redevelopment and Housing

Housing is essential for economic recovery because a consumer base is necessary to support the businesses in any community. Rather than developing pristine land, a community might consider redevelopment of existing areas by infilling and converting buildings to other uses. Infilling involves filling in undeveloped or less developed parcels of land in order to use the land more efficiently and to encourage mixed-use development. Disasters can also provide opportunities to redevelop economically depressed areas. The redevelopment stage of recovery is also a good time to plan for affordable housing. Hazardprone land is often inexpensive land, and although property acquisition is a good idea for mitigating future natural hazards, doing so may leave poor residents unable to afford new housing. Communities that are economically diverse tend to be healthier economically, so planning for affordable housing makes sense for the economic vitality of the community as a whole.


Building Economic Vitality The Federal Emergency Management Agencys (FEMA) Disaster Housing Program provides for assistance with lodging expense reimbursement, minimal home repairs, and mortgage and rental assistance. Individuals are responsible for application and the type of assistance received is determined after a home inspection.

Economic Incentives
State and local governments can use economic incentives to encourage sustainable redevelopment. One is tax increment financing (TIF) districts. A TIF district establishes a current base level of taxation determined by existing property values and assigns additional increments resulting from increases in property values to a special fund used to pay for infrastructure improvements within the district. TIF districts are one mechanism for financing economic recovery in an area badly devastated by a disaster. Another option is to assess impact fees. The idea is to make development pay the costs of infrastructure expansion. These fees can pay for new schools, libraries, police stations, and other services. Differential taxation is a mechanism that can be used by a local government that seeks to retain undeveloped land in a hazard-prone area. The use of this tool is likely to be heavily dependent on state law, so its use in a given locality should be thoroughly investigated.

Grant and Loan Programs

There are many sources of loans and grants to help individuals and small businesses recover. Some loans and grants are specific to rural or urban communities. For those individuals and small businesses in rural communities seeking recovery assistance, the following programs might be of interest. The U.S. Department of Agricultures (USDA) Farm Service Agency provides low-interest loans to family farmers and ranchers for production losses and physical damage through the Farm Loan Program. The USDAs Rural Development Agency offers loans and grants to promote rural business development and recovery. For individuals and businesses impacted by a disaster in either a rural or urban setting, there are many grant and loan resources available. The U.S. Small Business Administration provides Home and Property Loans, Physical Disaster Loans, and Economic Injury Loans to individuals and businesses. These are direct loans to businesses, nonprofit organizations, and individuals to repair or replace uninsured property losses caused by disaster. The Economic Development Administration (EDA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce has a number of revolving loan fund programs designed to aid state and local governments in financing business, community, and economic recovery after a major disaster. The FEMA Community Disaster Loan Program is designed to provide assistance in covering the operational costs of a local government that has sustained significant loss of revenue because of a presidentially declared disaster. This list is by no means comprehensive. Additional links to various grant and loan opportunities are presented at the end of this chapter.

Public-Private Partnerships
A community should consider benefits the local government can provide to the private sector in exchange for the sectors participation in mitigation and other sustainability activities. Many of the early investments in economic recovery require new efforts by the local government to reach out and establish new partnerships. Government involvement can range from brokering deals and 5-7

Building Economic Vitality bringing potential partners together to political persuasion (e.g., cajoling reinvestment in a damaged area) to financial involvement with key economic players, such as an anchor retailer in a damaged central business district.

Capital Improvements
A local governments spending authority should not be overlooked after a disaster. Making capital improvements to existing infrastructure can promote economic development and vitality. Moving existing schools, fire stations, and other facilities out of the way of natural hazards is a sensible use of local funds. A communitys sustainable redevelopment plan should specifically not allow the siting of public facilities in hazard-prone areas. A few communities have moved their main economic districts away from the path of danger. Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin, moved its downtown business district away from the Kickapoo River in the early 1980s. Pattonsburg, Mississippi, moved the entire town to higher ground after the 1993 Midwest floods. If mitigation is necessary, FEMAs Public Assistance Program or Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funds can be used to retrofit or move damaged infrastructure. Specifically, the Public Assistance Program provides supplemental funding to help state and local governments, Native American tribes, and certain private nonprofit organizations repair, replace, or restore disaster damaged, publicly owned facilities.

Local governments can send a market signal to developers and home buyers by establishing the principle that special services, such as those likely to be used during and after a disaster, must be supported through special taxes, fees, or assessments in the affected area. California set a precedent for this kind of redistricting by establishing Geological Hazard Abatement Districts. Local governments in the state can establish special assessment districts in an area of known geologic hazards and collect fees from property owners to finance repairs from landslides and implement geologic hazards mitigation measures.

Actions to Build Economic Vitality in the 10-Step Recovery Process

Once a community identifies potential recovery strategies, it will need to explore them through a systematic process to decide on the best approach, select feasible tools, locate technical assistance, formulate details, plan for action, find funding, get approval, and move toward implementation. Within the 10-step process described in Chapter 2, the following activities will help build economic vitality during a communitys disaster recovery.

Step 1: Get Organized

Economic recovery may be accomplished through a series of focused planning endeavors, or there may be a need for a more comprehensive plan. In either case, economic planning must be structured so that key stakeholders and the broader community are all involved in the process of identifying and resolving issues.


Building Economic Vitality Actions: Consult with businesses, organizations, and community leaders to plan a recovery process for the various components of the local economy. Use specialists (local and/or outside expertise). Request planning grants and technical assistance from federal and/or state sources. Make sure key business stakeholders are represented on recovery planning committees.

Step 2: Involve the Public and Step 3: Coordinate with Other Agencies, Departments, and Groups
Both professionals and the general public need to be included in considering economic sustainability. New learning can take place in the recovery planning process as competing factions and perspectives from within the community become united by a common goal. The desire to participate, openness to new ideas, and willingness to compromise may be high, but there must be a demonstrated commitment to community involvement and a viable participatory process to sustain it. See Chapter 3 for additional information on participatory processes during recovery. Actions: Design public participation into various components of recovery. Include the business community and insurance industry. Publicize the sustainability and economic factors that will drive decision making. Be open to new formats for participation (lectures, workshops, and other activities beyond the traditional public hearing and town meeting formats). Take advantage of technology for disseminating information and soliciting ideas and feedback.

Steps 4 and 5: Identify and Evaluate the Problems

Assess the postdisaster economy. Disasters can have the effect of compressing and accelerating previous trends. For example, if a downtown is in a slow decline, the disaster might fast-forward this negative trend and compound it. Conversely, new opportunities may emerge. The Matrix of Opportunities in Chapter 1 can be used as a starting point for identifying what changes the disaster may have brought. Actions: Get expert analysis of trends, costs of rebuilding, and opportunities for economic growth. Conduct an impact analysis of the disaster on various aspects of the local economy. Consider sponsoring training sessions for small business owners to inform them of what they may be facing during disaster recovery that they might not realizeboth problems and opportunitiesand the types of assistance that may be available to them. The Disaster Planning Toolkit developed by the Institute for Business & Home Safety is a good basis for such a workshop (see the resources at the end of this chapter).

Step 7: Explore All Alternatives

While the pressure is on to act quickly, the recovery period offers an opportunity to address new understanding of environmental hazards and community vulnerabilities. The potential impact of


Building Economic Vitality each alternative should be considered from the economic, social equity, quality of life, and environmental perspectives in the community. Actions: Establish sustainability principles as part of economic recovery planning. Evaluate and compare the economic outcomes of various planning options. Identify economic and other consequences of not rebuilding in environmentally and socially sustainable ways. The following additional suggestions will help a community structure its approach to economic recovery. Although some elements overlap with other principles of sustainability, this list focuses on the needs and objectives particular to economic recovery.

Keep the Economy Going in the Short Term

While long-term planning is taking place, make sure that the critical components of the local economy are as functional as possible. Devise strategies and funding to create interim facilities, such as commercial locations, port facilities, and manufacturing areas. Actions: Work with businesses directly on interim operating strategies. Establish funding sources and administrative capacity to reconstruct damaged facilities or set up temporary ones.

Build Capacity for the Long Haul

Recovery of the economy can be a long-term proposition, as is the inclusion of more sustainable land use and design decisions. Because recovery takes place in a series of small increments, goals and policies formulated early in the process must be consistently implemented over time with ongoing funding and by institutionalizing appropriate regulations and procedures. Actions: Make sure that plans, goals, and policies have implementation plans and mechanisms associated with them that ensure consistent attention over time.

Establish New Partnerships

Many of the early investments in economic recovery require new efforts by the local government to reach out and establish new partnerships. Government involvement can range from bringing potential partners together to financial involvement with key economic players. The nonprofit sector also can be a significant source of financial, technical, and administrative capacity.


Building Economic Vitality Actions: Begin discussions immediately with key retail, manufacturing, insurance, educational, or other local and regional economic heavy hitters to discuss and formulate mutually supportive and sustainable economic strategies. Strategize with state and federal elected officials to create and support intergovernmental and public/private partnerships. Work with local, regional, and national nonprofit groups, such as community foundations, housing or economic development corporations, and environmental or professional organizations to find ways to focus new resources into recovery. Look for ways in which the goals and objectives of other organizations can be focused to support local economic recovery actions (e.g., expanding a predisaster project or investment by leveraging postdisaster assistance).

Be Opportunistic and Move Quickly

In the initial aftermath of a disaster, many offers of assistance are forthcoming from public and private sources. This window of opportunity closes as attention drifts elsewhere. Successful economic recovery maximizes these potential opportunities by moving quickly and responsively to take advantage of them. Actions: Set up procedures and have sufficient staff time devoted to receiving, pursuing, and processing offers of economic assistance. Avoid lengthy delays. Be creative in seeking out grant funding and technical assistance and in asking for assistance from agencies with which the community already has established relationships. Do not focus solely on FEMAs reimbursement process or the assistance provided by the federal government under the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. Other resources and tools can be extremely helpful.

Pursue Multiple Strategies and Momentum-Building Projects

With so much uncertainty in the recovery process, it is important to move in parallel on multiple fronts, recognizing that some approaches will pan out and others will be discarded. Early wins can be especially critical by setting a positive tone to the recovery and encouraging further investment. Actions: Identify and prioritize projects that would be especially valuable in jump-starting the recovery or in demonstrating environmentally responsible economic development. Encourage an entrepreneurial environment to promote creative recovery strategies. Tolerate false starts so as not to discourage risk taking.

Develop New Local Recovery Resources

Public funds for recovery come with conditions and requirements. These sometimes involve cumbersome procedures that can cause delays or lead to funding gaps in specific projects. Sometimes these funds cannot be applied in ways that would be most effective in the context of the local community. Local resources can provide a flexible solution to these dilemmas.


Building Economic Vitality Actions: Consider local resources, such as a temporary sales tax surcharge, to provide flexible, locally controlled sources of supplemental financial assistance. Determine how such resources could be supported politically and adopted.

Supporting Small Businesses

Small businesses typically have a much harder time sustaining themselves after a disaster than do large businesses or corporate entities. Small businesses may suffer a host of burdens, such as loss of immediate population (locally focused market), shortage of employees, disrupted traffic circulation, cash flow problems, lack of capital, and loss of suppliers. Sometimes business owners who work hard to recover end up worse off than those who pulled out (e.g., they exhaust personal and business sources of capital), even after obtaining forms of assistance, because they do not fully understand the changed economic context and do not adjust their business plans accordingly. Local governments can support small business recovery by generating and disseminating economic analyses that businesses can use in their own planning. Businesses need to know the following: How the disaster affected their customer base (who is left, what they can afford) The relative demand for their goods and services in the postdisaster setting How the disaster affects their key suppliers Competitive advantages that other areas possess and the likelihood of market share shifting elsewhere as a result New opportunities in the postdisaster setting that can be maximized by the small business What the government will do with respect to short- and long-term recovery plans and how these plans might support their particular business. This kind of information can be a critical component of the local support package that should also include restoration of utilities and infrastructure, financial support, such as loan or grant programs, and strategies for temporary relocation of businesses. Small businesses, meanwhile, would be well advised to make a new business plan that is fully cognizant of the above factors in formulating their own postdisaster recovery strategy.

Examples of Success
Flood Recovery in North Carolina
In September 1999, Kinston, North Carolina, was devastated by record levels of flooding as a result of Hurricanes Dennis and Floyd. The Neuse River in Kinston crested at 38.8 feet, 10 feet above flood stage. More than 75 percent of the homes in the floodplain were damaged or destroyed. Businesses and public infrastructure sustained substantial flood damage, and total losses were estimated in the tens of millions of dollars. The recovery process was guided by two objectives: 1) to substantially or permanently reduce flood hazards in Kinston-Lenoir County and 2) to revitalize existing residential neighborhoods and business development in a long-term effort to empower citizens to be self-sufficient, and in the process to improve their quality of life. Some highlights of the efforts to meet these objectives are described below.

Economic Revitalization The structures and lots most at risk to flooding were acquired using funds from the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, Community Development Block Grant funds, and the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Disaster Recovery Initiative funds. More than 400 residential structures, three mobile home parks, and 68 vacant lots were acquired to permanently eliminate repeated flood zones.


Building Economic Vitality Those residents displaced by the acquisition program were relocated as entire neighborhoods so that social networks could be retained. Most residents opted to move into Kinston proper, which prevented erosion of the economic base. The community used geographic information systems (GIS) to map flood-prone areas and determine which areas were suitable for development and which should remain open space. A green infrastructure plan was developed through cooperation between the City of Kinston, the Conservation Fund, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The plan considers three types of open space: heritage tourism, passive recreation, and active recreation. GIS was used to map the floodplain and determine the suitability of locations for the three types of open space.

The success story of the postflood recovery of Kinston, North Carolina, illustrates how investment in a sustainable economy is interwoven into all facets of the recovery effort. The community implemented focused economic strategies in concert with long-term mitigation efforts that incorporated improved urban design, greater public amenities, and stronger linkages between natural systems and the built environment (State of North Carolina, 1999; FEMA, 2005).

Soldiers Grove Marches On

The relocation of Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin, took place from 1979 to 1983 and was used as a community heart transplant to eliminate flooding and realize other social and economic goals. Upon the realization that a much-anticipated levee would cost $3.5 million to protect $1 million worth of property, community leaders suggested that the federal government spend that money to help relocate the town instead. The community used the relocation/redevelopment phase to get out of the hazardous floodplain and address problems of a dwindling population (due to outmigration of youth to urban areas), a declining economy, and a blighted downtown (Smart Communities Network, 2005). The old floodplain was developed as a municipal park. The critical facilities and buildings (the fire station) were relocated out of the floodplain. The downtown and main street were moved closer to U.S. Highway 61 to increase activity. Water and sewer services were extended to new development sites along the highway to encourage development.

Short-Term Survival
Collaborative efforts to establish short-term locations for businesses have been successfully deployed in numerous postdisaster settings. These involve business-to-business cooperation as well as government support. Organized campaigns to maintain retail trade in damaged areas also can be critical. Santa Cruz, California In Santa Cruz, a new nonprofit entity, the Phoenix Partnership, was created to secure funding, oversee construction, and manage the leasing of temporary pavilions erected on city parking lots. Although initially intended to be a six-month, stop-gap measure, some of the pavilions were 5-13

Building Economic Vitality needed for several years. Santa Cruz also developed a Buy Santa Cruz campaign with events and publicity and pledges by local residents to spend their Christmas dollars in the recovering downtown. Los Gatos, California Los Gatos instituted a Passport to Shop program involving newspaper distribution of 50,000 passports with coupons for local businesses. Kobe, Japan The Port of Kobe restructured labor agreements and established 24-hour shipping in makeshift facilities to maintain some level of shipping trade while the port was being rebuilt. Without this effort, Kobes loss of market share to other Asian ports, which was substantial, would have been even worse.

Downtown Revitalization
Several key elements consistently have been demonstrated as critical to successful and sustainable downtown revitalization. Disaster recovery provides an opportunity to embrace, fund, and pursue these features: Mixed use development, including housing in or near downtown Historic preservation Pedestrian character Linkage to natural features (e.g., river corridors) Active civic public spaces and community centers Anchor retail Public space/streetscape design reinforcing historic character Urban, not suburban, building forms and land use patterns Strict and enforced design and signage policies High densities Street level activity Functional circulation and parking balancing auto and other transportation modes Fillmore, California After the 1995 Northridge earthquake, Fillmore, California, used a preearthquake downtown specific plan aimed at stimulating its struggling historic downtown as its recovery blueprint. Having a plan in place helped accelerate the recovery and secure postdisaster funding from federal, state, and private sources. Paso Robles, California Prior to the 2002 earthquake, Paso Robles, California, adopted the Main Street Approach to revitalize their downtown area and restore historic buildings. Funding from loans administered by Main Street and Community Development Block Grants allowed the community to seismically retrofit buildings while preserving the historic nature of the downtown area and attracting a strong economic base. When the earthquake struck in December of 2002, the community was able to begin the recovery process quickly, incorporating knowledge from the Main Street Approach.


Building Economic Vitality

Where to Find More Information

Trainings and Workshops
FEMA Emergency Management Institute, National Emergency Training Center. Emmitsburg, Maryland. Disaster Resistant Jobs: Strategies for Community Emergency and Economic Risk (CEER) Management. Course Code: E464. The EDA and FEMA developed this course to help small and medium-sized communities protect their economies from the effects of catastrophic events.

Videos, CDs, and Software

Quality Redevelopment of Eastern North Carolina. Horizon Video Productions. 2000. Durham, NC. This 20-minute video was produced by the state in the aftermath of Hurricane Floyd to introduce and educate local and state officials about approaches to recovering from the disaster and at the same time address other local concerns, such as environmental quality, economic vitality, housing, sense of community, business and job opportunities, and disaster mitigation. It introduced a framework espoused by the state for sustainable community action and features the governor explaining the tenets of quality redevelopment and how it canand didbenefit North Carolina communities and can help ensure a better future for the states citizens. Available from North Carolina Department of Emergency Management, 1830-B Tillery Place, Raleigh, NC 27699; (919) 751-8000. Surviving Extreme Events: A Guide to Help Small Businesses Recover from Extreme Events. Public Risk Entity Institute. 2004. This publication is available only on CD and provides information on how to financially survive an extreme event as a small business owner or a nonprofit organization.

