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Part 2. Recovery Planning

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Resources for Post-Disaster Recovery Planning are helpful to communities who are assessing local needs in recovery, carrying out a recovery planning process, and determining which projects best support the community’s future vision and priorities.

Top Resources

  1. Seek out the American Planning Association's (APA) succinct Post-Disaster Recovery Briefing Papers for an overview of essential recovery planning topics. See FEMA’s checklist for conducting a Community Recovery Planning Process for a quick synopsis of the steps involved in a Community Recovery Planning Process.
  2. For more information on these issues, refer to FEMA’s Long-Term Community Recovery Planning Process: A Self Help Guide  and APA’s Planning for Post-Disaster Recover: Next Generation
  3. Resources such as FEMA Geoplatform ,, and  University of South Carolina's Social Vulnerability Index are distinguished good data resources to find great assessment information. To find other valuable data resources look in our assessment section.
  4. U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit - Use this framework to discover and document climate hazards, then develop workable solutions to lower climate-related risks.
  5. Community Facilities Infrastructure Toolkit - Provides guidance through the Concept Development, Planning, Design, Environmental Compliance, Finance and Construction phase of essential community facility infrastructure development 
  6. Hazard Mitigation Planning Resources
  7. Rebuilding After Disaster: Going Green from the Ground Up
  8.  CDBG-DR Toolkit - Explains how to plan, manage, and implement one of the most important recovery funding sources available to States and often local governments.

Find additional organization resources by searching the topics:

Assessments, Data and Studies

Interactive Tools

FEMA Geoplatform - This database provides geospatial data and analytics in support of emergency management, related to winter storms, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes.

Smart Location Database - This nationwide GIS data resource includes over 90 variables characterizing the built environment, transit service, destination accessibility, employment, and demographics at the census block group scale.

EJ Screen- on-line mapping tool that combines demographic and environmental information on places and can be used to identify areas experiencing disproportionate impacts.  

University of South Carolina's Social Vulnerability Index- This tool helps to identify socially vulnerable populations. Socially vulnerable populations consist of people who are at a disadvantage to recover based on particular factors such as age, ethnicity, race, socioeconomic status, access to politcal power, gender, employment, weath, and a variety other factors.

University of South Carolina's Baseline Resilience Indicators for Communities - This project integrated physical and social datasets to measure disaster resiliency.

CanVis Visualization Software - This visualization program can be used to show potential impacts from coastal development or sea level rise to support policy development, project planning, and presentations.

Coastal County Snapshots - Coastal County Snapshots compiles complex data into easy-to-read reports for coastal and Great Lake adjacent counties to use as a planning tool. This tool will be useful to counties who are assessng their resiliency to flooding.  

U.S. Department of Agriculture Atlas of Rural and Small Town America - This interactive data tool allows users to view statistics on people, jobs, and agriculture. 

Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding Impacts Viewer - This tool offers access to data and information about the risks of sea level rise, storm surge, and flooding along the coastal United States.

OnTheMap for Emergency Management - This tool provides access to detailed U.S. Census Bureau reports for current natural hazard and emergency related events

Guides, Reports and Tools

Community Mapping Project: A Guidebook for Neighborhood Associations and CDCs - This is a step-by-step guidebook for neighborhood associations and Community Development Corporations (CDCs) to conduct building-by-building surveys of their neighborhood to collect, manage, and use community-specific information to build mapping systems.

Disaster Impact and Unmet Needs Assessment Kit - These resources for Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) grantees provide a process for identifying and prioritizing critical unmet needs for long-term community recovery. 

Louisiana Coastal Land Use Toolkit - Great toolkit for people in Louisiana. This toolkit provides examples of development and redevelopment standards with a focus on hazard mitigation and natural resource protection in coastal areas including model zoning and subdivision ordinance text.

Coastal Resilience Index - This self-assessment tool aims to provide community leaders with a simple and inexpensive method of predicting whether their community will reach and maintain an acceptable level of functioning after a disaster. 

Code and Zoning Audit - This tool reviews the land use (zoning) codes and regulations in your community to see if they help your community achieve its vision for smarter growth. 

Health Impact Assessment: Quick Guide -This quick guide introduces one method local communities can use to assess how existing or planned land use, community design, and transportation policies, projects, or programs, affect or likely to affect public health.

How to Plan

Guides, Reports and Tools

Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery: Next Generation - Through a cooperative agreement with FEMA, American Planning Association(APA) put together this report on planning. This report is designed to help communities improve their resiliency and provides how-to guidance for communities to start their mitigation planning and disaster-recovery planning processes. A list of resources that supplement the planning guide can be found on APA's website. Some of these resources include recovery briefing papers, disaster recovery programs, model pre-event recovery ordinances, case studies, and the Recovery News blog.

Long-Term Community Recovery Planning Process: A Self Help Guide - This guide provides communities with a framework for long-term community recovery that has been successful in bringing communities together to focus on their long-term recovery issues and needs and to develop projects and strategies to address those needs.

Community Facilities Infrastructure Toolkit - This toolkit, produced by USDA Rural Development's Community Facilities Program, provides guicance through the Concept Development, Planning, Design, Environmental Compliance, Finance and Construction phase of essential community facility infrastructure development 

Community Resilience Planning Guide for Buildings and Infrastructure - This guide produced by the National Institute of Standards and Technology highlights a six-step process to help communities think through and plan for their social and economic needs, their particular hazard risk, and recovery of the built environment by setting performance goals, recognizing the community's social and economic needs, and providing a comprehensive method to align community priorities to resilience goals. The Community Resilience Planning Guide Briefs provide methods and Best practices to compliment the guide. The Community Resilience Economic Decision Guide can also be used in companion with this guide.

Lessons in Community Recovery: Seven Years of Emergency Support Function #14 Long-Term Community Recovery from 2004 to 2011 - This report provides information and illustrations to demonstrate how a whole community process can establish a holistic and inclusive recovery system that leverages all resources, from both the public and private sector.

Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery and Reconstruction - These chapters from APA's 2005 report Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery and Reconstruction focus on policies for reconstruction, guidance for the planning process, and tools to assist in recovery planning.

Case Studies

Lessons from Katrina: How a Community Can Spearhead Successful Disaster Recovery - This report provides a phase-by-phase analysis of the planning and implementation process for neighborhood redevelopment based on research and interviews conducted in the Broadmoor community in New Orleans from March 2006 through August 2007.

City of Cedar Rapids Neighborhood Planning Process: Executive Summary - Provides a framework for the city’s neighborhood planning process, the plan's purpose, and presents the city's vision.

Hayman Fire: Hayman, Colorado - This case study discusses the challenges, impacts, and planning efforts associated with the largest and most devastating wildfire in Colorado's recorded history.

3 Cities That Used Natural Disasters to Revitalize Their Futures - This article details how Tuscaloosa, AL, Greensburg, KS, and San Francisco, CA, reinvented and revitalized themselves after earthquakes and tornadoes.

St. John the Baptist Parish Community Recovery Strategy - The St. John the Baptist Parish Community Recovery Strategy chronicles the community-driven planning process that was used to create a blueprint for the future of St. John Parish as it recovered from Hurricane Isaac.

A Peer Learning Forum of the NADO Research Foundation: Innovative Approaches to Disaster Recovery and Economic Resilience - This report shares examples of successful recovery strategies, as well as shared challenges, from participants in a two-day forum held in June 2011 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Integrating Mitigation into Recovery


Hazard Mitigation Plan Status - This link leads to a page that shows the state, tribal, and local mitigation plans status. Through the Mitigation Planning Portal(MPP) the public can view the current status of mitigation plans tracked in the MPP through a Geospatial Information System (GIS) mapping service.

Guides, Reports and Tools

Hazard Mitigation Planning Resources- These resources were put together by FEMA's Mitigation Team. Resources range from state planning documents, local mitigation planning information, mitigation planning fact sheets, mitigation grant programs, mitigation strategies within planning objectives, mitigation activities, tribal resources, disaster-resistant universities, and federal partners. This resource is the main resource to use when looking at hazard mitigation.

APA's hazard Mitigation Briefing Paper-​American Planning Association Briefing Paper identifies 4 key points that explains how hazard mitgation both reduces vulnerability and increased resiliency, as well as describing how hazard mitigation planning offers an increadibly high return on investment.

HUD- Exchange- Community Development Block Grant Recovery Program - ​Includes all program requirements for the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) grant programs to help cities, counties, and states recover from Presidentially declared disasters, rebuild the affected areas, and provide crucial seed money to start the recovery process for a broad range of recovery activities. HUD's LAUNCH Toolkit guides communities through setting up the CDBG-DR Program and provides sample policies, procedures, and tools to help with program implementation.

Mitigation Ideas: A Resource for Reducing Risk to Natural Hazards - Communities can use this resource to identify and evaluate a range of potential mitigation actions for reducing risk to natural hazards and disasters. 

Integrating Hazard Mitigation into Local Planning: Case Studies and Tools for Community Officials - This guide discusses how to incorporate risk reduction strategies into existing local plans, policies, codes, and programs that guide community development or redevelopment patterns. 

Hazard Mitigation: Integrating Best Practices into Planning - This guide provides examples and strategies for integrating hazard mitigation strategies into comprehensive, area, and functional plans; and shows where hazard mitigation can fit into zoning and subdivision codes. 