Web Resources
American Red Cross, Building a Disaster Resistant Business: A Hazard Identification, Vulnerability Assessment and Disaster Planning Initiative for the Workplace. This online activity sponsored by the Red Cross is designed to help businesses identify the hazards they face and develop comprehensive plans to prepare for and recover from disasters. Visit Disaster Contractors Network The Disaster Contractors Network is a virtual organization of construction-related associations, state and federal emergency management organizations, and regulatory agencies with the purpose of facilitating information sharing and resource matching among government, the construction community, and home and business owners before, during, and after disasters. The Web site includes a library and online learning site. Visit Economic Development Association The Economic Development Association in the U.S. Department of Commerce offers revolving loans to state and local governments to assist in disaster recovery efforts. Each loan program is designed to meet specific needs and community goals. Their Web site also links to the Economic


Building Economic Vitality Development Directory, an information tool to facilitate communication between the various program components of the EDA. It is meant to serve economic development practitioners, EDA grantees, associations, and others who are seeking information on EDAs economic development activities in the United States. Visit FEMA Community Disaster Loan Program The Community Disaster Loan Program is designed to aid local governments with operational funding when a community has suffered significant loss of revenue due to a presidentially declared disaster. Visit Hurricane Contracting Information Center This site is an information center provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce about federal contracting opportunities in the Gulf states following Hurricane Katrina for small and medium sized businesses. It emphasizes tools for women-, minority-, and veteran-owned businesses. Visit Institute for Business & Home Safety Open for Business Resource Page The Institute for Business & Home Safety offers a variety of tools in its Open for Business series for small business owners to both reduce their potential for loss should disaster strike and to reopen quickly should they be forced to close. This resource page includes an online, interactive property protection and planning tool, a disaster planning toolkit for the small business owner, a disaster plan folder, and the Getting Back to Business guide for small business owners following a disaster. Visit Louisiana Governors Office of Rural Development This Web site provides a list of grant and loan programs available for individuals and communities. The list includes federal, state, and private enterprise resources. Visit Main The National Trust Main Street Center is a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and advocates historic preservation with economic development to restore vitality to downtown districts and surrounding neighborhoods. The site contains a special section on recovery from the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricanes. Visit Operation Fresh Start The National Center for Applied Technology hosts this Web site providing information and networking for rebuilding businesses and communities in a sustainable manner after a disaster strikes. The Business Recovery section provides information on planning, recovery, and financial assistance programs. Visit


Building Economic Vitality Surviving a DisasterA Small Business Disaster Management Toolkit This resource helps businesses prepare for disaster, recommends steps to take during a disaster, and discusses resources for recovery from a disaster. The site also provides ideas and information on incorporating sustainability into business disaster resilience. Visit U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Program The USDA Rural Development Program provides a number of grants and loans that promote rural business development and recovery. Visit U.S. Small Business Administration The Small Business Administration provides a number of direct loans to individuals and businesses to repair or replace uninsured property losses caused by disaster. The following programs might be of interest: Home and Property Loans, Physical Disaster Loans, and Economic Injury Loans. Visit

Books, Guidebooks, and Articles

Alesch, Daniel, James Holly, Elliott Mittler, and Robert Nagy. After the DisasterWhat Should I Do Now? Information to Help Small Business Owners Make Post-Disaster Business Decisions. Fairfax, VA: Public Risk Entity Institute. This guide is designed to help small business owners decide the appropriate steps to take after a disaster strikes. Rarely can business continue as usual as the surrounding community is always changed by a disaster. This guide was written with community change in mind. Casey-Lefkowitz, Susan. 1999. Smart Growth in the Southeast: New Approaches for Guiding Development. Washington, DC: Environmental Law Institute Research Publications. The southeastern United States has been trying to find ways to continue to reap the benefits of the regions bustling economy without the mounting fiscal, health, and environmental costs of poorly planned development. This report provides an overview of land use and transportation trends in seven statesAlabama, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginiaand shows how these states are beginning to shape the pace and location of development by promoting community revitalization, conservation, and transportation alternatives. Childers, Cheryl and Brenda Phillips. 1998. Sustainable Development or Transformative Development? Arkadelphia, Arkansas after the Tornado. Quick Response Report #109. Boulder, CO: Natural Hazards Center. The authors visited the small town of Arkadelphia, Arkansas, after an F-4 tornado had destroyed much of its downtown and three residential neighborhoods. Leaders of this town characterized the rebuilding effort as sustainable. The researchers interviewed 31 individuals representing organizations from the national level to the local level and ranging from paid staff to volunteers.


Building Economic Vitality They determined, as an initial finding, that residents of impacted communities apply sustainable development as it fits their understanding, needs, and interests. Also, the term began to mean different things to different people as recovery ensued. FEMA. 1998. Protecting Business Operations: Second Report on Costs and Benefits of Natural Hazard Mitigation. Washington, DC: FEMA. This report is a collection of case studies highlighting businesses that have reduced their risks to natural hazards. The businesses that have been subjected to a natural hazard event since taking mitigation action have benefited from substantial returns on their investment. Minnesota Department of Public Safety. Recovery from Disaster Handbook. St. Paul, MN: State of Minnesota. This handbook provides local units of government with guidance in long-term recovery after a disaster. The restoration process places great demands on government and the private sector. This manual will lessen the stress by providing answers and advice to many questions that arise from those who have dealt with recovery from disasters. Toolkits give information specific to each topic, forms, and information to share with the victims of disaster as they recover.


Chapter 6

Promoting Social and Intergenerational Equity during Disaster Recovery

This chapter discusses how the sustainability principle of promoting social and intergenerational equity can be pursued during disaster recovery. Each community leader, city manager, planner, and emergency management official should familiarize themselves with the issues of social and economic vulnerability. A community is composed of a diverse set of residents, many of whom will have specific cultural, medical, economic, and social needs during the recovery period. A one size fits all approach to postdisaster recovery and planning can alienate important constituencies and may have severe repercussions for the long-term viability of a communitys sustainable recovery efforts.

Understanding Social Inequity in Disaster Recovery

In the broadest sense, ensuring social equity during a recovery means to make a positive, concerted effort to secure equal access to resources, facilities, opportunities, and input for each individual community member regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or class. Intergenerational equity refers to the belief that our actions today should not impair or impede the options of future generations. The destruction of sensitive coastal wetlands for sprawling residential development, for instance, removes the opportunity for future community residents to harness the protective power of the wetlands and burdens them with higher stormwater runoff, significant infrastructure maintenance costs, and higher vulnerability to catastrophic storm surge events. Intergenerational equity is an important concept that can be addressed by simply considering and adopting sensible redevelopment strategies that consider the long-term consequences. More affordable short-term options may need to be rejected in favor of long-term, sustainable options that ensure community safety and well-being for generations to come. Social inequities exist in nearly every community, whether community members are aware of them or not. These built-in inequalities have a profound impact on some residents ability to prepare and respond to disaster and also influence their postdisaster experience. Existing racial or class issues, for example, will impact trust in governmental institutions, interpretation of official messages, methods of communication, and the ability of marginalized community members to understand, navigate, and participate in the recovery process. As has been mentioned before, disasters offer a number of opportunities to affect positive change in a community and ensure social equity is part of building back better. Reaching out to

Promoting Social and Intergenerational Equity traditionally underrepresented groups during recovery planning through an effective public participation process is a crucial step in the difficult and lengthy rebuilding process.

Groups Particularly Susceptible to Inequity

Some groups or community members are particularly susceptible to social inequalities and may have a long history of being neglected or marginalized. Each community has different experiences based on history, socioeconomic status, and demographic makeup that will inform their own postdisaster outreach efforts. It is also important to keep in mind that no particular group should automatically be considered vulnerable; only through a concerted outreach and public participation process will recovery officials come to understand the depth and extent of issues that community members are facing. Although a thorough review of the postdisaster issues faced by vulnerable populations is beyond the scope of this handbook, it is important to recognize that some residents are more likely to need attention and access to additional resources than others. Low-income households, the elderly, people who do not speak or understand English, children, and the infirm are often less able to cope with the employment, housing, medical, or institutional problems generated by disasters. They may be resistant to formal methods of communication, lacking trust in governmental institutions, or simply financially unable to evacuate and return without assistance. Each community will need to independently assess the needs of their own vulnerable populations to fully understand the level of increased risk and develop plans and strategies before, during, and after an event. It can be easy to overlook community members that may have increased vulnerability to disasters. Women, for instance, often face a different set of challenges than menwhether as the head of a household or a member of an extended, close knit familybut specific awareness of issues they face is rarely incorporated into hazards planning. Child care, access to female health resources, income disparity, and equal access to the public decision-making process are all concerns (among many) identified as issues faced by women in a postdisaster environment. It is also important to understand how social and cultural norms may need to be proactively identified and addressed by federal, state, and local officials. Some religious prohibitions may complicate emergency sheltering options, for instance, and these seemingly small concerns in the face of major catastrophe can handicap the social, physical, and mental well-being of community members. Many relief and charitable organizations have religious missions in addition to their humanitarian objectives that can create uncomfortable situations during an already traumatic period. It is essential that all community members feel that their beliefs and values will be honored, and community managers and emergency management officials have a responsibility to ensure that everyones rights are respected. Community leaders should also be aware of how relief and recovery workers may exacerbate racial and class tensions. The visible use of weaponry to secure a disaster area, for example, can foster the feeling of criminality among disaster victims and alienate them from further participation in the recovery process. If a major evacuation is a component of the disaster response, community leaders and activists may be dispersed, generating a feeling of loss and disenfranchisement in racial and ethnic minority communities.


Promoting Social and Intergenerational Equity Finally, the relief and recovery phases of a disaster can dramatically alter the social and economic composition of a community, generating a new class of haves and have-nots. Activists and leaders may be dislocated or missing, creating gaps in community leadership. Community managers and recovery officials should take care to refrain from imposing a new leadership structure, either intentionally while seeking a point of contact person, or unintentionally through the uneven distribution of goods and services. To the extent possible, allow community groups to appoint or anoint their own leader or representative and take care to address emerging issues of resource disparity as quickly as possible.

Recovery Strategies for Promoting Equity

The most important step toward promoting equity in the recovery process is to first recognize that inequities need to be identified and addressed. Although ideally this is an ongoing process in a community, disaster recovery can provide an opening for a fresh start and the development of new relationships. A community can start with the situations that exist after a disaster, pick and choose among the options for improving its quality of life, select implementation tools to pursue each of those options, and develop strategies that are specially tailored to its own needs. The Matrix of Opportunities in Chapter 1 shows some of the options a recovering community could use to work on equity issues while it addresses disaster-induced challenges. The situations and options are not exhaustive but instead illustrate the range of possibilities. Likewise, the sample strategies below suggest ways in which some options and disaster situations could be combined to address social issues. Notice how each of the strategies suggested below uses one or more of the options listed on the Matrix of Opportunities under the fourth sustainability principle, Social and Intergenerational Equity.

Options for Promoting Social and Intergenerational Equity

Preserve social connections in and among groups. Preserve natural, cultural, and historical resources. Adopt a long-term focus for all planning. Avoid/remedy disproportionate impacts on groups. Consider future generations quality of life. Value diversity.

Situation: Damaged transportation Recovery Strategies: Consider where roadways and bridges are being built. If roadways or rail lines need to be moved, seek to preserve neighborhood integrity. Consider the role that alternative forms of transportation can play in enhancing access to economic opportunities for low-income residents.


Promoting Social and Intergenerational Equity Situation: Damaged public facilities Recovery Strategies: Assess the impacts of redevelopment decisions on vulnerable populations and be sure to rebuild critical public support facilities in reach of those communities that need them the most. Be aware of the public perception of new rules and regulations. For example, the use of eminent domain for the relocation of public facilities can generate significant public opposition. Situation: Damaged housing After a disaster, the local challenge of providing affordable rental and low-income housing is often aggravated, resulting in overcrowding, unsanitary conditions, and a decrease in morale and social well-being. Low-income residents are more likely to spend time in government-sponsored relief housing and should be treated in a supportive and humane manner. Recovery Strategies: Create a local grant-writing group to help acquire resources to rehabilitate homes whose owners cannot afford such projects. Although buyouts of flood-prone property can be beneficial, a community should consider who is being bought out, where they are moving to, and who is being allowed to rebuild. Avoid replacing a devastated section of housing (i.e., mobile homes) with similar vulnerable housing. Situation: Economic disruption Recovery Strategies: Consider the impacts of economic disruption on jobs for vulnerable groups. Assess the impact of a loss in tax base to services for vulnerable groups. Situation: Environmental damage Preserving and restoring natural, historical, cultural, and archaeological resources can help preserve social connections between and within groups as well as save important features for future generations. Recovery Strategies: Identify and prioritize resources, such as parks, cemeteries, museums, and sacred places. Recognize the value of places and objects as sources of identity and connection. Find funding and resources to restore and mitigate future impacts. Value diversity across natural, historical, cultural and archaeological resources. Situation: Disruption to health and safety The restoration of public health facilities should be a primary objective of any recovery effort. Loss of this support network can have lasting repercussions for the physical and mental health of entire communities. The period after a disaster is one of extreme vulnerability and insecurity for many community members and deliberate, well-publicized steps should be taken to rebuild feelings of safety and security.


Promoting Social and Intergenerational Equity Recovery Strategies: Coordinate with organizations such as the American Red Cross to lead hazards-related educational efforts using materials designed for a variety of users: non-English speakers, illiterate individuals, children, and the elderly, for example. Take advantage of opportunities to raise awareness. For example, each October the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction holds an International Day for Disaster Reduction, which could also become a community awareness event. Use this day to plan a community disaster drill and involve local organizations that support disabled persons in evacuation and rescue drills.

Tools for Promoting Social and Intergenerational Equity

Public education and awareness campaigns and events Public-private partnerships and networks Targeted workshops, information, and invitations Existing community activities Programs to assist populations at risk

Tools for Promoting Equity

The opportunities for promoting social equity are as numerous as they are varied. Assess which tools work best for your community and/or develop new tools to achieve specific objectives.

Public Education and Awareness Campaigns and Events

Predisaster planning presents one opportunity to reach out to groups or individuals that may not be aware of natural hazards risks. Examples of these groups might include the elderly, the disabled, the mentally ill (and their caregivers), and marginalized groups, such as poor and transient populations. A community should try to plan ahead of a disaster how to assist these populations and use its educational campaigns to engage these groups in planning for their protection and/or evacuation during a disaster event.

Workshops, Information, and Invitations

Invitations to involve members of marginalized or minority groups throughout planning, decision-making, implementation, and evaluation activities will help the recovery team understand the culture and needs of these groups. Important public meetings should be held at a multiple times and locations to ensure access to the greatest number of participants. Special outreach to activist, religious, or civic leaders may be necessary to reach everyone in a meaningful way.

Existing Community Activities

Any and all community-building activities can be used as a basis for building a stronger, more equitable, disaster-resilient community. A neighborhood group formed to combat crime might


Promoting Social and Intergenerational Equity use the social capital gained in its interactions to help one another in a disaster situation. When neighbors know and care about each other, they are likely to pull together in a crisis.

Programs to Assist Populations at Risk

There are several government programs whose purpose is to help at-risk populations mitigate or recover from disaster. The Administration on Aging, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the Small Business Administration (SBA) work together to provide information on the disaster resources available for older Americans. Many states have agencies dedicated to elderly populations and will provide assistance in applying for grants and loans from the SBA and FEMA after a disaster. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services operates the Disaster Technical Assistance Center to help states deal with mental health issues in times of disaster. The Crisis Counseling and Training Assistance Program provides grants to states to assist in training, technical assistance, and shortterm counseling assistance after a federally declared disaster. Forbearance on Veterans Administration Home Loans is also available. The Veterans Administration will mediate disputes between lenders and borrowers and encourage lenders to extend forbearance to loan holders who have experienced disaster and are in distress. The National Organization on Disability operates the Emergency Preparedness Initiative to help inform emergency managers of the special needs and concerns of disabled individuals in times of disasters. The program also works with disability advocacy organizations to ensure that individuals with disabilities are prepared for emergencies.

Actions to Promote Social and Intergenerational Equity in the 10-Step Recovery Process
Once the recovery strategies for addressing social equity are identified, the community will need to explore them through a systematic process in order to decide on the best approach, select feasible tools, locate technical assistance, formulate details, plan for action, find funding, get approval, and move toward implementation. Within the 10-step process described in Chapter 2, the following activities will help provide a framework for including social equity considerations in a communitys disaster recovery.

Step 1: Get Organized

Efforts to assess the distribution of risk begin with getting to know different segments of the community and incorporating everyone into the recovery process. Actions: Start by looking at census data and learning about recorded diversity: race, ethnicity, income, gender, age, and housing. Census data often misses people, so social services agencies should also be contacted for information. Consider equity issues as they intersect groups, for example, language barriers in lowincome, immigrant communities.


Promoting Social and Intergenerational Equity Identify agencies and organizations that work with, serve, or represent these constituencies.

Step 2: Involve the Public

Historically marginalized and excluded groups may believe they are not able to affect change. People who believe they are economically or politically powerless to affect change may need opportunities to develop their collective strengths to become empowered. This will build a broader base of knowledge and support for recovery decisions. See Chapter 3 for more information on participatory processes during recovery. Actions: Invite a wide variety of persons, groups, and organizations to offer input, insights, and suggestions on who is at risk and how they relate to sustainable disaster recovery. Volunteer for community organization activities. Attend ethnic festivals. Hold neighborhood-based meetings to help citizens visualize their homes and streets after the recovery, including issues of access, public space, safety, pedestrian orientation, etc.

Step 3: Coordinate with Other Agencies, Departments, and Groups

Involving a wide variety of recovery partners improves the diversity of ideas and potential solutions, enhances the labor pool, and increases creative problem solving. By partnering with other organizations, additional resources and expertise can be brought to bear on these complex issues. Actions: Seek out existing community organizations working with vulnerable groups and actively solicit information about where victims are gathering and what they see as important recovery issues, especially barriers to effective recovery. Part of this outreach process involves looking for hidden equity issues. Develop and maintain formal and informal relationships with community leaders.

Steps 4 and 5: Identify and Evaluate the Problem

Recovery efforts should rely on affected populations to identify problems. Those that do not may not reflect the realities of vulnerable groups and may create new, unintended complications. Actions: Identify what local populations see as their recovery problems. Assess how those problems affect marginalized groups. Allow marginalized groups to identify policies, plans, and programs that they believe will help in the recovery process. Develop a broad range of questions and issues to be explored and evaluated. Which groups are at risk and in what ways? Are there individuals with significant medical and health needs who live in isolated conditions? What languages are used for warnings and are they consistent with local needs? Is there a plan for child care so that single parents can participate in recovery efforts? Is there an interpreter for the deaf community?


Promoting Social and Intergenerational Equity

Step 7: Explore All Alternative Strategies

Build upon information gained and relationships and partnerships built in earlier steps to develop strategies to adopt social equity policies and strategies in a sensitive and appropriate way. Alternative strategies should be assessed in terms of who will be excluded or detrimentally impacted as a result of a decision. Actions: Determine what criteria are being used to choose and prioritize the alternatives. Do they reflect the opinions, realities, and interests of vulnerable groups?

Steps 8, 9, and 10: Plan for Action, Get Agreement, and Implement
When working with historically disadvantaged and/or vulnerable populations, consistency, sincerity, and follow-through are critical. Vulnerable groups are likely to be watching to see if planners and decision makers keep promises and deliver appropriate resources. Actions: Keep vulnerable persons, groups, and organizations informed and involved. Invite stakeholders to participate in the political process at all stages of recovery. Invite stakeholders to participate in annual reviews and to assist with developing indicators as well as assessments (see section on monitoring). Network with local organizations. Develop appropriate output materials in needed languages. Train neighborhood groups and give talks.

Examples of Success
Regional Guidance for Promoting Equity
The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) in California advocates recovery efforts that encourage open discussion on the resolution of racial/ethnic problems in all aspects of community life, including housing and employment. This should be a broad-based effort involving schools, lenders, business and civic organizations, religious and community organizations, and the real estate community. For example, advocate for a federal educational loan program that would facilitate efforts by low-skill/low-wage workers to train for higher skill/higher paid positions and encourage businesses to offer their employees financial and other incentives to continually upgrade their work skills. Equally important to postdisaster housing recovery, ABAGs indicators also encourage citizens, business groups, and local governments to pressure financial institutions to invest in housing and employment developments in the low-income communities they serve.

Disaster Provides Opportunity to Improve Housing Equity

Damage to housing in Watsonville, California, following the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989 was primarily concentrated in Latino residential areas near downtown. Housing shortages and overcrowded conditions were a major problem prior to the earthquake. A recovery strategy to maintain and enhance social equity in housing was adopted and implemented by the city, which passed an ordinance requiring that 25 percent of all postdisaster housing be affordable. In doing


Promoting Social and Intergenerational Equity so, they not only augmented the citys affordable housing stock, but also made it possible for many community members to return after the disaster.

Monitoring Social and Intergenerational Equity

Gauging the success of hazards mitigation, sustainable development, or social equity projects or initiatives is extremely challenging. Effective indicators are typically based on accessible data that is easy to interpret and apply to other localities and across time for comparative purposes. Tracking and verifying information for social indicators is often difficult because of the lack of hard data and the unique characteristics of any given community. The development of indicators allows a community to measure against a benchmark whether they are achieving their goals and objectives for disaster risk reduction or other aspects of sustainable long-term recovery. Indicators should be interconnected and tied to community development that is equitable in both disaster and nondisaster contexts. Some examples are given below. Poverty Percentage of people living below the poverty line Unemployment rate Debt to income ratio Gender Equality Disparity between mens and womens wages Percentage of women with access to childcare and reproductive health facilities Incidence of domestic violence Housing Square footage per person Redevelopment of affordable housing units Percentage of high-risk structures retrofitted, removed, or reinhabited Health Care Percentage of the community with access to primary-care facilities Immunization rate Access to clean, uncontaminated water

Racial, class, religious, and gender equality issues are difficult to address due to the sensitive nature of the underlying issues but also because of their deep interconnectedness and complexity. Nevertheless, community planners, managers, and emergency management officials must proactively identify vulnerable populations and address their concerns. It is essential for the long-term health and well-being of a community that all citizens have a chair at the table during the recovery planning and community redevelopment stages. Ideally, a community will begin to address social equity issues prior to a disaster or extreme event but a community rebuilding


Promoting Social and Intergenerational Equity effort forges new partnerships and relationships that can be leveraged to tackle deep social inequalities.

Where to Find More Information

Web Resources
American Red Cross The Red Cross provides community disaster education materials. Among the topics covered are Dealing with the Elderly and Disasters and Masters of Disasters Curriculum for Children. Visit and FEMA FEMA for Kids has excellent resources in English and Spanish with stories for all children. Visit Gender and Disaster Network The Gender and Disaster Network provides comprehensive information about the impacts of disasters on women and children. Available resources on the site include Gender Sensitive Practice Checklist and Promoting Social Justice in Disaster Reconstruction: Guidelines For Gender-Sensitive And Community-Based Planning Visit Katrina Legal Aid Resource Center This site is a collaborative effort of the American Bar Association and other legal organizations to provide legal information and assistance to individuals and businesses affected by Hurricane Katrina. Visit Mennonite Disaster Services The Mennonites will appear quietly in a community; assist those with low-incomes, the elderly, and/or individuals with disabilities with postdisaster cleanup and building repair; and then quietly leave. Visit Mid-Florida Agency on Aging Disaster Preparedness This agency works with service agencies in counties in north-central Florida to provide disasterrelated information and referral services. Their site contains information to help the aging populations prepare for and recover from disasters. Visit National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) The NAACP established the NAACP Disaster Relief Fund to aid African Americans in recovering from the effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The NAACP is also working to ensure that African Americans are full participants in the rebuilding process. Visit


Promoting Social and Intergenerational Equity National Organization on Disabilities The Emergency Preparedness Initiative of the National Organization on Disabilitys Web site is dedicated to providing information and resources to help disabled individuals and communities prepare for and recover from disasters. Visit National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster This organization coordinates planning efforts by volunteer organizations responding to disasters. The organization acts as a forum for communication between organizations, education, mitigation efforts, and other areas of disaster response and preparedness. Visit Prepare Now Prepare Now is an alliance of San Francisco Area organizations dedicated to helping vulnerable populations prepare for and recover from disasters. The site contains a preparedness library with information in several languages and a compendium of resources. Visit is a site run by the American Red Cross that contains disaster preparedness information. The key goal of the site is to address the needs of vulnerable populations, such as children and disabled individuals. Information is available in a number of languages. Visit Understanding KatrinaSocial Science Research Council The essays on this site are dedicated to exploring various issues surrounding Hurricane Katrina. Some of those issues include vulnerable populations and the impacts of race on response and recovery. Visit

Books, Guidebooks, and Articles

American Red Cross and FEMA. 2004. Preparing for Disaster for People with Disabilities and other Special Needs. Washington, DC: American Red Cross. This booklet was designed to help the elderly and people with mobility impairments or hearing, seeing, or learning disabilities prepare for natural disasters and their consequences. California Governors Office of Emergency Services. 2000. Meeting the Needs of Vulnerable People in Times of Disaster: A Guide for Emergency Managers. Sacramento, CA: California Governors Office of Emergency Services.$file/Vul nerable%20Populations.PDF. This handbook is a useful guide to the special situations faced by marginalized groups in the wake of hazardous events. Its premise is that a cooperative relationship between government and community-based organizations provides the best assurance that the needs of underserved people and the needs of the community for long-term recovery will be fully addressed. It then proceeds


Promoting Social and Intergenerational Equity to outline steps for building such a relationship, outlining the capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses of both community-based organizations and governments in handling a variety of situations. Extensive appendixes give sample memoranda of understanding, lists of communitybased organizations, tips for getting started on a comprehensive approach, and sources of more information. Enarson, Elaine. 2005. Gender Equality in Disasters: Six Principles for Engendered Relief and Reconstruction. Gender and Disaster Network. This guide provides information and key points about womens roles in disaster mitigation, response, and recovery and offers steps that can be used to increase womens participation in the community. Fothergill, Alice, Enrique G.M. Maestas, and JoAnne Darlington DeRouen. 1999. Race, Ethnicity and Disasters in the United States: A Review of the Literature. Disasters 23(2): 156-173. Litman, Todd. 2005. Lessons From Katrina and Rita: What Major Disasters Can Teach Transportation Planners. Victoria, British Columbia: Victoria Transport Policy Institute. This paper examines failures in Hurricane Katrina and Rita emergency response and the lessons for transportation planning in other communities. Katrinas evacuation plan failed to serve people who depend on public transit. Ritas evacuation plan failed because of excessive reliance on automobiles, resulting in traffic congestion and fuel shortages. Equitable emergency response requires special efforts to address the needs of vulnerable residents. This paper identifies policy and planning strategies to help create a more efficient, equitable, and resilient transport system. National Organization on Disability. 2005. Emergency Preparedness Initiative Guide for Emergency Managers, Planners and Responders: Revised Edition. Washington, DC: National Organization on Disability. This guide highlights key disability concerns for officials responsible for emergency planning in their communities and seeks to assist them in developing plans that take into account the needs and insights of people with disabilities before, during, and after emergencies. Office of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Emergency Preparedness, Government of Canada. 2001. Communitywide Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment. Ottawa, Ontario: Office of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Emergency Preparedness. This report challenges emergency managers to identify who are vulnerable in a community and not make assumptions about particular groups. The report presents a model for communitywide vulnerability and capacity assessments to help emergency managers incorporate vulnerable populations into emergency plans.


Promoting Social and Intergenerational Equity Phillips, Brenda D. and Mindy Ephraim. 1992. Living in the Aftermath: Blaming Processes in the Loma Prieta Earthquake. Working Paper No. 80. Boulder, CO: Natural Hazards Center. This report examines group behavior and attitudes in the aftermath of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Following the earthquake, widespread and diverse sheltering needs arose because of the mixed Bay Area population. The groups involved included non-English speakers, physically and mentally disabled individuals, prequake homeless, and others. Long accustomed to responding to sheltering, the American Red Cross stepped in to help; yet in some locales, complaints were lodged against Red Cross sheltering efforts (or lack thereof) as well as against local government efforts. Shelter problems in Watsonville, California, received heavy media attention when allegations of cultural insensitivity and discrimination against the communitys large Latino population arose. This paper examines the evolution of these problems and offers suggestions for avoiding such difficulties in the future.


Chapter 7

Protecting Environmental Quality during Disaster Recovery

Floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, landslides, wildfires, and other natural disasters can change the character of a community in moments. Transportation systems shut down as roads tumble into creeks, bridges collapse, and rapid transit lines stop. Public facilities, such as schools, power plants, and downtown districts close. Ports no longer serve commerce and trade. Interruption of gas, electric, and water utilities paralyzes the community at the very time that rescue teams and people need service the most. In addition to affecting the built environment, the disasters also impact the natural environment. Erosion accelerates along rivers and beaches. When sewer systems, storm drains, and pipelines break and storage tanks rupture, toxic substances spew into the air, onto the water, and across the landscape. A better community can be rebuilt after a disaster by protecting or enhancing local environmental quality. Enhancement strategies, described hereafter as environmental projects and programs, may take the form of: Preservation/restoration of natural resources Protection of open space Management of stormwater runoff Prevention/remediation of pollution After a disaster, a community has an opportunity to reconsider and redesign its development patterns and to create or strengthen its mitigation plan by setting priorities that include environmental projects and programs as an important component. Integrating projects or programs that restore, enhance, and protect the natural landscape into a comprehensive, mitigation, or recovery plan can help guide the disaster recovery and reconstruction in ways that reduce damage from future disasters. This chapter presents strategies, tools, and actions for integrating environmental projects and programs into a communitys comprehensive and disaster recovery plans.

Protecting Environmental Quality

Multiobjective Management for Hazards and the Environment

Throughout the nation, environmental projects and programs protect natural resources and open space while simultaneously reducing potential damage from natural hazards. Several examples of this type of multiobjective management for hazards and the environment from across the nation are described below. The restoration of wetlands and riparian areas helps to absorb floodwater and prevent erosion. The purchase of full title or easements of approximately 4,850 acres of wetlands and the local zoning of 4,650 acres of floodplain in the Charles River basin in Massachusetts eliminated the need for $30 million in structural flood control projects by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (see Chapter 8 for more discussion of this project). Open space, greenways, and riverside parks serve as habitat for wildlife, birds, and migratory waterfowl, protect streams from pollutants, help maintain water temperatures, and protect high risk areas, such as floodplains, from development. Improved water quality raises the recreational and intrinsic values of river basins in Iowa and Illinois. Aesthetic values, recreation, and other functions characterize Rock Creek Park in Washington, DC, and the 500-foot greenway along the Chattahoochee River that runs 180 miles from the Appalachian Mountains to Columbus, Georgia. The 19-mile Sims Bayou greenway project in Houston, Texas, provides habitat for wildlife, enhances the aesthetics of the watercourse, and helps prevent erosion. Trees can drastically reduce the costs of stormwater management. American Forests studied Garland, Texas, and calculated that the citys tree canopy reduced stormwater runoff by 19 million cubic feet during a major storm. Annually, the trees save Garland $2.8 million in infrastructure costs and $2.5 million in air quality costs and residential energy bills. States, counties, and towns across the country are building disaster-resilient and sustainable communities that include environmental amenities. At the same time, they are saving money and lives.

Recovery Strategies for Protecting Environmental Quality

Protecting and enhancing environmental quality can take place during the disaster recovery process. A community can start with the situations that exist after a disaster, pick and choose among the options for improving its environment, select among the implementation tools available to pursue each of those options, and develop environmental strategies that are specially tailored to its own needs. The Matrix of Opportunities in Chapter 1 shows some of the options a recovering community could use to protect its environment while it addresses disaster-induced challenges. The situations and options shown on the matrix and the tools listed below are not exhaustive but instead illustrate the range of possibilities. Likewise, the sample strategies below suggest ways in which some options and disaster situations could be combined to help a community address environmental quality. The strategies suggested below use one or more of the options listed on the Matrix of Opportunities under the fifth sustainability principle, Protect Environmental Quality.


Protecting Environmental Quality

Options for Protecting Environmental Quality

Preserve/conserve/restore natural resources. Protect open space. Manage stormwater runoff. Prevent/remediate pollution.

Maxims for Protecting the Environment during Disaster Recovery

Here are a few practical suggestions for making important early decisions about environmental quality during the response phase of a disaster. 1. During the response phase, while restoring power, clearing debris, opening roads, and providing food and shelter for victims, the community should consider environmental projects and programs as part of its recovery plan. The community must designate a lead person, commit staff time, and provide financial support to integrating environmental projects and programs into the comprehensive and recovery plans. 2. Recovery from disasters must be addressed in a regional context. After a flood, the community should act throughout the watershed; after a hurricane or drought, the community should think regionally; after an earthquake or landslide, it should work in consideration of the geologic landscape; and in the aftermath of a wildfire, it should address issues on an ecosystem basis. The recovery plan should build on horizontal partnerships (e.g., municipal, county, parish) and vertical partnerships (e.g., local, state, federal). 3. Chances of success increase when environmental projects and programs reinforce solutions to other problems, such as wetlands protection, nonpoint source pollution reduction, erosion control, or a need for open space or recreational areas. When these projects and programs also curtail development in hazardous areas, lives, property, and money is saved in the long term. 4. Basic information on the local environment and different hazards is available and may meet planning needs for the short term. However, the community should collect more detailed hazards and vulnerability data for long-term actions. In this case, the communitys initiative to incorporate environmental projects and programs will include actions that can begin almost immediately as well as broader, long-term actions. 5. Each environmental project and program should be practical and feasibletechnically, economically, politically, and socially.

Tools for Protecting Environmental Quality

Communities have access to many tools for integrating environmental projects and programs into their recovery plans or existing comprehensive plans. Their approach should be tailored to fit the circumstances of their particular community and should not simply be a reproduction of a model


Protecting Environmental Quality or process from another jurisdiction. A variety of available tools are listed including regulatory tools, incentives, and federal, state, and private programs.

Tools for Protecting Environmental Quality

Zoning Subdivision regulations Building codes Special ordinances Tax incentives Transfer of development rights Easements Land purchase Voluntary agreements

Regulatory Tools
Local governments have several regulatory techniques available to implement environmental protection and hazards mitigation. Regulations work best if they are in place before a disaster, but there may be opportunities to improve on existing regulations or adopt new ones in the recovery period. Some of the more common regulatory measures used by local governments are summarized below. ZoningZoning divides land into separate land use districts or zones and establishes the uses (e.g., residential, commercial, or industrial) as well as the density of development, allowed in each zone. A wetlands conservation or floodplain area, for example, can be established by an overlay zone or an incentive zone where zoning already exists or as a special district when zoning is not yet in place. The overlay zone delineates a conservation district or a floodplain, fault line, or landslide area on a map and sets the regulations and standards for uses that can take place there. Incentive zones allow for a compromise between the plans for saving wetlands and floodplains and the desires of the landowners to have intensive development. By allowing the developer to build at a higher density on more suitable lands, wetlands or floodplains can be protected as open space. Cluster zoning (grouping or concentrating building units on a smaller land area) achieves the same objectives by modifying densities in approved subdivision plats. For example, assume a parcel of 50 acres is composed of 25 acres of uplands and 25 acres of wetlands or floodplains. Under cluster zoning, 50 homes would be located on 25 acres, thereby keeping the other 25 acres as wetlands or floodplains. Buffer zones may be used to protect rivers, creeks, bayous, and lakes from the byproducts of adjacent land uses, for example, by retarding runoff and trapping sediment before it enters the water bodies. Buffer zones often have a fixed width, such as 100 feet from the body of water.


Protecting Environmental Quality Subdivision RegulationsSubdivision regulations govern the division of land into smaller parcels for development or sale. Traditionally, subdivision regulations focused on the physical aspects of a proposed development: the arrangement of lots, the size and layout of streets, and the provision of stormwater facilities. In addition, they may provide for sewers, drainage, and parks and can be used for conserving habitat, wetlands, floodplains, open space, and other environmentally important areas. Developers are encouraged to place buildings on designated sites, avoiding wetlands, floodplains, or areas subject to erosion, faulting, or landslides. Building CodesLocal governments adopt laws, regulations, ordinances, and other requirements to create building codes. Building codes govern the construction methods used in structures. Building codes can be used to control development on hydric soils, on unstable soils, in flood-prone areas, and near geologic hazards. Building codes should be mandated during recovery (reconstruction, rehabilitation, or alteration), not only to save lives and prevent injuries, but also to reduce the potential for polluting habitat, wetlands, open space, and floodplains. For example, propane tanks can become an environmental hazard if they become part of the debris carried by flood waters. However, local building codes can include provisions to require tanks are adequately anchored to avoid such risks. Special OrdinancesSpecial ordinances can also be adopted to conserve environmental values and functions. Stormwater management ordinances, for example, protect wetlands from nonpoint source pollution. Detention ponds, buffer zones, and artificial wetlands are other methods that communities should consider as they work to improve environmental quality during recovery.

Incentives as Environmental Tools

Transfer of Development RightsIn those states with enabling legislation, local governments can enact programs that allow all or part of the density potential, as established in the communitys zoning ordinance for one parcel of land, to be applied to a noncontiguous parcel or to land owned by someone else. Through this method, these rights can be sold to someone who has land better suited for development that is not in hazard-prone or environmentally sensitive areas. This technique is similar to easements, because the land stays in the private sector, undesirable development is avoided, property taxes are still paid, new development continues, and the landowner is compensated for the development rights he or she relinquished. Again, this technique is useful any time, not just during recovery from a disaster. EasementsFee simple ownership is full ownership that carries with it the right to do many different things with the land. These rights include keeping people off the land, selling it, leaving it to heirs, building structures on it, and otherwise using it. Development rights can be separated from the property rights and sold to create an easement. An easement is a legal agreement between a property owner and another party to restrict the type and amount of development that may take place on the property. Construction may or may not be prohibited or may be restricted in amount or type. For the development rights, the landowner receives payment that can be used to purchase additional land, make improvements on the existing operations, or fund other projects. Perpetual easements last forever and go with the land while term easements extend for a specified period of years.


Protecting Environmental Quality Land AcquisitionPurchase is usually considered for only the most exceptional lands. Purchase, also known as fee simple acquisition, has many advantages. It allows for total ownership and thus affords the best protection for the parcel. It allows for implementing a multiobjective program, including public access to and use of the land for recreation and habitat restoration, enhancement, and protection. On the other hand, land acquisition is usually very expensive. Initial financing may be difficult to obtain and funding agencies may have different goals now or in the future from those of the community. Other disadvantages include disruption of the community, especially if condemnation is used, and the long-term responsibility and expense associated with operating and managing the parcel. Variations of the purchase option should be considered and may have significant benefits. The community could purchase the property and retain those parts of the parcel that are most desirable for sustainability and sell less desirable lands with deed restrictions. A second option is to purchase the property and then lease it with restrictions. Lease charges generate income that can be used to offset long-term operations and maintenance costs and property taxes. This option gives greater control over activities on the land. Finally, a community can purchase the property and agree to life-time grants with restrictions for a defined period, such as the life of the present owners. Although this is still costly, it allows for a smoother transition to a conservation use. As an alternative, the community could purchase the rights of first refusal on selected parcels. This basically means that the landowner gives the government the opportunity to purchase the wetlands before he or she sells it to a third party. This may be expensive because the sale price likely will be driven by the market. Voluntary AgreementsVoluntary agreements are yet another method for conserving land. A major deficiency of this approach is that the agreements may not be binding and could be terminated at will or with the mutual consent of those involved. DonationsA recovery program should allow for donations. There are tax benefits for the donor, the extent of which must be determined by a certified public accountant with a full knowledge of the tax code and the land. Donations may be outright, or the landowners can retain the use of the property for their and another persons lifetime. This approach allows for maximum use of public funds. LeasesA second form of voluntary agreement is a lease between the community and the property owner. Leases are simply rents for the contracted period with the landowner retaining title and the tax obligation. The community is not committed to the property in perpetuity, but there are important problems. If the land is not in public ownership, then long-term site planning is restricted. Without a plan or ownership there may be limitations on public expenditures that can be made on the property. Finally, an annual lease fee must be paid. CovenantsIt is possible for the community to arrange a mutual covenant among neighboring landowners when there are no funds for obtaining the property or there is some distrust of the local government. The landowners agree on use controls and the activities that can take place. Signed documents are recorded with the county or


Protecting Environmental Quality municipality, and the information is attached to the property until cancelled or modified by a written agreement of all parties.