Resilient Regions: Integrating Economic Development Strategies, Sustainability Principles and Hazard Mitigation Planning - This report provides an in-depth look at the roles that regional planning and development organizations are taking to help local and regional economies rebuild after natural disasters.  

The Local Mitigation Planning Handbook - This Handbook is the official FEMA guide for local governments to develop, update and implement local mitigation plans.

Achieving Hazard-Resilient Coastal & Waterfront Smart Growth - This website provides a list of resilience resources that incorporates smart growth pratices and hazard mitigation into planning.

Retrofitting Buildings for Flood Risk - This report provides practical examples from a local perspective of the interplay between local, state, and federal building codes and mitigation strategies.  Illustrations provide specific guidance and examples to historic, older neighborhoods and/or dense urban neighborhoods impacted by flooding.

The National Hazard Mitigation Association - This website provides guidance to local communities and promotes natural hazard risk reduction and climate adaptation through planning and mitigation. Best Practices - Provides examples of best hazard mitigation practices, including Beyond the Basics: Best Practices in Mitigation Planning features numerous examples and best practices that were drawn from high quality hazard mitigation plans.

Flood Plain Management - This website provides a wide array of information on flooding, preparedness, flood damage reduction, and mapping.

Case Studies

Flooding: Cedar Falls, Iowa - This case study presents a variety of mitigation and recovery strategies employed by the City of Cedar Falls, Iowa used to make their community more resilient to flooding.

NYC Housing Recovery- Build it Back Program - Information about the NYC Build it Back Porgram which helped families after Hurricane Sandy. More information about NYC Hurricane Sandy Recovery efforts can be found at the NYC Recovery Homepage.

Integrating Sustainability into Recovery

Guides, Reports and Tools

Smart Growth Changes for Climate Adaption and Resilience- can help local government officials, staff, and boards find strategies to prepare for climate change impacts through land use and building policies.

EPA Green Infrastructure Website- resource catalog on resources that support planning, building, and funding of green infrastructure.  

U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit - Provides access to map overlays of climate stressors and impacts with interactive graphs of historical temperature and precipitation records.

State and Local Energy Program -This planning tool helps communities think about the baseline conditions and opportunities for renewable energy in their community.

State and Local Climate and Energy Program - Renewable Energy - This planning tool helps communities think about the baseline conditions and opportunities for renewable energy in their community.

 Sustainable Communities Leadership Academy: Advancing Local Solutions -  Introduces various concepts basic to sustainability through workshops and other presentations concerning sustainable communities and economies, climate adaptation and resilience, and leadership for sustainability.

Recommendations to improve the Strength and Resilience of the Empire State's Infrastructure - Outlines various cross-cutting, sector-specific issues involved in making New York State infrastructure more resilient.

Tools for Coastal Climate Adaption Planning: A Guide for Selecting Tools to Assist with Ecosystem-Based Climate Planning -  The guide provides information necessary for coastal land mangers and community planners to select appropriate tools for their projects. It focuses on spatially explicit solutions for climate-related planning.

Flood Resilience Checkline - The guidance contains a Flood Resilience Checklist and a discussion of smart growth approaches.

Livable Communities Disaster Recovery Toolkit - American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) suggestions and checklist for how to rebuild a town, city or neighborhood to be a great place for people of all ages. 

ABAG Recovery Toolkit for Local Governments - This toolkit provides sampling of some of the long- term disaster recovery work done by Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), as well as other local, state, federal, and academic partners. It includes conceptual and theoretical discussion as well as practical, usable tools such as model ordinances.

Case Studies

Rebuilding After Disaster: Going Green from the Ground Up - This case study, developed for community leaders involved in post-disaster reconstruction, is intended to show communities how they can incorporate green principles and technologies like energy efficiency and renewable energy into their rebuilding plans.

Rising Above the Water: New Orleans Implements Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Practices Following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita - This case study details technical assistance provided by Department of Engergy (DOE) and National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to New Orleans.  Technical assistance included, designing and developing more efficient schools and homes, as well as evaluating the costs, benefits, and impacts of various energy efficiency and renewable technology policies.

A Tale of Two Cities: Greensburg Rebuilds as a National Model for Green Communities - This case study documents how experts worked with Greensburg city leaders, business owners, residents, and others to identify ways to incorporate energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies into the town’s rebuilding efforts.

Technology Deployment: Disaster Resiliency and Recovery - This document discusses how new technologies have impacted disaster resiliency and recovery in Greensburg, Kansas, Galena, Alaska, New Orleans, Louisiana, and New York and New Jersey after Hurricane  Sandy.  