Federal, State, and Private Programs

The following programs present opportunities for mixing and matching environmental projects into a recovery or comprehensive plan. The summary of each program explains how it can be integrated into a communitys strategy for environmental quality. Some of these programs are available any time, and some are triggered by a presidential disaster declaration and thus are particularly appropriate for a recovery strategy. For the most recent information about a program, established requirements, or names and telephone numbers of contacts, review the agencys Web site or contact the agency directly. This list and program descriptions build upon an unpublished document (Emmer, 1991) prepared for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Conservation Reserve Program (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No. 10.069)The Consolidated Farm Service Agency administers this program for conserving and improving natural resources such as wetlands, waterfowl habitat, filter strips, or riparian buffers. Participants receive direct payments for specified uses. Eligible owners or operators may place highly erodible or environmentally sensitive cropland into a 10- to 15-year contract. For more information, visit Small Flood Control Projects, Section 205 of the Flood Control Act (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No. 12.106)The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Section 205 projects reduce flood damage through projects not specifically authorized by Congress. The Corps can develop and construct small flood control projects that are clearly shown to be feasible from an engineering standpoint and economically justified. Each project is limited to a federal cost share of not more than $7 million, including studies, plans and specifications, and construction. The total local contribution is 35 percent of the project cost. Nonstructural alternatives are viable options for funding and include such measures as flood warning systems, raising and/or floodproofing of structures, and relocation of flood-prone facilities. For more information, visit Project Modifications for Improvement of the Environment (Section 1135 Program)This program provides for ecosystem restoration either by directly modifying the structures and/or operations of water resources projects constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or by restoring areas where Corps projects contributed to the degradation of the area. This program can be used to restore wetlands in the flood area, opening oxbows by Corps levees or navigation features. The program can also be used to realign a Corps levee to allow areas between the levee and the channel to revert to historic floodplain. For more information, visit Planning Assistance to States Program (Section 22) (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No. 12.110)This U.S. Army Corps of Engineers program assists states, tribes, local governments, and other nonfederal entities in the preparation of comprehensive plans for the development, utilization, and conservation of water and related land resources. A 50/50 costshare agreement is required. For more information, visit


Protecting Environmental Quality

Postdisaster Economic RecoveryCongress may appropriate supplemental funds to the Economic Development Administration (EDA) after a disaster. Loans may be used for relocation of nonfarm and nongovernmental structures, which is one way this program can help with environmental protection projects. The cost share may be as high as 100 percent for a project located in a presidentially declared disaster area for which EDA received an application for assistance under a supplemental appropriation within 18 months of the date of the declaration. In addition, Public Works Program direct grants may be used to upgrade physical infrastructure and have a cost share of 80 percent federal and 20 percent local. For more information, visit Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No. 15.921)Through this program, staff from the National Park Service facilitate activities to help local groups gain public support for a project and find funds for implementation. Although the program provides no grants or loans, their personnel bring expertise and extensive experience in open space and community-based conservation programs. The program works with nonprofit groups, local and state government appointed commissions, local government agencies, and others on rivers and trails projects. It has expanded to include work on developing greenways, scenic byways, and heritage areas. For more information, visit Nonpoint Source Pollution Grants (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No. 66.460) Counties and towns share the problem of dealing with stormwater runoff. Impervious surfaces and disturbed lands change the quantity and quality of precipitation that flows overland to rivers, bayous, and lakes, degrading water quality. Through the Clean Water Act, the EPA supports the implementation of best management practices to protect water quality. A community may now be required to prepare a stormwater management plan. Coastal communities may be affected by their states implementation of a coastal nonpoint pollution control program as required by Section 6217 of the Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Act of 1990. For more information, visit Clean Water State Revolving Funds (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No. 66.458) The EPA provides loans at below-market interest rates for up to 20 years. These loans can be used to relocate, repair, or replace wastewater treatment plants damaged by flooding. For more information, visit Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No. 66.468)The EPA provides loans to repair, replace, or relocate community water systems (public and private) damaged by flooding. Loans are below-market interest rates for up to 20 years, although disadvantaged communities may qualify for 30-year loans. For more information, visit Flood Mitigation Assistance (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No. 97.029)The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will help states and communities carry out cost-effective measures designed to reduce the risk of flood damage to structures covered under contracts for flood insurance and to reduce the number of repetitive-loss structures. Eligible


Protecting Environmental Quality projects include mitigation activities that are technically feasible and cost effective, including acquisition, elevation, or relocation of structures insured by the National Flood Insurance Program; minor, localized structural projects; and beach nourishment. All funding is on a cost share of 75 percent federal and 25 percent nonfederal. Only half of the nonfederal share can be in-kind work (12.5 percent of the total). Funds are not contingent upon a presidential disaster declaration. For more information, visit Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, Section 404, The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Assistance and Emergency Relief Act, as amended (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No. 97.039)These FEMA grants can be used for implementing long-term hazards mitigation measures after a major disaster declaration. Open Space Projects Completed Grants are based on the federal funds spent on with HMGP Funding the Public and Individual Assistance programs in response to the disaster, minus administrative In Del Rio, Texas, more than 164 homes expenses, and can be used for projects that along the San Felipe Creek were moved out of the floodplain. The cleared land protect both public and private property. Section was dedicated to open space. 404 funding increases from 15 percent to 20 In Lincoln County, Montana, 30 acres of percent depending on the state having an flood-prone land near a residential area acceptable mitigation plan that demonstrates its were purchased and turned into interest and intent to track the effectiveness of the community parkland. The Castaic Union School District in program. Types of eligible projects include, but northern Los Angeles County, California, are not limited to, elevation, acquisition, or used a $7.2 million grant and the sale of relocation of structures and retrofitting of local bonds to relocate school facilities facilities. The cost-sharing requirement is 75 out of a dam inundation area and away percent federal and 25 percent other (i.e., state, from high-pressure oil pipelines. The school district agreed to turn the land local, or both). Up to seven percent of the Section over to the Newhall County Water 404 funds are available to states to be used in District. The old school property is developing mitigation plans. Funds are available located above two active water wells, after a presidential declaration. which the water district can use to supply
their customers in Castaic. They changed the property deed to restrict human The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program offers the habitation and development and to return most immediate source of funding for the site to natural open space. environmental quality projects. These projects must demonstrate a positive cost-benefit ratio, be proven to avoid certain losses, and be a part of a states funding priority. Project types allowed through Section 404 include: Construction of detention ponds/basins; Stabilization of riverbanks and shorelines; Purchase of land in hazards zones; Acquisition and demolition or relocation of structures; Seismic retrofitting; Improvements to stormwater, wastewater, and water treatment facilities; Repair or reconstruction of fuel storage tanks; Infrastructure improvements to roads and bridges;


Protecting Environmental Quality Beach nourishment; Stabilization and/or restoration of sand dunes and roadway banks; Vegetation management programs; Erosion controls; Slope stabilization; Brush clearing, controlled burns, fuel breaks; and Miscellaneous land improvements.

For more information, visit Pre-Disaster Mitigation Competitive Grants, Section 203, Robert T. Stafford Disaster Assistance and Emergency Relief Act, as amended (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No. 97.017) These FEMA competitive grants provide funds to states, territories, tribes, or communities for hazards mitigation planning and the implementation of mitigation projects prior to a disaster event. The Pre-Disaster Mitigation program was authorized to help states and communities to implement a sustained predisaster natural hazards mitigation program to reduce overall risk to the population and structures, while also reducing reliance on federal funding from actual disaster declarations. The cost-share requirement is at least 25 percent from nonfederal sources; however, small, impoverished communities may be eligible for up to 90 percent federal funding. For more information, visit

Actions to Protect Environmental Quality in the 10-Step Recovery Process

This section outlines a process for integrating environmental projects and programs into a communitys recovery plan. It can be adjusted to fit an individual communitys needs, values, and capabilities. However, if a community prefers an alternative planning method, it should keep using it. There is no need to duplicate an established planning process. If there is a comprehensive plan, environmental elements can be built into the plan using the process below as a guide. If there is no such plan, strategies for environmental quality can be carried out in the context of the overall disaster recovery. Within the 10-step process described in Chapter 2, the following activities will help a community address environmental issues during disaster recovery.

Step 1: Get Organized

A multijurisdictional approach allows a community to pool technical, financial, and personnel resources, achieving an economy of scale that benefits all. Horizontal partners may include counties, parishes, towns, or districts, while vertical partners may include federal agencies and state departments. Actions: Assign one person in charge of environmental issues and provide staff support. Define the planning area for environmental issues, such as a region, a watershed, a geologic region, or an ecosystem. Organize the team and identify working groups: technical, financial, legal, public participation and outreach, and others.


Protecting Environmental Quality Agree on how the planning team will function and its scope of responsibility. Set team goals, objectives, and priorities.

Step 2: Involve the Public

Actions: Decide on a public involvement process. Invite members of the public and representatives from nonprofit organizations to participate. Conduct public meetings and workshops for victims and community representatives. After presentations, ask for and record comments. Incorporate comments into the planning process and final plans.

Step 3: Coordinate with Other Agencies, Departments, and Groups

Actions: Ask agency representatives on the planning or recovery team to describe their agencys programs. Invite other agencies to make similar presentations. Establish a regular process for providing information and receiving ideas. Make agencies part of the review process.

Step 4: Identify the Environmental Problems

Actions: Use reliable sources of existing information. Map environmentally sensitive areas. Describe the characteristics of the environment. Estimate the probable types and degree of damage. Identify development trends in the sensitive areas.

Step 5: Evaluate the Problems

Actions: Use this opportunity to examine how strategies to remedy damaged transportation, public facilities, utilities, homes/businesses, and environment can also serve to enhance the communitys environment. Assess risks and magnitudes of future events. Set priorities so that the community can focus on planning, funding, and implementing these projects and programs.

Step 6: Set Goals and Objectives

Using the planning or recovery team and public involvement, set goals and objectives. Make the goals positive statements.

Step 7: Explore All Alternatives

Be sure to have a balanced approach. Give full consideration to all sustainability principles: economic, social equity, quality of life, disaster resilience, and environmental perspectives. Analyze the potential impacts of each alternative on each of these principles.


Protecting Environmental Quality Actions: Identify the lead agency for each action and what they will provide or prepare. Describe local actions (zoning, subdivision ordinances, building codes, etc.). Schedule team meetings, public participation, data collection, and report writing. Involve the public as soon and as often as practical. Consider funding methods and how the community will apply for them.

Step 8: Plan for Action

During this step the planning or recovery team drafts a plan for action that fits into the recovery phase or becomes part of the communitys comprehensive plan. Actions: Include a budget. Develop a schedule. Propose a monitoring and review process. Obtain public review and comment as needed. Revise and finalize the plan.

Step 9: Write and Adopt the Plan

In many instances, state, county, and local governments will need to formally adopt the plan of action into the recovery or comprehensive plan. Agreement should be obtained from federal and state agencies as appropriate, including memoranda of understanding signed among partners.

Step 10: Implement, Evaluate, and Revise the Plan

Actions: Apply for federal and state programs and funds. Work with county or parish and town councils and governing boards on zoning, subdivision ordinances, acquisitions, etc. Meet with landowners. Measure direct, observable results, such as acres of wetlands protected or restored. Survey decision makers and the public. Report on accomplishments of team members. Use the monitoring reports required as part of a federal program and/or the one proposed in this chapter. Modify the recovery plan based on results from monitoring reports.

Using a Planning Process for Environmental Projects and Programs

After a community suffers a major natural disaster and it is working through the response phase, planners and decision makers can begin integrating environmental projects and programs into the recovery plan or existing comprehensive plan. Here are some suggestions for integrating environmental elements in this case: Consider the maxims previously proposed. Be prepared to commit to integrating environmental projects and programs into the recovery plan or comprehensive plan. Follow the 10-step recovery process or use another process with which the community is comfortable.


Protecting Environmental Quality Organize the team and begin work. Involve the public as soon as possible and then keep them involved throughout the process. As the planning team coordinates with the other agencies, consider how to most effectively use the identified programs to further environmental objectives. Select projects and programs from the communitys hazards mitigation plan. If the community does not have a mitigation plan, apply for funding from the state agency that administers mitigation plan funding. Begin preparing a mitigation plan whether the community receives these funds or not. Apply to the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program for support of environmental projects and programs that address community problems. See the list at the end of the tools section of this chapter for other potentially eligible projects and programs. Use Section 406 (Stafford Act) money to move public facilities out of harms way. State Revolving Fund loans from the EPA can be used to relocate wastewater treatment plants damaged by flooding. Apply for rural housing loans to purchase homes that have been damaged. Use Community Development Block Grant funding as a match for other programs that reduce exposure to natural hazards. Engage the National Park Service through their Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program to help develop a plan. Use zoning, subdivision, and building codes to implement environmental strategies. Seek funding for part of the recovery plan from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Section 206 or Section 1135), the Natural Resources Conservation Service (Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program, Environmental Quality Incentives Program, or Wetlands Reserve Program) or the Consolidated Farm Services Agency (Conservation Reserve Program), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, or the EPA. Offer tax incentives through easements, donations, and other tools. The planning team should begin by selecting from programs listed above. Be sure to check the most recent sources of information by contacting the agencies directly or going to their Web site. To find an agency Web site, visit Establish and begin the environmental monitoring process. Modify the plan and its implementation in response to monitoring results.

Examples of Success
Rails and Trails Program Used to Restore and Protect Watersheds and Greenways
Several communities have used the Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program facilitated by the National Park Service (described previously in this chapter) to restore natural resources and develop parks and trails. Two examples are described below: The San Miguel Watershed Coalition restored 80 miles of the San Miguel River watershed in Colorado through a watershed plan adopted by eight communities and seven government agencies. The Providence Plan, a nonprofit group, breathed new life into the Woonasquatucket River Greenway in Rhode Island by organizing interpretive walks and the First Greenway


Protecting Environmental Quality Festival and by bringing in other partners, such as the Trust for Public Land, the Lila Wallace Readers Digest Fund, and others.

Charles River Project Minimizes Flood Risk

One of the oldest examples of using the natural capacity of floodplains to control floods is the Charles River Project in Massachusetts. The Charles River flows for 80 miles from central Massachusetts to Boston Harbor. Rather than spend an estimated $100 million for additional structural controls (a flood control dam was built in 1977), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decided to rely on existing wetlands along the river to control flooding. The agency purchased 3,250 acres outright and acquired easements on 4,680 acres at a total cost of $10 million, which was only 10 percent of the estimated cost of constructing another dam. Not only do the wetlands reduce flood hazards, but they provide wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation opportunities, and capture sediment and pollutants to improve water quality (Faber, 1996).

Multiple Funding Sources Help Reduce Flood Risk in Boone, North Carolina
Boone, North Carolina, a small town in the mountainous northwestern corner of the state, is vulnerable to flooding and also subject to development pressure because of its scenic location. The town achieved multiple objectives in its postflood program through partnerships that tackled such community needs as additional affordable housing, new open space and recreational facilities, alternative transportation, and the removal of damaged buildings from the floodplain. One of the keys to Boones success has been its ability to attract, integrate, and apply multiple sources of funding to carry out mutually compatible objectives. A total of $4.5 million was raised from several sources: the town, FEMAs Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, the State Acquisition and Relocation Fund, the Clean Water Management Trust Fund, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Developments Community Development Block Grant Program. (North Carolina Department of Crime Control and Public Safety, 1999).

Monitoring Environmental Quality

A locality should monitor the environmental projects and programs initiated during recovery to determine their effectiveness and the need for corrections. All monitoring should be simple, easy to conduct, and provide pertinent information to local decision makers. As an initial review, local officials should read the progress reports required by federal and state agencies for participation in certain programs. However, a community is best served when it develops its own monitoring procedures. Three performance measures should provide the needed information: Objective resultsdata and statistics that are observable and can be measured. Surveys and assessmentsopinions from local decision makers and the public. Activity measures information on the implementation of the project or program.

A community cherishes open space for recreation, natural areas for sheltering birds and wildlife, and unpolluted rivers, lakes, or estuaries for supporting fishing and boating. Nationally, local decision makers are rethinking how they address the sprawl that characterizes even small towns. They are working to keep development from sensitive and hazard-prone areas, such as


Protecting Environmental Quality floodplains, wetlands, farmlands, alluvial fans, fault lines, and steep slopes. To be most effective, decision makers must remain alert to ways they can mix and match federal and state programs to tackle local initiatives. The menu of strategies and tools and the planning process outlined in this chapter provide opportunities to improve environmental quality while recovering from a disasterand thereby move toward local sustainability.

Where to Find More Information

Training Courses and Workshops
FEMA Emergency Management Institute, National Emergency Training Center. Emmitsburg, Maryland. FEMA Program Responsibilities: Coordinating Environmental and Historical Compliance. FEMA Course G253. This three-day course is an introduction to environmental and historic compliance. It examines the importance of fully integrating the compliance steps stipulated by the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act into the administration of the Public Assistance and Hazard Mitigation Grant Programs.

Web Resources
Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) The ASFPM is an organization of professionals involved in floodplain management, flood hazards mitigation, the National Flood Insurance Program, and flood preparedness, warning, and recovery. The mission of the organization is to mitigate the losses, costs, and human suffering caused by flooding and to promote wise use of the natural and beneficial functions of floodplains. Their Web site provides information on becoming a certified floodplain manager, policy and legislative briefs, a variety of publications including mitigation case studies, and information on their No Adverse Impact approach to floodplain management for local governments. Visit Hurricane Katrina and Rita Information and Resources. This Web page includes ideas for rebuilding and mitigation in the Gulf Coast region, policy documents, and technical resources for hurricane recovery. Mitigation Success Stories III and IV. The ASFPM Mitigation Committee compiled these case studies of mitigation initiatives across the United States. Their purpose is to showcase examples of natural hazards mitigation activities and to publicize the benefits of mitigation successes for the benefit of communities. FEMA Environmental and Historic Resources This program integrates environmental and historic preservation considerations into FEMAs mission of preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation. The program helps agency staff and nonfederal partners to conduct environmental and historic preservation review required by federal laws and executive orders. This Web site includes sections on Hurricane Katrina Information and Resources for Historic Properties and Cultural Resources, the eLearning Tool


Protecting Environmental Quality for the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program, and Integrating Historic Property and Cultural Resource Considerations into Hazard Mitigation Planning. Visit National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Natural Disaster Response As the environmental health research institute of the National Institutes of Health, the NIEHS provides information on potential sources of environmental contaminants and the human health impacts of exposures to contaminants. This site is targeted to provide useful and readily accessible environmental health information to public health, environmental health, and public safety workers and volunteers deployed to impacted communities. It includes an interactive geographic information system (GIS) for Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi; up-to-date and accurate information about safety and training for the thousands of workers involved in cleanup and recovery activities; and relevant environmental health materials. Visit National Park Service Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program (RTCA) The RTCA works with community groups and local, state, and federal government agencies to conserve rivers, preserve open space, and develop trails and greenways. The RTCA provides a variety of assistance tailored to its partners needs but does not provide direct grants. The Web site contains links to current projects, recent innovations, conservation successes, examples of projects, and information on how to apply for assistance. Visit Trust for Public Land The Trust for Public Land is a national, nonprofit organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, community gardens, historic sites, rural lands, and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. This is a good site for information on financing alternatives, including state funding for parks and open space, the Trust for Public Land finance program, public finance case studies, and more. The Web site provides resources and funding for federal and local programs and also provides findings from research and publications on parks, land, water, and people. Visit University of Maryland Environmental Finance Center According to its mission statement, the Environmental Finance Center was created to assist local communities in finding creative ways to pay for environmental projects. The center promotes alternative and innovative ways to manage the cost of environmental activities, provides training and development opportunities in environmental management, and works to increase awareness of the benefits associated with sound environmental management policies. Visit U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) The mission of the EPA is to protect human health and the environment. After a disaster, EPA emergency response personnel may work with FEMA and state and local agencies to assess the damage, test health and environmental conditions, and coordinate cleanup. Visit


Protecting Environmental Quality

Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds. This section of the EPAs Web site provides information and maps on oceans, estuaries, rivers, and lakes, as well as resources on partnerships, monitoring, laws and regulations, and several other topics related to protecting water resources. Hurricane Response. This Web page on the EPAs site offers information to residents and cleanup personnel in areas affected by the 2005 hurricanes on health issues, potential hazards, public outreach, dealing with debris and damaged buildings, and other general information about preparation for and recovery from hurricanes.

Books, Guidebooks, and Articles

Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM). 2003. No Adverse Impact: A Toolkit for Common Sense Floodplain Management. Madison, WI: ASFPM. This toolkit is designed to help local officials or concerned citizens incorporate the No Adverse Impact principle into a communitys ongoing programs. The tools consist of a variety of activities that can improve local floodplain management programs in specific situations. Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM). 2000. National Flood Programs in Review2000. Madison, WI: ASFPM. This conceptual paper explains how many environmental protection measures support flood mitigation and vice-versa. Federal Interagency Floodplain Management Task Force. 1995. Protecting Floodplain Resources. A Guidebook for Communities. Washington, DC: Federal Emergency Management Agency. This guidebook provides information for local officials, citizens, landowners, and groups interested in protecting and restoring the natural resources and functions of floodplains. It focuses on local, grassroots efforts needed to effectively manage and protect the resources of the floodplain environment, including wetlands, riparian habitats, historic sites, and aesthetic amenities. The document provides a conceptual framework and planning process for floodplain management that can be used in virtually any of the some 20,000 flood-prone communities in the United States. Kelly, Charles. 2005. Guidelines for Rapid Environmental Impact Assessment in Disasters, Version 4.4. London, UK: Benfield Hazard Research Centre, University College London and CARE International. This document is a tool for identifying and prioritizing potential environmental impacts in disaster situations. It is designed for natural, technological, or political disasters and as a best practice tool for effective disaster assessment and management. Guidelines provides a comprehensive description of the rapid environmental assessment process together with background information on key tasks needed to complete the assessment (REA). A separate Quick Guide to the REA process is also available.


Protecting Environmental Quality National Wildlife Federation. 1998. Higher Ground: A Report on Voluntary Property Buyouts in the Nations Floodplains. Washington, DC: National Wildlife Federation. The National Wildlife Federation is dedicated to restoring landscapes, including natural wetlands, floodplains, and habitat of species that thrive along rivers and streams. Higher Ground focuses on efforts to restore floodplains through voluntary property buyouts and relocations of homes and other structures from high-risk flood zones and presents a detailed analysis of National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) data. It includes sections on the history of buyout programs in the United States, the 1993 Midwest floods, an analysis of repetitive losses in the NFIP, and conclusions and recommendations. Pilkey, Orrin H. and William J. Neal, editors. Living with the Shore series. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. The Living with the Shore series includes several books on many of the coastal shores of the United States, which serve as guides for residents, visitors, developers, planners, and others concerned with the condition and future of these coasts. The authors recount both the human and natural histories of the regions, discuss the pressures created by rapid recreational and residential development, provide overviews of federal and state coastal land use regulations.


Chapter 8

Incorporating Disaster Resilience into Disaster Recovery

Disasters disrupt communities and often result in tremendous pressure from residents, property owners, and businesses to put things in order and rebuild the community back the way it was before. Disasters also create opportunities for action. State, and in some cases federal, agencies will converge on a stricken community to assist with the rebuilding effort. Outside money may be available to undertake projects that were previously considered infeasible financially, such as elevating a damage-prone road, relocating a police station, or floodproofing a sewage treatment plant. Damaged or destroyed buildings, roads, and utilities can be rebuilt in safer locations or built to be more damage-resistant. Most importantly, the community will be focused, at least temporarily, on its own vulnerability and the need to take decisive action. In the immediate aftermath of a disaster, a community will be faced with key decisions that will have long-term effects on its vulnerability to future disasters. By having a natural hazards mitigation plan in place, the community has a framework to guide the recovery effort and to make informed decisions in an environment of chaos, uncertainty, and expediency. The plan can help keep decision makers focused on the ultimate goal of creating a more sustainable, resilient community and help establish priorities for action. Hazards mitigation is a technical term for reducing risks to people and property from hazards. It includes both structural measures, such as flood control levees and landslide barriers, as well as nonstructural measures, such as land use regulations. Hazards mitigation involves the following three principles or actions: 1. Make new buildings and infrastructure located in hazard-prone areas more damage-resistant and resilient through the
Benefits of Hazards Mitigation
Saves lives and property and reduces vulnerability to future hazardsBy implementing a mitigation strategy, such as moving people and buildings out of harms way, a community can save lives and reduce damage from disasters. Speeds recoveryBy reducing damage to buildings and infrastructure, a community can minimize economic and social disruptions and bounce back quicker after a disaster strikes. Demonstrates commitment to improving community health and safetyA mitigation strategy demonstrates a communitys commitment to safeguarding its citizens and protecting its economic, social, and environmental well-being. Facilitates postdisaster fundingBy identifying and prioritizing projects before the next disaster, communities are in a better position to obtain postdisaster funding.

Incorporating Disaster Resilience use of building codes, design standards, and construction practices and make existing development safer through protective devices, such as dams, levees, and seawalls (structural mitigation) if relocation is infeasible. 2. Keep buildings out of harms way in the first place by avoiding development in hazardprone areas, steering new development to less risky areas, and relocating damaged buildings to safer areas after a disaster. 3. Protect natural areas, such as wetlands, floodplains, forested areas, sand dunes, and other ecological elements that can absorb and reduce the impacts of hazards (Godschalk et al., 1999).

Recovery Strategies to Build a Disaster-Resilient Community

Building a disaster-resilient community can start during disaster recovery. A community can start with the situations that exist after a disaster, pick and choose among the options for making itself more disaster resilient, select implementation tools available to help pursue each of those options, and develop strategies that are specially tailored to its own needs. Some of the options and recovery strategies a community could use to incorporate disaster resilience when faced with disaster are listed below. These options are not exhaustive but instead illustrate the range of possibilities. Each of the strategies suggested below use one or more of the options listed on the Matrix of Opportunities under the sixth sustainability principle, Incorporate Disaster Resilience.

Options for Improving Disaster Resilience

Avoid development in hazardous areas. Make existing buildings and infrastructure damage-resistant. Manage stormwater. Protect natural areas. Promote and obtain hazards and other insurance.

Situation: Damage to transportation facilities Roads often lie in the path of natural hazards and may be washed out by hurricanes, inundated by floods, buried by landslides, or torn apart by earthquakes. Repairs are expensive. Recovery Strategies: Rebuild to improve resistance to damage. Older transportation facilities can be upgraded to modern standards that make them more resistant to damage. Relocate or reroute roads and transportation facilities away from hazard-prone areas where feasible. Examine the impact of roads and transportation facilities on encouraging development in hazard-prone locations. Widening existing roads or building new ones may only stimulate additional development in risky areas.


Incorporating Disaster Resilience Situation: Damage to public facilities Public facilities, such as schools and community centers, often serve as emergency shelters after disaster strikes, but also may suffer damage. Recovery Strategies: Protect against future damage by making public facilities more resistant. For example, elevate buildings above the flood height or build a berm to help keep out floodwaters. Relocate to less vulnerable areas. Avoid building new public facilities in hazard-prone areas.

Protecting Water Service in Des Moines, Iowa

During the 1993 Midwest floods, the City of Des Moines Water Works was inundated by floodwaters, causing extensive damage and knocking the plant out of commission for 11 days. Over 250,000 customers were without water service and the business community was devastated. Only a few businesses in the city closed due to direct flood damage, yet more than 40 percent closed temporarily until water service could be restored. Even those that did not rely on water for production or operation were forced to close for health, sanitation, and fire safety reasons. The result was a loss of staff productivity and sales. Tax revenues to the city declined as well. In all, although it cost $14 million to repair the damage caused by flooding, the city suffered an estimated $300-400 million in business losses.

Situation: Damage to utilities Utilities are extremely vulnerable to natural disasters. Fallen trees can down power lines; earthquakes can tear apart water or gas lines; and floods can inundate wastewater treatment plants. Protecting utilities from damage minimizes the economic and social disruptions caused by disasters. In response, the Des Moines Water Works Recovery Strategies: constructed a smaller water treatment facility at another location that will meet growing Safeguard power lines from damage by fallen water demands and serve as a backup for trees by relocating the lines underground. the main plant when the next flood occurs. Reroute water or gas lines out of harms way. Protect existing facilities from damage. For example, construct berms around sewage treatment facilities located in floodplains. When planning to install new utilities, identify the location of hazard-prone areas and try to avoid them. Build redundancy into the system. Be able to shift water or wastewater treatment capacity to treatment plants that are not located in hazard-prone areas. Develop plans to contain and treat spills from existing gas or wastewater treatment lines that may be damaged by natural disasters. Situation: Damage to homes and businesses Homes and businesses may suffer direct or indirect damage from disasters. For example, wildfires may consume houses, or a hurricane may knock down power lines, putting businesses out of commission temporarily and leaving homes in the dark. Recovery Strategies: Buyout or relocate damage-prone properties. Acquiring or relocating homes or businesses located in hazard-prone areas, particularly structures that have been damaged repeatedly, can help reduce the public costs of disasters (e.g., emergency services, evacuation, emergency shelters, debris removal, and the loss of tax revenues).


Incorporating Disaster Resilience Acquire vacant, hazard-prone properties. Buying vacant property and prohibiting its development permanently reduces the risk of damage while providing additional open space, wildlife habitat, and recreation areas. Rebuild according to modern building codes; upgrade the local code if necessary. Older buildings that are not built to modern standards often incur the most damage. Educate the local building community about hazards-resistant provisions in local codes.

Buyout in Cleveland, Illinois Proves its Worth

Cleveland, Illinois, experiences flooding on a regular basis due to its proximity to the mouth of the Rock River. The village was hard hit by floods in 1993 and 1997. The community of 350 residents began discussing an acquisition program to relocate flooded homes that were likely to flood again. The community worked with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to purchase 31 houses in the first two phases of the buyout program. The community acquired a Hazards Mitigation Grant Program grant of $989,472 and a Floodplain Mitigation Assistance grant of $472,920 to relocate atrisk residents. When the river rose again in June 2002, relocated residents were relieved to find themselves on dry ground.

Situation: Damage to natural resources Natural systems provide numerous benefits, such as wildlife habitat, open space, recreation, and natural hazards mitigation. Damage to natural resources has real consequences for wildlife and for communities. Recovery Strategies: Relocate and prohibit land use activities that are not safe for hazard-prone areas. Unsafe land use activities include animal waste lagoons, animal production facilities, septic systems, hazardous waste facilities, junkyards, and sewage treatment plants. Maintain and restore mitigation functions of the natural environment. For example, wetlands and floodplains slow down and absorb excess water during storms, then slowly release the stored water, reducing flooding downstream; dunes protect inland areas from the onslaught of storm-driven waves; and dense forests on steep slopes reduce the risk of landslides. Protect natural areas to keep people and buildings out of the path of natural hazards, maintain the natural capacity of the environment to attenuate disasters, and preserve open space and wildlife habitat.

Tools for Implementing Disaster Resilience

Communities vary in their financial, political, and institutional capacity to develop and implement a hazards mitigation plan. Some communities have a variety of planning and investment tools at their disposal, while others are more limited. Some of the most common tools and techniques for increasing the resilience of a community are summarized below. The tools are divided into two groups, regulatory and nonregulatory. Most of these techniques have their greatest effectiveness if implemented before a disaster. However, the recovery period may provide opportunities for initiating their use or strengthening them.


Incorporating Disaster Resilience

Tools for Disaster Resilience

Zoning Subdivision regulations Limiting public investment in hazardous areas Relocation out of hazardous areas Increasing public awareness of hazards Land acquisition Preservation of natural functions Retrofitting Warning and preparedness Insurance

Regulatory Tools
Local governments have developed a variety of regulatory techniques, such as zoning, impact fees, and subdivision exactions, to protect natural areas including areas vulnerable to natural hazards. For example, some communities use their subdivision regulations to protect open space. Typically, such regulations require developers to set aside steep slopes, wetlands, floodplains, or other sensitive lands. Sometimes developers will be granted higher densities in return for the setting aside these areas. Some of the more common regulatory measures used by local governments are summarized below. ZoningZoning is the most common form of land use control available to local governments. It divides land into separate land use districts or zones and establishes the uses (e.g., residential, commercial, open space, or industrial) as well as the density of development allowed in each zone. A common approach to limiting the number of people and buildings in hazard-prone areas is to reduce the allowable density, or downzone an area, either by increasing the minimum lot size or reducing the number of allowable dwelling units permitted per acre. In areas where stringent restrictions are politically infeasible, zoning preserves some economically viable use of land and therefore generally avoids an unconstitutional taking of land. The weakness of using zoning to reduce a communitys vulnerability to natural disasters is that it only affects new development, not existing homes and buildings. Also, zonings inherent flexibility is one of its primary weaknesses as a tool for protecting hazard-prone areas. The zoning for a parcel of land can be changed through variances, special use permits, or rezoning. Subdivision RegulationsSubdivision regulations govern the division of land into smaller parcels for development or sale. Traditionally, subdivision regulations focus on the physical aspects of a proposed development: the arrangement of lots, the size and layout of streets, and the provision of stormwater facilities. Gradually, the regulations evolved to encompass the fiscal impacts of new development to prevent a communitys facilities and services from being overburdened by new development (Platt, 1996).


Incorporating Disaster Resilience Many local governments impose exactions on new subdivisions. For example, as a condition of approval, developers may be required to dedicate land for schools or for open space. Developers may pay a fee in lieu of donating land to the municipality. A typical subdivision requirement might call for a 50-foot setback of developed land (a buffer) from a stream or wetlands, or it might prohibit development on steep slopes (Porter, 1997). Thus, subdivision regulations could be used to require minimum setback distances from lands vulnerable to natural hazards or to set aside these lands as open space. Some jurisdictions allow developers to cluster homes in one portion of a subdivision while leaving a large portion of the site undeveloped. By rearranging the density of each development parcel, less than half of the buildable land will be consumed by lots and streets and the rest can be preserved permanently as woodlands, meadows, farms, or wetlands. This results in the same number of houses as in a conventional subdivision, but the houses are grouped closer together to protect natural and hazard-prone areas.

Nonregulatory Tools
Nonregulatory tools can be as effective as regulations and are often more popular with the public. Many rely on the market to determine whether and where development will occur. Some, such as limiting public expenditures, can be implemented at virtually no cost to a local government. Others, such as acquisition, can be quite expensive. Some of the more common nonregulatory tools are summarized below.

Federal Funds Available to Buyout Damage-Prone Properties

Parts of Birmingham, Alabama, experience frequent flooding with severe weather. The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers provided $36 million to remove 735 structures from the Village Creek floodplain area. Neighborhoods in the Village Creek floodplain had flooded 11 times since 1977, and the community decided it was time to break the cycle of flooding. The acquired structures were removed and restoration of the natural floodplain was completed.

Limiting Public Investment in Hazard-Prone AreasGovernment spending for infrastructure, such as extending roads or water or sewer lines, often encourages development in new areas by subsidizing development in areas that would otherwise not be affordable. One way to discourage development in hazard-prone areas is to restrict government spending for infrastructure in these areas. This approach helps use existing services more efficiently and reduces pressure to develop in risky areas.

Acquisition of Hazard-Prone LandThe most effective way to prevent development in hazard-prone areas is to purchase the land outright or as an easement. The purchased land can then be set aside permanently as public open space. Voluntary buyouts may include the purchase of vacant property, purchase and relocation of existing structures, or purchase and demolition of damaged structures. Buying property vulnerable to natural hazards often is cheaper in the long run than other forms of mitigation, but acquisition may be expensive in the short term. This is especially true in areas where property values are high, such as along the coast. Acquisition expenses include not only the cost of purchasing property, but program administration, property maintenance, and liability expenses as well. Small governments may lack sufficient resources to develop and implement an acquisition program.


Incorporating Disaster Resilience Federal funds are available for acquisition of damage-prone properties, primarily through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act provides funds authorized by the federal government and made available by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for a cost-share program to states after a presidentially declared disaster. These funds can be used for acquisition. The HMGP provides 75 percent of the funds while the states provide 25 percent for mitigation measures implemented after a disaster. The state share may be met with cash or in-kind services. Increase Public AwarenessPeople are often unaware that the property they are buying is located in a hazard-prone location. Notifying potential purchasers in advance allows them to make informed decisions about where to live or locate a business and to take steps to safeguard their property. Notification relies on the power of the marketplace to take corrective action once full knowledge about hazards conditions is obtained. In California buyers are notified of the presence of an earthquake fault zone by real estate agents through a contract addendum at the time of purchase. Many people are not aware of the vulnerabilities of the area in which they live or the steps they can take to reduce their risk. The postdisaster timeframe provides a window of opportunity for implementing public education programs or adopting local ordinances related to hazards mitigation.

Retrofitting means making changes to buildings to improve their resistance to hazards. Relocation and demolition are always mitigation options but may be unrealistic when the quantity of land at risk is large (i.e., in a coastal community or a town along a major fault line). In these cases, making changes to existing buildings may be more practical and cost-effective. Communities should consider providing economic benefits to residents who are willing to undertake retrofitting. Four ways to retrofit for flood hazards are elevation, wet floodproofing, dry floodproofing, and the construction of levees or floodwalls. Elevation means raising the building so that the lowest floor is above the flood level. Under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a home is required to be elevated or relocated if it is damaged in a flood to 50 percent or more of its preflood market value. Wet floodproofing makes uninhabited parts of a house resistant to flood damage when water is allowed to enter during a flood. Dry floodproofing is sealing a house to prevent flood waters from entering. Levees and floodwalls are barriers built to prevent flood waters from entering. Homeowners also should consider raising electrical, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems; anchoring fuel tanks; and installing a sewer backflow valve. For seismic hazards, the main retrofit activities are bracing cripple walls and bolting sill plates to house foundations. Residents should also be encouraged to anchor tall items, such as bookcases, in their homes, as well as valuable ones like computers. For new construction, there are other engineering methods to prevent seismic damage to buildings, but retrofitting for these design components can be difficult and expensive. The National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program is charged with the development and enhancement of provisions to minimize structural damage and loss of life due to earthquakes.