Example Plans

Example Community Recovery and Development Plans:

Maryland Emergency Agency Local Recovery Planning Toolkit - ​This Local Recovery Planning Toolkit includes materials to support locally-managed short-term and intermediate recovery efforts, as well as materials to assist with the transition to long-term recovery, managed by a Long Term Recovery Committee (LTRC).

Long-Term Community Recovery Plan: Greensburg and Kiowa County, Kansas - This planning document guided recovery efforts in Greensburg and Kiowa Counties following the May 4, 2007 tornado. The plan focuses on projects that are critical to community recovery. Other associated local plans include the Sustainable Comprehensive Master Plan - Provides guidance for community development over the next twenty years; the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) issued a report titled NREL 5 Year Building Performance Report - A five-year building performance report of the community buildings; and Rebuilding Greensburg, Kansas, as a Model Green Community: A Case Study - Details the guidance the city relied on to become on of the greenest cities in the country.  

Cedar Rapids Recovery Progress - This website link directs to the City of Cedar Rapids recovery page which discusses rebuilding projects, neighborhood reinvestment, flood management system, and flood recovery plans.

Long-Term Community Recovery Plan: Chambers County, Texas - Describes how communities in Chambers County collaborated to develop a unified, regional long-term disaster recovery plan, adopted by all signatories.

Big Thompson River Restoration Master Plan - Provides overall guidance to assess, prioritize, and implement river restoration projects that provide increased resiliency to local communities, the economy, and the river ecology.

Town of Lyons Long-Term Flood Recovery - Provides an overview of the process the Town of Lyons used to create and to adopt their flood recovery action plan. Also described are the various working groups and task forces involved. Another related local plan includes the St. Vrain Creek Watershed Master Plan.

Waterbury Long-Term Community Recovery (LTRP) - Describes the Waterbuy public engagement process and how this community came together to rebuild. 

Flood Plain Management - This website provides a wide array of information on flooding, preparedness, flood damage reduction, and mapping.

Boulder County Creek Recovery and Restoration Program - Provides examples of seven separate watershed recovery master plans that were part of a comprehensive creek planning initiative, including the St Vrain Creek Watershed Master Plan - Other watersheds that were part of the planning process include the lower reaches of Boulder Creek, Coal and Rock Creeks, Fourmile Creek, Left hand Creek, the Little Thompson River, and South Boulder Creek. Watershed master plans are available for each watershed segment.

Joplin Roadmap to the Future: Phase II Recovery Plan - Guides future disaster recovery projects and the Updated Comprehensive Housing Market Analysis, which assesses the 2011 tornado impact to the housing market.

Flood Recovery and Investment Plan and CR Progress - Document on-going flood recovery efforts to provide recovery project costs, to outline current efforts and timeline, to forecast future activities, and to detail progress in flood recovery and other community development projects the city has made. Additional community planning efforts include the 2009 City of Cedar Rapids Framework Plan for Reinvestment and Reinvestment details the local strategies to invest and rebuild neighborhoods devastated by the 2008 flooding; a Vision Cedar Rapids: Downtown Framework Plan provides an executive summary of the planning process; and Flood Recovery Planning provides examples of the two-phased River Corridor Redevelopment planning process (the framework for reinvestment and a neighborhood planning process.)

Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Action Plans:

State of Louisiana Master Action Plan for the Utilization of Community Development Block Grant Funds in Response to Hurricane Isaac - Action plan for the disbursement of CDBG-DR funds throughout the State and in Saint John the Baptist and Plaquemines Parishes, Louisiana.

Town of Union, New York Action Plan for Disaster Recovery - An action plan for the disbursement of CDBG-DR funds in the Town of Union, New York to recovery from the Irene/Lee flooding.

CDBG-Disaster Recovery Grant Action Plan, Orange County, NY - An action plan for the disbursement of CDBG-DR funds in the Orange County, New York to recover from the Irene/Lee flooding.

Decision Making and Project Evaluation

Long-Term Community Recovery Toolbox: Project Development Guide - This guide assists with development of long-term community recovery project descriptions, including collecting and analyzing information about goals, strategies, and expected outcomes of proposed projects.

Long-Term Community Recovery Planning Process Project Value Tool Guide - This guide provides a standardized methodology for determining the recovery value of post-disaster reconstruction projects.

The Community Resilience Economic Guide- This guide produced by NIST provides standard economic methodology for evaluating investment decisions aimed at improving the ability of communities to adapt to, withstand, and quickly recovery from disruptive events.

Measuring Progress in Recovery - This report provides an elecellent introduction on how to integraterecovery plans and establish recovery metrics.

Last Updated: 
01/02/2020 - 15:45