Incorporating Disaster Resilience

For areas prone to coastal storm surge and hurricanes, several practices can be applied to existing construction. Hurricane straps, metal fasteners that attach the roof of a building to the walls, can reinforce a buildings capacity to withstand severe winds. Shutters are one of the most basic methods for preventing damage and can be easily attached to existing homes and businesses. In coastal areas where flooding is a concern, elevation is highly recommended. Wind-resistant windows, wind- and hail-resistant shingles, and hurricane-resistant doors are also available. Tornado retrofitting is similar to hurricane retrofitting in many ways. The goal of tornado retrofitting is to reduce the uplift effect of strong winds. Straps to attach a roof to the walls are helpful, as are wind-resistant shingles, windows, and doors. Garage and entrance doors should be reinforced. In addition, trees and yard materials that could become windborne in a tornado should be removed. Finally, residents may consider constructing safe rooms, which are reinforced, safe places to wait out a storm. FEMA publishes several how-to books to assist in the construction of safe rooms. Many states have adopted safe room initiatives.

Warning and Preparedness

A warning system is a vital component of mitigation, because it allows both the evacuation of people at risk and an additional window of time in which to take last-minute measures to secure property. In deciding on a warning system, a community should consider such factors as what will happen to the warning system if the power is out, will the warning system reach all residents, and how will residents be educated about what to do when a warning is issued. Existing warning systems comprise data systems and warning capabilities. Some existing warning systems include the Emergency Alert System, which is a national system that can broadcast warnings via television and radio; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Wire Service; NOAA Weather Radio, which broadcasts to owners of radio transmittal devices designed for the system; Emergency Managers Weather Information Network; the Interactive Weather Information Network for internet information dissemination; and the Advanced Weather Information Processing System, which is a computer system capable of receiving, processing, and helping National Weather Service forecasters analyze huge amounts of weather data from a variety of sources. Some municipalities also use sirens. Telephone warning systems use Enhanced 911 Automatic Number Information data to warn homes and businesses in designated areas. Finally, amateur radio networks can provide a valuable means of disseminating information and keeping communication lines open when many other networks are disabled.

Insurance is available for fire, flood, earthquake, and wind hazards. Insurance is a useful means of sharing risk and providing for financial assistance when disasters occur. The NFIP provides flood insurance to residents in flood-prone communities that have enacted certain land use restrictions to mitigate the effect of future flooding. For residents in a community to be eligible for flood insurance, the community must be a member of the program. The state NFIP coordinator determines whether a community is a member in good standing and, if not, determines what steps the community needs to take to be eligible.


Incorporating Disaster Resilience

Earthquake insurance is available through several insurance companies as an add-on. Because of the high damage associated with earthquakes, the insurance can be very expensive. In California, the California Earthquake Authority (CEA), a state-sponsored, private-public partnership, provides earthquake insurance to homeowners, renters, and condominium owners. It was implemented after the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Many insurance companies in California offer CEAs insurance, which has a 15 percent deductible. Californians can also buy earthquake policies outside the CEA. Wind insurance, like earthquake insurance, is available through several private insurance companies. However, in some hurricane-prone states, it can be difficult or impossible to get coverage. In Florida, the Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, a group of insurers providing hurricane coverage to Florida homeowners who cannot get wind insurance in the regular market because of their hurricane exposure, is regulated by the state and provides insurance to residents. However, wind insurance remains extremely expensive in spite of this public-private partnership.

Actions to Incorporate Disaster Resilience in the 10-Step Recovery Process

Once the recovery ideas are identified, the community will need to explore them through a systematic process in order to decide on the best approach, select feasible tools, locate technical assistance, formulate details, plan for action, find funding, get approval, and move toward implementation. Developing and implementing a hazards mitigation plan is probably the best way a community can reduce its vulnerability to natural disasters. A good process for developing a mitigation plan is the 10-step process described in Chapter 2. In addition, a mitigation plan should accomplish the following: Integrate with existing land use plans, subdivision regulations, building codes, stormwater management plans, and the capital improvement plan. The capital improvement plan could include a strategy to protect public facilities from disruptions, for example through seismic Adopting a Natural Hazards retrofitting of public buildings, such as Element in Comprehensive Plans schools or fire departments. Integrating hazards mitigation strategies into Assess all hazards faced by the a communitys existing comprehensive plan community, such as floods, hurricanes, is one of the most effective means of earthquakes, tornados, high winds, and institutionalizing the consideration of natural wildfires. hazards in long-term planning and growth management activities. Floridas 9J-5 rule Address multiple objectives in order to requires a disaster recovery element in every incorporate other principles of coastal countys comprehensive plan. In sustainability, such as creating a more Oregon, Statewide Land Use Goal 7, Areas livable community, protecting open space Subject to Natural Hazards, requires local or wildlife habitat, enhancing economic governments to adopt measures in their comprehensive plans to reduce risk to people vitality, promoting social equity, and and property from natural hazards. providing for future generations. For example, buyout programs in Arnold, 8-9

Incorporating Disaster Resilience Missouri, and Darlington, Wisconsin, took buildings out of the path of floods and used the resulting open space to connect their river corridors to existing greenways and trail systems (Schwab et al., 1998). Care should be taken that mitigation actions do not undermine other aspects of sustainability, thus detracting from the communitys holistic recovery. Focus on the long term. The plan should reduce risks for the future, rather than simply return the community to predisaster conditions. Be internally consistent. Reducing risk to one type of natural hazard should not increase risks to others. For example, elevating homes to reduce their vulnerability to floods may make them more susceptible to earthquake damage. These factors need to be weighed so that overall risk is reduced for the long term.

Even if the community does not have a formal hazards mitigation plan in place, strategies for disaster resilience can be carried out in the context of the overall disaster recovery. Within the 10-step process described in Chapter 2, the following activities will help incorporate disaster resilience into a communitys recovery.

Step 4: Assess the Hazards Problems

To reduce the risk of natural hazards, a community will need to determine its present and future susceptibility by conducting a vulnerability assessment. Vulnerability is a measure of the risk or likelihood of various types and strengths of hazards occurring in the area and the amount and quality of development in that area. A vulnerability assessment involves identifying areas of greatest risk, conducting an inventory and mapping those areas, identifying existing policies that may reduce vulnerability, and setting priorities for action. These procedures are summarized below. Actions: First, identify the hazards that threaten the community (e.g., floods, earthquakes, wildfires) and prepare a map delineating the vulnerable areas. Some of these areas may already have been mapped. For example, Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) delineating floodplains are available for most communities under the NFIP. Identifying and mapping the areas that are most vulnerable can help guide policies and prioritize mitigation actions. Identifying future areas of risk is more problematic. Boundaries of hazard-prone areas can change over time. For example, an increase in the amount of impervious surfaces (roads, driveways, parking lots) in a watershed leads to increased stormwater runoff, which in turn could cause flooding in areas formerly considered outside the floodplain. Use current growth or land use patterns to predict how boundaries of hazard-prone areas might change over time. Second, conduct an inventory of people and properties in vulnerable areas. Estimate the number of people and buildings and the value of those buildings located in hazard-prone areas. In addition, estimate the number of people and buildings that will be there in the future if current growth and land use patterns remain unchanged. The Community Rating System of the NFIP gives points for an assessment of the impact of flooding on a community if it includes an inventory of the number and types of buildings subject to the hazards identified in the hazards assessment. Third, prepare a map showing areas and facilities at risk. Highlight on the map the areas of highest risk and the critical facilities, major employers, repetitively damaged structures, and


Incorporating Disaster Resilience infrastructure in those areas. Particularly vulnerable neighborhoods and facilities, such as low-income neighborhoods or housing facilities for senior citizens, should be identified. Areas prone to flooding that are not included on the FIRM should be marked on the map. Areas subject to other hazards should also be identified. Maps can identify boundaries of hazards areas, such as floodplains, and pinpoint the location of vulnerable buildings or facilities.

Step 5: Evaluate the Problems

A communitys existing policies and programs may, either intentionally or not, increase or decrease its vulnerability to hazards. Use the Matrix of Opportunities from Chapter 1 as a starting point to examine whether continuing those policies in the recovery period will worsen vulnerability or whether changes can be made to minimize future risks. For example, extending water and sewer lines into floodplains will encourage development in those areas, while a plan for a greenway or open space in earthquake fault zones could preclude development there. Actions: Use this window of opportunity to analyze policies, programs, and ordinances that may affect vulnerability. Identify current policies that weaken mitigation efforts and those that strengthen them, including land use plans and regulations, subdivision regulations, open space policies, transportation plans, and stormwater management plans. Identify areas where new policies are needed to reduce current and future risks of hazards.

Step 6: Set Goals and Objectives

Once it has identified and inventoried vulnerable areas and determined whether existing policies will increase or decrease vulnerability to natural hazards, a community can begin to set goals based on priorities for mitigating the threats posed by such hazards. Actions: Determine priorities based on the other principles of sustainability, as well as upon traditional criteria, such as cost effectiveness (number of people, houses, or jobs protected per dollar invested), savings in tax revenues, and whether the action will achieve multiple objectives. Consider all the risks to which the community is susceptible and all the principles of sustainability before goals and objectives are set. This prevents mitigation actions from undermining other aspects of a holistic recovery and vice versa. Again, mitigation measures should not be adopted in isolation.

Step 7: Explore All Alternative Strategies

Use multiobjective mitigation to link with other aspects of community recovery. Actions: Consider all of the sustainability principles in the formulation of recovery plans for mitigating hazards. Consolidate economic, social equity, quality of life, and environmental perspectives. Choose from the opportunities identified under Step 5, the goals and objectives set in Step 6, and the options and tools described in this chapter. Expand and tailor them to meet a 8-11

Incorporating Disaster Resilience communitys concerns. Be sure that the potential impacts of each alternative on other aspects of sustainability within the community are analyzed.

Step 10: Implement, Evaluate, and Revise

Some ways to monitor and evaluate disaster resilience are discussed in the Monitoring Disaster Resilience section on page 8-14.

Examples of Success
Adoption of Landslide Hazards Ordinance in Salem and Marion County, Oregon
The City of Salem and Marion County in Oregon adopted a comprehensive landslide hazards ordinance in 2001 that examines landslide risk due to slope, water-induced slides, and earthquakes. The City of Salem and Marion County began the development of a landslide hazards ordinance after heavy raining and flooding in 1996 resulted in landslide activity. FEMA funded 75 percent of the landslide hazards study and the Oregon Department of Geologic and Mineral Industries, Marion County, and the City of Salem funded the remaining 25 percent. The ordinance was developed using a collaborative process including local, state, and federal partners and a citizen advisory committee. The resulting ordinance was the first of its kind in Oregon. It is based upon landslide hazards maps produced by the study described above. Building plans and development applications are evaluated on a point system that considers landslide risk and the intensity of use of the property. The number of points awarded determines what sort of mitigation steps, such as design or building features, a developer must take to reduce landslide risk. Local planning staff work with developers and other applicants to ensure appropriate mitigation steps are identified and implemented. The landslide ordinance is described further on the Web site of the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development at and on the Landslide Hazards Web page of the Salem Community Development Department at

Comprehensive Flood Mitigation in Napa, California

In 1965, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was authorized to build a flood control project in Napa, California. The project called for constructing concrete walls along 11 miles of the Napa River. Local citizens who opposed the project forced the issue onto a ballot initiative. In 1976 and again in 1977, voters turned down the project on the grounds that it would be too costly and would destroy the river. In the mid-1980s, after a severe flood, the Corps proposed a scaled down version of the project, lining only about six miles of the river with concrete. But the project languished in the face of stiff opposition. Finally, after a huge flood struck the city in 1995, the county put together a coalition of state, federal, and local agencies as well as citizen and special interest groups to try to develop a solution to Napas flooding problems. The result was a $175 million flood control project that includes both structural and nonstructural measures. The structural component involves widening 8-12

Incorporating Disaster Resilience the river to increase its capacity, moving the levees farther back from the river, and constructing a floodwall to protect the most vulnerable residential properties. The nonstructural component involves acquiring flood-prone properties and restoring wetlands along the river. The county planned to purchase about 350 parcels in all, primarily commercial and industrial, in the floodplain. To pay for its share of the project, an estimated $50 million for the buyout alone, county residents approved a one-half cent sales tax increase, which is expected to raise about $7 million per year, over 20 years. The county also received about $7 million from FEMA to help fund the buyout. The project is expected to take five years at a cost of $220 million, but the money was estimated to be made up in 11 years by avoiding property damage. For more information, visit the Web page of FEMA Mitigation Best Practices and Case Studies at and search for Turning Water into Wine: Flood Mitigation in Napa Valley.

Partners for Disaster Resistance and Resilience: Oregon Showcase State

Oregon experiences a number of natural disasters, including earthquakes, floods, wildfires, and landslides. In 2000, Oregons governor designated Oregon a Showcase State for Natural Disaster Risk Reduction following a model developed and tested in Rhode Island by the Institute for Business & Home Safety, an initiative of the insurance industry to reduce deaths, injuries, property damage, economic loss, and human suffering caused by natural disasters. The Showcase State model aims to provide an integrated, cost-effective, and systematic approach for all levels of government and the private sector to bring together resources, both human and financial, to prepare for and minimize natural disaster impacts. The Showcase State model is based around the following 14 interdependent elements: Formal commitment and strategic plan Statewide hazards and risk assessment Business recovery alliances Enforceable building codes Land use plans Response and recovery plans Rating and regulatory systems Community-level disaster resistance Public awareness and outreach School curricula Protection of childcare centers Professional training Incentives and disincentives These elements are measurable activities that serve to institutionalize disaster protection into long-range policies, procedures, programs, designs, and plans. Oregons Partners for Disaster Resistance and Resilience involves a core group of affiliates from state and local government, nonprofit organizations, citizens groups, academia, and private


Incorporating Disaster Resilience industry in an ongoing multiyear process aimed at developing strategies for providing the state with a more holistic and effective approach for addressing the problem of community risk from natural hazards, rather than only addressing the incremental consequences of disasters. For more information, visit the Oregon State Partners for Disaster Resistance and Resilience Web site at

Monitoring Disaster Resilience

It is difficult to measure the success of mitigation efforts because a valid measurement would require a community to compare damage incurred with and without the mitigation actions. The events compared would have to be of the same strength, duration, and location, which seldom occurs. Indicators are available, however, to help set and measure a communitys progress toward achieving its performance goals, such as reducing the percentage of homes in the floodplain by 10 percent each year. Indicators also can help build support for mitigation programs by showing tangible benefits. Several indicators for improving the resilience of homes, businesses, critical facilities, and the natural environment are shown in the checklist below.

Checklist for Measuring Community Resilience to Natural Disasters

Housing/Businesses Fewer households and businesses in unsafe areas Fewer repetitively damaged structures Increase in number of households and businesses with insurance for natural hazards Infrastructure and Critical Facilities Critical facilities (hospitals, police and fire stations, schools, etc.) relocated to safe areas or protected against damage from natural hazards Fewer repetitively damaged facilities Infrastructure (roads, bridges, sewage treatment plants, and water treatment plants) relocated to safe areas or protected against damage Natural Environment Unsafe land use activities (junkyards or chemical storage facilities) relocated from areas prone to natural hazards. New, unsafe uses prohibited in such areas. Commercial or industrial facilities in hazard-prone, environmentally-sensitive areas have undertaken mitigation measures to reduce the likelihood of the release of hazardous materials Wetlands, floodplains, dunes, and coastal zones protected from development or damage Source: North Carolina Division of Emergency Management, 2000.


Incorporating Disaster Resilience

Communities vary in their vulnerability to hazards and in their capacity to mitigate the impacts. Some face risks from several types of hazards, while others suffer primarily from a single type. Some are subject to seasonal hazards that occur in relatively predictable areas, such as wildfires in the west or Noreasters along the Atlantic Coast, while in other communities, disasters can strike anytime. Communities vary in the amount of development that has occurred in hazardprone locations and in their approach to mitigation, e.g., structural or nonstructural. Thus, each community is unique, and its approach to addressing the threat of disaster varies considerably. When disaster strikes, a local mitigation plan can help guide the recovery effort toward increased resilience to future disasters. The plan can help forge a common vision on how to make the community, including its businesses, more resilient and sustainable. The plan can help ensure that community decisions about the type and location of future growth consider the impacts of natural hazards.

Where to Find More Information

Training Courses and Workshops
American Planning Association. Planning for a Disaster Resistant Community Workshop. This one-day workshop is offered for city and county planners and other officials to review the planning requirements outlined in the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000. FEMA Emergency Management Institute, National Emergency Training Center. Mitigation and Recovery Exercises. Emmitsburg, MD. FEMA Courses G398.1, G398.2, and G398.3. These are one-day exercises for local building officials, zoning officers, commissioners, councils, and chief executive officers. The exercises provide a series of challenges to local governments that it could face from an earthquake, flood, or hurricane. The local government will have to determine how to deal with temporary housing issues, building permits, and temporary business locations as well as long-term recovery issues. Here are titles of other courses related to natural hazards mitigation offered by FEMA: IS-393 Introduction to Mitigation E905 - IEMC/Hurricane: Preparedness and Response E906 - IEMC/Hurricane: Recovery and Mitigation E910 - IEMC/Earthquake: Preparedness and Response E911 - IEMC/Earthquake: Recovery and Mitigation E279 - Retrofitting Flood-Prone Residential Buildings E386 - Residential Coastal Construction

Videos, CDs, and Software

Community Vulnerability Assessment Tool. New Hanover County, North Carolina. NOAA Coastal Services Center. Before communities can develop effective hazards mitigation strategies, they must first identify their hazard risks and assess their vulnerability to the impacts of those hazards. This CD includes


Incorporating Disaster Resilience a method for conducting a communitywide vulnerability assessment. A tutorial steps the user through a process of analyzing physical, social, economic, and environmental vulnerability at the community level. The foundation for the method was established by the Heinz Center Panel on Risk, Vulnerability, and the True Cost of Hazards. Flood Mitigation Planning: The First Steps. Association of State Floodplain Managers. 2000. This video illustrates the steps that floodplain communities can take to mitigate flood damage, reduce future flood losses, and be better prepared for the next flood event. The video is accompanied by a pamphlet outlining the steps of the planning and implementation process. Developing and Promoting Mitigation Best Practices and Case StudiesCommunity Strategy Toolkit. FEMA 479-CD. The toolkit provided on this CD is designed to help guide efforts to capture and promote effective mitigation techniques being employed throughout the country to reduce adverse impacts of disasters. The toolkit is based on Developing and Promoting Mitigation Best Practices and Case Studies Community Strategy, developed under a cooperative initiative of FEMA Mitigation, Public Affairs, and Recovery Divisions. Mitigation Resources for Success. FEMA Publications 372 CD. 2001. This CD was developed by the Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration and representatives from all 10 FEMA regions with contributions from community and private sector leaders. It is meant to meet the needs of a broad audience and includes publications, technical fact sheets, photographs, case studies, and federal and state mitigation program information and contacts.

Web Resources
FEMA Are You Ready? This resource is a comprehensive guide to individual, family, and community disaster preparedness. It provides hazard-specific information and what to do before, during, and after each type of hazard. Visit FEMA Community Emergency Response Teams This site helps communities establish and maintain community emergency response teams. Visit FEMA Mitigation Planning How-To Guides FEMA developed this series of mitigation planning How-To guides to assist states, tribes, and communities in enhancing their hazards mitigation planning capabilities. The guides are designed to provide the type of information state and local governments need to initiate and maintain a planning process that will result in safer communities. The guides include the following: Getting Started: Building Support for Mitigation Planning (FEMA 386-1), Understanding Your Risks: Identifying Hazards and Estimating Losses (FEMA 386-2), Developing the Mitigation Plan: Identifying Mitigation Actions and Implementing Strategies


Incorporating Disaster Resilience (FEMA 386-3), and Bringing the Plan to Life: Implementing the Hazard Mitigation Plan (FEMA 386-4). Visit Florida Division of Emergency Management This Web site of the Florida Division of Emergency Management is well-organized and provides many resources on disaster preparedness for citizens, businesses, kids, the news media, and the emergency management community. The Web page of the Bureau of Recovery and Mitigation contains additional information on state and federal resources for local communities. Visit Hazard Mitigation in North Carolina The North Carolina Division of Emergency Management developed this Web site with information on risk assessment; mitigation research, planning, and funding; floodplain management; and other documents. Visit U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Earthquake Hazard Program The USGS Earthquake Hazards Program Web site provides information on earthquake activity, science, and hazards reduction. It includes links to regional programs, resources for teachers, probabilities and hazards maps, and links to Web sites and organizations for preparedness and response. Visit

Books, Guidebooks, and Articles

American Planning Association (APA). 2004. Planning for a Disaster-Resistant Community: An AICP Professional Development Workshop for City and County Planners, Elected Officials, and Consultants. Chicago, IL: APA. This workbook from the Planning for a Disaster-Resistant Community Workshop at the 2005 APA National Planning Conference contains information about hazards and how they affect communities and how risk assessment is the fact base for mitigation planning. Case studies highlight reasons for planning for disaster-resistant communities. Presenters discuss local requirements under the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 and outline financial incentives, regional partnership approaches, and other practical considerations for community mitigation planning compliance. Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM). 2005. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita Using Mitigation to Rebuild a Safer Gulf Coast. Madison, WI: ASFPM. Following Hurricane Katrina, the ASFPM released this white paper outlining approaches that should be incorporated into the reconstruction process to reduce the risks to flooding and hurricanes in the future.


Incorporating Disaster Resilience Ayscue, Jon K. 1996. Hurricane Damage to Residential Structures: Risk and Mitigation. Natural Hazards Working Paper No. 94. Boulder, CO: University of Colorado, Natural Hazards Center. This paper examines wind damage to residential structures caused by Hurricanes Hugo, Andrew, and Iniki and building techniques that can mitigate hurricane damage. Bay Area Regional Earthquake Preparedness Project. 1990. Putting the Pieces Together: The Loma Prieta Earthquake One Year Later. Oakland, CA: Bay Area Regional Earthquake Preparedness Project. This report grew out of a conference held to determine the lessons learned from the Loma Prieta earthquake and its aftermath. The conference examined preparedness and mitigation efforts before the quake, political and management issues of disaster response, recovery and reconstruction programs, and mitigation activities since the event. Among the numerous topics addressed in the volume, separate chapters are given to seismological and geological considerations; geotechnical aspects; the performance of lifelines, buildings, and transportation systems and the implications for future design of these elements; effective emergency management, emotional and psychological aftereffects; economic impacts; emergency public information and the media; the restoration of lifelines; emergency medical services; business recovery; and housing reconstruction. Burby, Raymond J., editor. 1998. Cooperating with Nature: Confronting Natural Hazards with Land-Use Planning for Sustainable Communities. Washington, DC: Joseph Henry Press. This volume focuses on the breakdown in sustainabilitythe capacity of the planet to provide quality of life now and in the futurethat is signaled by disaster. The book takes a historical approach to explain why land use and sustainability have been ignored in devising public policies for natural hazards. The authors provide suggestions and a blueprint for the future. FEMA. 1997. Report on Costs and Benefits of Natural Hazard Mitigation. Washington, DC: FEMA. Are the costs to reduce or eliminate the impacts of natural hazards substantially less than the benefits they provide? This report reviews the benefits that can accrue to different segments of society from mitigation, the costs that can be incurred by undertaking mitigation, and the analyses needed to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of the measures. The report describes 16 case studies across the United States and demonstrates their efficiency against several types of natural hazards as well as the effectiveness of other mitigation tools. The cases include both public- and private-sector initiatives. FEMA. 1999. Planning for a Sustainable Future: The Link between Hazard Mitigation and Livability. Washington, DC: FEMA. This booklet illustrates how communities, whether in planning for hazard mitigation before disaster strikes or in initiating recovery planning after one occurs, can integrate the concepts and principles of sustainable development into each phase of mitigation planning. The booklet also shows how disaster resistance can be a catalyst to help communities incorporate sustainable development practices into their day-to-day planning and development functions. Finally, it gives real-life examples of communities that have successfully implemented sustainable development practices in their community and describes how citizens and local officials can


Incorporating Disaster Resilience become advocates for disaster resistance as a part of sustainable development and livability in their communities. FEMA. 2004. Multi-Hazard Mitigation Planning Guidance under the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000. Washington, DC: FEMA. To implement the planning requirements of the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000, FEMA published an Interim Final Rule in the Federal Register on February 26, 2002. This Rule (44 CFR Part 201) established the mitigation planning requirements for states, tribes, and local communities. This updated guidance document issued in 2004 incorporates state, local, and tribal officials feedback and addresses issues that have arisen since the initial guidance was developed. The Heinz Center. 2002. Human Links to Coastal Disasters. Washington, DC: The Heinz Center. The dominant theme in this report is the need to build disaster resiliency through increased awareness and promotion of the social factors that are at the core of human communities. A broad vulnerability framework is used to examine the human factors influencing vulnerability, starting with policies and practices that drive coastal development. The report also explores how the actions that commonly take place following a disaster may affect future risk and vulnerability. Institute for Business & Home Safety. 2002. Showcase State Model for Disaster Resistance and Resilience: A Guidebook for Loss Reduction Partnerships. Tampa, Florida: Institute for Business & Home Safety. The Showcase State model for natural disaster resistance and resilience was developed by the Institute for Business & Home Safety in 1998 as a framework for a comprehensive, costeffective way for states to create public/private partnerships and engage communities in protecting people and property from natural disasters. The Showcase State model is founded on the concept that partnerships can achieve much more than independent, uncoordinated efforts. This guidebook is designed to help readers understand the benefits of this model and to encourage partnerships to help reduce future disaster losses. Johnson, Laurie, Laura Dwelley Samant, and Suzanne Frew. 2005. Planning for the Unexpected. Planning Advisory Service Report 531. Chicago, IL: American Planning Association. Typical plans include only about half of the elements necessary for a safe, hazards-resistant community. This report describes the tools planners need to identify and manage risks related to land use. Multihazard Mitigation Council of the National Institute of Building Sciences. 2005. Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves: An Independent Study to Assess the Future Savings from Mitigation Activities. Washington, DC: National Institute of Building Sciences. This report is the result of a congressionally mandated independent study to assess future savings from mitigation activities. FEMA commissioned the project, which began in 2000. The study indicates that natural hazards mitigation is cost effective. On average, one dollar spent by FEMA


Incorporating Disaster Resilience on hazards mitigation saves the nation about four dollars in future benefits. In addition, grants provided by FEMA to mitigate the effects of hurricanes, tornados, floods, and earthquakes between 1993 and 2003 are expected to save more that 220 lives and prevent about 4,700 injuries over approximately 50 years. National Disaster Education Coalition. 2004. Talking About Disaster: Guide for Standard Messages. Washington, DC: The National Disaster Education Coalition. The National Disaster Education Coalition is composed of federal government agencies and national nonprofit organizations that work together to develop and disseminate consistent educational information for the public about disaster preparedness. This guide provides awareness and action messages intended to help people reduce their risk in the event of natural and human-caused disasters. Statistics and other supporting information are provided to reinforce the credibility and importance of each message. There is also a section on Facts and Fiction in most chapters that describes common myths about hazards and provides factual information that refutes the fiction. The guide was developed to assist those who provide disaster safety information to the general public. North Carolina Emergency Management Division and FEMA. 2000. Hazard Mitigation in North Carolina: Measuring Success. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Emergency Management Division. To accelerate the institutionalization of hazards mitigation in North Carolina, the North Carolina Emergency Management Division established the Hazard Mitigation Planning Initiative, a longterm program to build local capacity to implement mitigation policies and programs in communities across the state. Through a series of case studies, this report documents losses avoided as a result of the implementation of a wide range of mitigation measures, including elevations and the acquisition and relocation or demolition of flood-prone properties. Oregon Natural Hazards Workgroup. 2000. Planning for Natural Hazards: Oregon Technical Resource Guide. University of Oregon: Oregon Natural Hazards Workgroup. The purpose of the guide is to help Oregon cities and counties plan for and limit the effects of threats posed by natural hazards. Reddy, Swaroop. 1992. A Study of Long Term Recovery of Three Communities in the Aftermath of Hurricane Hugo. HRRC Monograph 9B. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University, College of Architecture, Hazard Reduction and Recovery Center. The objectives of this doctoral dissertation include: 1) to determine the factors that explain the successful adoption of hazards mitigation measures during recovery, 2) to develop a conceptual understanding of the problems inherent in the adoption of mitigation during disaster recovery, and 3) to gain an understanding about the influence of prestorm institutional regulations on mitigation during the recovery period. The major findings were that the stronger and greater the presence of eight implementation factors in a community, the greater the successful adoption of mitigation measures; local institutional involvement is essential in the successful adoption of mitigation; there is a strong link between development management and hazards mitigation; a


Incorporating Disaster Resilience strong link also exists between the protection of coastal resources and coastal hazards mitigation; and the existence of strong prestorm institutional regulations help local jurisdictions promote the adoption of mitigation during recovery. Wright, J.M. and J.L. Monday. 1996. Addressing Your Communitys Flood Problems. A Guide for Elected Officials. Madison, WI: Association of State Floodplain Managers and FEMA. This document was prepared to help elected officials plan and take action to prepare their communities for floods.


Chapter 9


A holistic disaster recovery is one in which the six principles of sustainability are considered in all recovery decision making. It is a comprehensive and forward-looking approach to recovering from a disaster. The recovery process described in this handbook does not guarantee that every sustainability principle will actually be included in the recovery, but using the principles as decision-making criteria ensures that they will at least be considered. Applying sustainability principles when making decisions helps communities avoid the pitfalls of adopting a course of action that may have detrimental impacts in another place or time. The holistic recovery framework helps a community work toward fully coordinating available assistance and funding while seeking ways to accomplish other community goals and priorities using the disaster recovery process as a catalyst.

Sustainability is a way of looking at a community within a broad context. It provides an ideal toward which to strive and against which to weigh proposed decisions, actions, plans, and expenditures. The classic definition of sustainability is meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. People in every community have social, economic, and environmental needs, and every community has a unique balance of the quality, quantity, and importance of those needs. There are six principles that help guide a community in integrating its social, economic, and environmental activities and in moving toward sustainability: 1. Use a consensus-building, participatory process when making decisions. 2. Maintain and enhance quality of life. 3. Build local economic vitality. 4. Promote social and intergenerational equity. 5. Protect environmental quality. 6. Incorporate disaster resilience and mitigation. Even if a community has not yet formally incorporated sustainability ideals into their comprehensive plans and other operating procedures, policies, and budgets, the period of recovery after a disaster can be a good time to start. A disaster brings changes to a community that can be viewed as opportunities to build back in a better way. Citizens are more aware of the risks they face from hazards and public officials have more political will to address complex problems and support innovative ideas. A disaster forces a community to make a wide range of decisions, including very difficult ones. Technical and expert advice and financial assistance are available from public and private sources enabling a community to tackle more ambitious projects than under normal circumstances.


Principles of Sustainability and Options for Applying Them

1. Use a Participatory Process Incorporate participatory processes into each of the other principles. 2. Maintain and Enhance Quality of Life Options: Make housing available/affordable/better. Provide educational opportunities. Ensure mobility. Provide health and other services. Provide employment opportunities. Provide for recreation. Maintain a safe/healthy environment. Have opportunities for civic engagement. 3. Build Economic Vitality Options: Support area redevelopment and revitalization. Attract/retain businesses. Attract/retain work force. Enhance economic functionality. Develop/redevelop recreational, historic, and tourist attractions. 4. Promote Social and Intergenerational Equity Options: Preserve/conserve natural, cultural, and historical resources. Adopt a long-term focus for all planning. Avoid/remedy disproportionate impacts on groups. Consider future generations quality of life. Value diversity. Preserve social connections in and among groups. 5. Protect Environmental Quality Options: Preserve/conserve/restore natural resources. Protect open space. Manage stormwater. Prevent/remediate pollution. 6. Incorporate Disaster Resilience and Mitigation Options: Make buildings and infrastructure damage-resistant. Avoid development in hazardous areas. Manage stormwater. Protect natural areas. Promote and obtain hazards and other insurance.

10-Step Process for Holistic Disaster Recovery

The best way to ensure that a community has a holistic recovery from a future disaster is to prepare a comprehensive plan for such a recovery. Even if a community does not have such a plan, there are steps that can be taken during recovery to improve sustainability. A process is needed that recognizes the possibilities and manages recovery activities so that they become solutions not additional problems. If a community has a proven, workable process for planning 9-2

Summary and taking action, it should not dismantle that process but instead work within it to address sustainability. A community without such an established process should consider using the 10step process described here as a guide to action.

Step 1: Get Organized

In the initial stage of recovery, a community should make a commitment to sustainability by designating appropriate responsibility for the recovery to an individual or entity, new or existing, and establishing measures for integrating recovery planning and activities with ongoing community processes. The appointments of appropriate staff and the designation of support resources to a recovery team will help ensure that the subsequent steps are handled effectively. The responsible individuals should understand and support all the sustainability principles.

Step 2: Involve the Public

A community should have a demonstrated commitment to community and stakeholder involvement and must design a viable public participation process with components in all the phases of the recovery. It is important to design an inclusive process that involves all constituents and gives particular attention to those that may have been historically excluded. There are a range of participation techniques to choose from beyond the traditional public hearing and town meeting formats, including lectures, planning charettes, workshops, call-in radio, and community-based events, such as festivals. Publicize the factors that will influence decision making and use a variety of media (flyers, posters, local newspaper, local television stations, and the Internet) to reach the public.

Step 3: Coordinate with Other Agencies, Departments, and Groups

A community should include representation on the recovery team from those who can contribute expertise on each of the principles of sustainability. They could be in-house staffers, local experts, state or federal agencies, or consultants. Depending on the situation, this could include social services personnel, environmental specialists, engineers, economic development directors, parks or wildlife departments, and the business community. Formal and informal ties need to be developed with every conceivable private entity, nonprofit group, neighborhood coalition, church, and state, local, federal, and regional agency to increase the diversity and imagination of ideas and potential solutions and to build local capacity.

Step 4: Identify the Postdisaster Problem Situations

During this step, the recovery team should begin a systematic process of considering the ways to build sustainability through the recovery. Begin by making a list of all the disaster-caused problems and gather information to better understand how these problems fit into the big picture. This may involve the following acitivities: Obtaining expert analysis of economic trends, costs of rebuilding, and opportunities for economic growth before and after the disaster Mapping environmentally sensitive areas Assessing present and future vulnerability to hazards and disasters Identifying social inequities and their impacts before and after the disaster Determining the quality of life concerns important to residents


Summary Step 4 will culminate in a list of problem situations and background information. It is always better to have this information in hand before disaster, rather than rushing to gather it in the confusing and stressful environment afterward. A community that has not had a disaster but is looking ahead can use the Matrix of Opportunities in Chapter 1 to get ideas on the situations that may be encountered.

Step 5: Evaluate the Problems

The recovery team should evaluate each of the problem situations developed in Step 4 using the six principles of sustainability. One or more options should be identified as possibilities for addressing each problem. The principles and some options for applying each of them are listed in the box page 9-2. This step will result in a list of opportunities for holistic recovery activities, such as, expand stormwater management system to better handle street drainage and reduce streambank erosion in flood-damaged Elm Street neighborhood or address damaged low-income housing by adding seismic-resistant features and insulation during repair.

Step 6: Set Goals and Objectives

Using the recovery team and public involvement, set goals and objectives that can be agreed to and are most preferable based on local needs, public support, cost-effectiveness, availability of technical expertise, compliance with regulations, and alignment with other community goals. Prioritize the goals and objectives so that there is a range of possibilities available in case some fall through and so that the team knows which actions to take and in what order. This step will result in set of agreed-upon statements about desired future outcomes for the community. In practice, Steps 4, 5, and 6 are likely to overlap and will be an iterative not linear process.

Step 7: Explore All Alternatives

The recovery team should reviews options, tools, funding, and expertise available to achieve each of the goals and objectives and choose those that meet the communitys needs. If, in reviewing the possible alternatives, it is determined that one alternative would detract from one or more of the principles of sustainability, then that alternative should be eliminated or an anlysis of negative impacts conducted and the tradeoffs accommodated.

Step 8: Plan for Action

During this step, the planning or recovery team drafts a complete plan for holistic recovery activities. For each goal, an implementation strategy should be developed that includes: Action items The lead agency/entity and their deliverables Partnerships that will make the actions effective Methods for obtaining technical expertise and advice Local regulations needed (zoning, subdivision ordinances, building codes, etc.) Funding methods



Tools for Community Sustainability

Local redevelopment authority Economic incentives Loans for businesses Housing authority Capital improvements Loan interest subsidy programs Revolving loan funds Public investment Redistricting Subdivision regulations Building codes Special ordinances Tax incentives Transfer of development rights Easements Land purchase Voluntary agreements Planning Retrofitting buildings Habitat protection Filter strips Riparian buffers Soil conservation and management Ecosystem restoration Zoning and rezoning Public education and awareness campaigns and events Special protection of critical facilities, utilities, and networks Valuing public spaces Limiting public investment in hazardous areas Relocation out of hazardous areas Preservation of natural floodplain, coastal, wetland, and other functions Private-public partnerships and networks Ombudspersons Targeted workshops Community festivals and other activities

The team should work to consolidate multiple sustainability objectives into each strategy and to coordinate with other community plans and programs, such as existing comprehensive, development, capital improvement, stormwater, transportation, affordable housing, and recreation plans. The plan should also include A budget A schedule for team meetings, public participation, data collection, report writing, etc. Details for obtaining funding A monitoring process and schedule Public review and comment

Step 9: Get Agreement on the Plan

After public and agency review, the plan should be revised and finalized. In many instances, the state, county (parish), and local governments will need to formally adopt the plan of action into the recovery or comprehensive plan. Agreements should be obtained from federal and state agencies as appropriate, and memoranda of understanding signed among partners. Other stakeholders, especially historically excluded groups, should be included in the adoption process.

Step 10: Implement, Evaluate, and Revise

The involvement of the individuals and organizations responsible for implementation of the plan in the decision-making process helps to ensure that activities will be implemented effectively. As


Summary recovery proceeds, some goals and strategies will need to be modified. A formal monitoring process helps identify needed changes and prevent certain efforts from being abandoned when an unforeseen obstacle is encountered. Invite stakeholders to help develop indicators of progress and participate in annual reviews.

A Final Word
Among policy makers, hazards managers, and the public, there is increasing acceptance of the idea that reducing disaster losses before they occur is preferable to cleaning up afterwards and paying the costs over and over again. This progression has been aided by improvements in mitigation techniques and by the advent of federal disaster programs and policies that provide legal, technical, and financial support for taking long-term mitigation measures. However, disaster losses continue to rise, and it is clear to experienced hazards managers that society can no longer afford to consider hazards mitigation in isolation from other aspects of community well-being. A broader context is needed to prevent societys actions to protect itself against hazards from transferring those burdens to someone or someplace else or postponing this years medium-sized disaster in favor of a catastrophic one down the road. Incorporating the concept of sustainability into disaster recovery and into all aspects of hazards management provides an enlarged framework for examining potential mitigation measures as well as other community concerns. This broader context has the advantage of drawing from a wider range of constituencies and disciplines than hazards mitigation alone. It consolidates more problem solving into a single effort and improves the likelihood of long-term success. Besides advancing ideals that improve disaster resilience and livability, the holistic approach helps local residents examine community goals and consider the kind of place they want to leave their grandchildren. It encourages each community to perform its own carefully considered balancing act of risk versus protection, costs versus benefits, and today versus tomorrow.


Baruch, S. and M. Baruch. 2000. The Economic Vulnerability of Rural Businesses to Disasters. CUSEC Journal 7 (21): 8-9. Chang, Stephanie. 1997. Reconstruction and Recovery in Urban Earthquake Disasters. Proceedings of the 5th US/Japan Workshop on Urban Earthquake Hazard Reduction. Oakland, CA: Earthquake Engineering Research Institute. City of Denton Planning and Development Department. 1999. The Denton Plan 1999-2020. Denton, TX: City of Denton. Cornwall, A. and R. Jewkes. 1995. What Is Participatory Research? Social Science & Medicine 41: 1667-1676. Creighton, J.L. 1983. Identifying Publics/Staff Identification Techniques. IWR Research Report 82-R1: 199-206. Daniels, S.E. and G.B. Walker. 1996. Collaborative Learning: Improving Public Deliberations in Ecosystem-based Management. Environmental Impact Assessment Review 16: 71-102. Emmer, R.E. 1991. Wetlands Conservation through Local Community Programs. Unpublished report prepared for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Washington, DC: EPA. Enarson, Elaine. 1999. Violence Against Women in Disasters. Violence against Women 5(7): 742-768. Faber, Scott. 1996. On Borrowed Land: Public Policies for Floodplains. Cambridge: MA: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. Federal Emergency Management Agency. 2005. Innovative Floodplain Management. Mitigation Case Studies. Geotimes. Katrina Blows in Higher Gas Prices. October 2005. Godschalk, David et al. 1999. Natural Hazards Mitigation. Recasting Disaster Policy and Planning. Washington, D.C.: Island Press. Mileti, Dennis S. 1999. Disasters by Design. Washington, DC: The Joseph Henry Press. North Carolina Department of Crime Control and Public Safety. 1999. Hazard Mitigation Successes in the State of North Carolina. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Emergency Management Division.


North Carolina Emergency Management Division and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. 2000. Hazard Mitigation in North Carolina: Measuring Success. Raleigh, NC: State of North Carolina. Porter, Douglas. 1997. Managing Growth in Americas Communities. Washington, DC: Island Press. Platt, Rutherford. 1996. Land Use and Society: Geography, Law, and Public Policy. Washington, DC: Island Press. Schwab, Jim et al. 1998. Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery and Reconstruction. PAS Report No. 483/484. Chicago, IL: American Planning Association. Smart Communities Network. 1997. Shookner, Malcolm. 1997. Quality of Life Summary Report. Toronto, Ontario: Social Development Council and Social Planning Network of Ontario. Spangle, William E., editor. 1987. Pre-Earthquake Planning for Post-Earthquake Rebuilding (PEPPER). Los Angeles, CA: Southern California Earthquake Preparedness Project. Steelman, T.A. and W. Ascher. 1997 Public Involvement Methods in Natural Resource Policy Making: Advantages, Disadvantages and Tradeoffs. Policy Sciences 30: 71-90. Thomas, J.C. 1995. Public Participation in Public Decisions. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers. Wetmore, French and Gil Jamieson. 1999. Flood Mitigation Planning: The CRS Approach. Natural Hazards Informer 1 (July). Boulder, CO: Natural Hazards Center. Zahn, S., B. Cox, and D. Holmes. 1994. Multi-Objective Flood Mitigation Plan Vermillion River Basin South Dakota. Denver, CO: FEMA, State of South Dakota, and National Park Service.


100-year floodplainthe area of a floodplain that historically and statistically has a one percent chance of significant inundation in any given year or the area of inundation by the 100-year&& flood (also known as the base flood). affordable housinghousing that costs no more than 30 percent of a households gross income, including mortgage payments or rent, taxes, insurance, and utilities. charrettean intensive planning and/or design workshop involving people working together under compressed deadlines. Charrettes provide an interactive forum in which planners, designers, community representatives, and other interested and appropriate parties participate in proposing alternative visions that can help the group understand, evaluate, and determine future plans and options. coastal zonethe area along the shore where the ocean meets the land as the surface of the land rises above the ocean. This land/water interface includes barrier islands, estuaries, beaches, coastal wetlands, and land areas having a direct drainage to the ocean. Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The objective of the CDBGs is to develop viable urban communities by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment and by expanding economic opportunities, principally for low-to moderate-income people. Disaster-related assistance can be eligible under this program depending on state priorities; mitigation activities have been funded under this program. Community Rating System (CRS)a voluntary system under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in which communities undertake planning and regulatory activities beyond NFIP minimum requirements in order to obtain credits that earn premium reductions on the flood insurance for policies held by their residents and property owners. These activities are delineated in the CRS guidelines but fall under four categories: public information; mapping and regulatory activities; flood damage reduction; and flood preparedness. The premium reductions come in a series of five percent steps based on points earned under the system. densitythe average number of persons, household, or dwellings per acre of land. disaster housingtemporary housing supplied by emergency management officials to disaster victims whose homes are no longer inhabitable due to damage sustained in a declared disaster (formerly called temporary housing). disaster declarationa Presidential determination that a jurisdiction of the United States may receive federal aid as a result of damage from a major disaster or emergency. disastera major detrimental impact of a hazard upon the population and economic, social, and built environment of an affected area. A natural disaster results from the impact of a natural (as opposed to human-caused or technological) hazard upon the built environment of an affected area.


earthquakea sudden motion or trembling of the earth caused by the abrupt release of slowly accumulated strain upon tectonic plates; also called a seismic event. Economic Development Administration (EDA)part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, the federal agency that assists communities with grants and technical assistance for economic development. emergency periodthe period commencing immediately with the onset of a natural disaster during which a communitys normal operations, such as communications, transportation, and commerce, are disrupted or halted, and ending when danger from the hazard itself has ceased and initial response activities, such as search and rescue and debris clearance and removal, have commenced, at which point the community can begin to restore normal services and functions. emergency response plana document that contains information on the actions that may be taken by a governmental jurisdiction to protect people and property before, during, and after a disaster. environmentally sensitive areasplaces that contain significant natural resources and/or resource values that may warrant protection. exposurethe measure of people, property, or other interests that would be subject to a given risk, such as a hazard event. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)an agency in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security whose mission is to reduce the loss of life and property and protect the nations critical infrastructure from all types of hazards through a comprehensive program of mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. flash flooda flood occurring with little or no warning where water levels rise at an extremely fast rate. Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM)as defined under the National Flood Insurance Program, an official map of the community delineated both the Special Flood Hazard Areas and the risk premium zones applicable to the community. floodplain managementas defined under the National Flood Insurance Program, the operation of an overall program of corrective and preventive measures for reducing flood damage, including, but not limited to, emergency preparedness plans, flood control works, and floodplain management regulations. floodplain management regulationsas defined under the National Flood Insurance Program, zoning ordinances, subdivision regulations, building codes, health regulations, special purpose ordinances (such as floodplain ordinance, grading ordinance, and erosion control ordinance), and other applications of the police power. The term describes such state or local regulations, in any combination thereof, which provides standards for the purpose of flood damage prevention and reduction. fuelcombustible plant material, both living and dead, that is capable of burning in a wildland situation; any other flammable material in the built environment that feeds wildfire.


geographic information system (GIS)computer software that links geographic information (where things are) with descriptive information (what things are like). ground failurepermanent deformation of the soil, including faulting, consolidation, liquefaction, or landslides. Ground failure can cause extensive damage to buildings and lifelines and development in areas prone to ground failure should be avoided. habitatthe place where a plant or animal species naturally lives and grows; its immediate surroundings. hazards mitigationa sustained action taken to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and property from hazards and their effects. hazard identificationthe process of defining and describing a hazard, including its physical characteristics, magnitude and severity, probability and frequency, causative factors and locations or areas affected . Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP)authorized under Section 404 of the Stafford Act, it provides funding for cost-effective hazards mitigation projects in conformance with the postdisaster mitigation plan required under Section 409 of the Stafford Act. Section 404 authorizes the president to contribute up to 75 percent of the cost of mitigation measures that are determined to be cost-effective and substantially reduce the risk of future damage or loss in states affected by a major disaster. The remaining 25 percent of the cost may be a combination of state, local and other nonfederal contributions. hazardan event or physical condition that has the potential to cause fatalities, injuries, property damage, infrastructure damage, agricultural loss, damage to the environment, interruption of business, or other types of harm or loss. historic resourcea structure, object, or place that has historic significance or contributes to the historic significance of a district, including landmarks, objects, or structures in a historic resources inventory. holistic recoverya recovery from a disaster that takes into account all the principles of sustainability in decision making and action. housing typestypes of housing units, such as single-family detached, rowhouses, condominiums, and apartments. hurricanepart of a family of weather systems known as tropical cyclones. Depending on the strength of the winds extending in a counter-clockwise formation from the eye of the hurricane, it can be classified as a Category 1 to Category 5 hurricane, with 5 being the most severe. increased cost of compliance (ICC)ICC coverage is a component of the standard flood insurance policy that provides up to $15,000 coverage for complying with the cost of meeting substantial damage requirements or toward eliminating flood damage to a structure that has had repetitive flood insurance claims paid.


Individual and Family Grant Program (IFG)a FEMA program that provides monetary aid to individuals and families to meet disaster-related expenses for necessary items or for serious needs. infrastructurethe utilities and other basic services of a community essential for the development, operation, and growth of a city and/or that have a direct impact on the quality of life, including transportation systems, regional dams, bridges, communication technology, such as phone lines or Internet access, water supplies, and sewer treatment facilities, etc. land usethe way in which land is used; generally described in terms, such as lot size, size and location of structure on the lot, and activities taking place within a structure. Also, activities not directly associated with land, such as housing construction, population growth, traffic flow, and job development are influenced by the way land is used. lifeline systemspublic works and utilities, such as electrical power, gas and liquid fuels, telecommunications, transportation, and water and sewer systems liquefactionthe temporary loss of shear strength in a water-saturated, cohesionless soil deposit, or temporary transformation of unconsolidated materials into a fluid mass. livabilitya generally subjective terms used variously to describe whether a place feels safe and/or comfortable to those who live, work, and play there; partially based on the surroundings and whether goods and services are provided in a satisfactory manner. magnitudea measure of the strength of an earthquake or the strain of energy released as determined by seismic observations. major disasteras defined under Public Law 93-288, any natural catastrophe (including any hurricane, tornado, storm, flood, high water, wind-driven water, tidal wave, tsunami, earthquake, volcanic eruption, landslide, mudslide, snowstorm, or drought), or any fire, flood, or explosion in any part of the United States, which in determination of the president, causes damage of sufficient severity and magnitude to warrant major disaster assistance under the Stafford Act. mitigationsustained actions taken to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and property from hazards and their effects. mixed-usefor an individual site, mixed use combines residential with commercial or industrial uses. multiobjective managementa holistic approach to hazards management that emphasizes the involvement of multiple distinct interests in solving land use problems related to the hazardous area. For instance, parks and recreation interests might advocate for a greenbelt along a river corridor, while tourism interests may see in the same idea a new business opportunity, and fiscal conservatives see savings to be gained in local expenditures for infrastructure in a vulnerable area. mutual aid agreementsagreements among local, state, regional, and/or national agencies to reduce duplication and increase the effectiveness of emergency response and other postdisaster activities. Such agreements are often used to provide supplemental staff assistance after a disaster. 114

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)passed by Congress in 1969, established a national policy for the protection and maintenance of the environment by mandating a planning process that all federal agencies must follow. As it pertains to disasters, NEPA requires that FEMA carry out its responsibilities in a manner that ensures that all practical means and measures are used to protect, restore, and enhance the quality of the environment or to avoid or minimize adverse environmental consequences (44 CFR Part 10). National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)makes flood insurance available to property owners in exchange for the local adoption and enforcement by their community of floodplain management ordinances that regulate new and substantially damaged or improved development in designated flood hazard areas. National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA)consideration of cultural resources by federal agencies is mandated under Section 106 of the NHPA, as implemented under 36 CFR Part 800. Requirements include identifying significant historic properties that may be impacted by a proposed project. National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP)created by Congress in 1977 to mitigate earthquake losses by providing technical and educational assistance to communities threatened by earthquakes. NEHRP is intended to mitigate earthquake losses through development and implementation of seismic design and construction standards and techniques, technical assistance materials, education and risk reduction programs, centers addressing specific aspects of the earthquake problem, and dissemination of earthquake information. natural hazardshurricanes, tornados, storms, floods, tidal wave, tsunamis, high or winddriven waters, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, snowstorms, wildfires, droughts, landslides, and mudslides. pedestrian-oriented developmentdevelopment designed with an emphasis primarily on the sidewalk and on pedestrian access to the site and building rather than on auto access and parking. planning for postdisaster reconstructionthe process of planning (preferably before an actual disaster) the steps that a community will take to implement long-term reconstruction with one of the primary goals being to reduce or minimize its vulnerability to future disasters. These measures can include a wide variety of land use planning tools, such as acquisition, design review, zoning, and subdivision review procedures. It can also involve coordination with other types of plans and agencies but is distinct from planning for emergency operations, such as the restoration of utility service and basic infrastructure. preparedness ensures that people are ready for a disaster and will respond to it effectively; it includes steps taken to decide what to do if essential services break down, developing a plan for contingencies, and practicing that plan. probabilitythe numeric likelihood of an event. Theoretically, the probability of the occurrence of an event is between zero (indicating that the event never occurs) and one (indicating that the event always occurs).


Public Assistancethe supplementary federal assistance provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency under Section 406 of the Stafford Act to state and local governments or certain private, nonprofit organizations (other than assistance for the direct benefit of individuals and families). Public Assistance deals with repair, restoration, and replacement of damaged public infrastructure and facilities and damage to private nonprofit facilities. reconstructionthe long term process of rebuilding a communitys destroyed or damaged housing stock, commercial and industrial buildings, public facilities, and other structures. recoverythe process of getting back to normal after a disaster. It includes restoring public or utility services (electricity, water, communications, and public transportation), perhaps starting during but extending beyond the emergency period. Short-term recovery does not include the reconstruction of the built environment, although reconstruction may commence during this period. Long-term recovery (see reconstruction) is the process of returning all aspects of the community to normal functioning and, to the extent possible, to conditions improved over those that existed before the disaster. redevelopmentusually used to refer to rebuilding the communitys economic activity after a disaster. It is different from economic recovery in that it goes beyond the process of merely restoring disrupted economic activity to the creation of new economic opportunities and enterprises in the aftermath of the recovery period, particularly including those that arise as byproducts or direct outcomes of the disaster itself. A famous historic example of this last phenomenon would be the way in which the city of Chicago reshaped much of its economy and urban design in the aftermath of the Great Chicago fire of 1871. responseactivities that address the immediate and short-term effects of an emergency or disaster. Response activities include immediate actions to save lives, protect property, meet basic human needs, and restore water, sewer, and other essential services. risk assessmenta process or method for evaluating risk associated with a specific hazard. It is defined in terms of probability and frequency of occurrence, magnitude and severity, exposure, and consequences. riskthe probability of the occurrence of an event or condition. Section 404 of the Stafford Actauthorizes the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, which provides funding for cost-effective, environmentally sound hazards mitigation measures. seismic zonea generally large area within which seismic design requirements for structures are uniform. seismicitythe likelihood of an area being subject to earthquakes. Small Business Administration (SBA)in a presidential or SBA-declared disaster, SBA can provide additional low-interest loans for mitigation measures up to 20 percent above what an eligible applicant would otherwise qualify. Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs)areas designated on Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) in which specific National Flood Insurance Program requirements apply.


Stafford Actthe Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, (Public Law 100-107), was signed into law November 23, 1988 and amended the Disaster Relief Act of 1974 (Public Law 93-288). The Stafford Act itself was amended by the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000, signed into law October 10, 2000 (P.L. l06-390). It is the statutory authority for most federal disaster response activities, especially as they pertain to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and its programs. state mitigation plana systematic evaluation of the nature and extent of vulnerability to the effects of natural hazards typically present in the state. It includes a description of actions needed to minimize future vulnerability to hazards. state hazard mitigation teamcomposed of key state agency representatives, local units of government, and other public or private sector bodies or agencies. The purpose of the team is to evaluate hazards, identify strategies, coordinate resources, and implement measures that will reduce the vulnerability of people and property to damage from hazards. State Hazard Mitigation Officer (SHMO)the representative of state government who is the primary point of contact with state and federal agencies, and local units of government in the planning and implementation of pre- and postdisaster mitigation activities. sustainabilitythe ability or capacity to keep something going or the state of being durable or able to persist over time. Disaster resilience is one of the six principles of sustainability. sustainable developmentThe World Commission on Environment and Developments (the Brundtland Commissions) classic definition is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. sustainable recoverya recovery from a disaster that takes into account all the principles of sustainability in decision making and action; see holistic recovery. sustainable redevelopmentincorporates the concepts and practices of sustainable development into some parts of the disaster recovery process. urban wildfirea fire moving from a wildland environment, consuming vegetation as fuel, to an environment where the fuel consists primarily of buildings and other structures. volunteer agencyany chartered or otherwise duly organized tax-exempt local, state, or national organization or group that provides needed services to the states, local government, or individuals in coping with a disaster. vulnerabilitythe measure of the capacity to weather, resist, or recover from the impacts of hazards in the long as well as short term. watershed managementthe implementation of a plan or plans for managing the quality and flow of water within a watershed, the naturally defined area within which water flows into a particular lake or river or its tributary. The aims of watershed management are holistic and concern the maintenance of water quality, the minimization of stormwater runoff, the preservation of natural flood controls, such as wetlands and pervious surface, and the preservation of natural drainage patterns.


wildlandan area in which development has not occurred (except for some minimal transportation infrastructure, such as highways and railroads) and any structures are widely spaced and serve largely recreational purposes. wildland-urban interfacea developed area occupying the boundary between an urban or settled area and a wildland characterized by vegetation that can serve as fuel for a forest fire.
This glossary was compiled from several sources, including Schwab, Jim et al. 1998. Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery and Reconstruction. PAS Report No. 483/484. Chicago, IL: American Planning Association. Federal Emergency Management Agency. 2000. Rebuilding for a More Sustainable Future: An Operational Framework. FEMA Report 365. Washington, DC: Federal Emergency Management Agency. Rueter, Patty. 1998. Town Centers: Why? What? How? Portland, OR: Portland State University, School of Urban and Public Affairs, Institute of Metropolitan Studies, Community Fellowship Program.