Hazards Planning Center

The Hazards Planning Center advances practices that promote resilience by reducing the impact of natural hazards on communities and regions.

Every community is faced with natural and man-made hazards such as floods, wildfires, hurricanes, landslides, extreme temperatures, etc. Proper planning for hazards mitigation, post-disaster recovery, and climate change adaptation enables communities to be prepared for the 21st century.

Through original and applied research, APA's Hazards Planning Center identifies practices that protect communities from natural and man-made hazards and educates planners and allied professionals about those practices.

Our mission is to support the development of safe, resilient communities that can minimize their losses from disasters while efficiently utilizing their resources to recover in an improved manner.

To learn how APA's Hazards Planning Center can help you or to discuss partnership opportunities, contact us at hazardsplanning@planning.org

Featured Resources

APA Gets Funded For Major New NOAA Project

As a partner with the Association of State Floodplain Managers, APA will participate in Building Coastal Resilience through Capital Improvements Planning, funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration under its Regional Coastal Resilience program.

Webinar Series

In cooperation with the Association of State Floodplain Managers, APA is conducting a series of quarterly webinars for practitioners that will include tools, best practices, and strategies on hazard mitigation planning and its connections with recovery planning and preparedness.

Hurricane Matthew Recovery Efforts Under Way

Hurricane Matthew wrought widespread destruction and catastrophic loss of life during its march through the Caribbean and up the southeastern U.S. coast in October 2016. APA's Hazards Planning center is conducting outreach to affected states, as well as its partnering organizations, and state and federal legislators. Planners involved in disaster recovery efforts are invited to use APA research, education, and communication resources to support their disaster recovery efforts.

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Featured Resource

Subdivision Design and Flood Hazard Areas

Subdivision Design and Flood Hazard Areas

Between 2014 and 2016, the APA Hazards Planning Center worked in partnership with ASFPM under an agreement with FEMA to develop Subdivision Design and Flood Hazard Areas (PAS 584). This updated version of the 1997 report (PAS 473) offers a resilient approach to subdivision design guidelines for communities that live within or near floodplains.

Download report

Access Disaster Resources

Current Projects

Incorporating Local Climate Science to Help Communities Plan For Climate Extremes

APA is working with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning and climatologists from the University of Illinois to provide technical assistance to five pilot communities in the Chicago area on incorporating climate data into processes for developing comprehensive and capital improvements plans. End products aimed at the larger Great Lakes region will include a Guidebook, Data Analysis Guide, and case studies.

Building Coastal Resilience through Capital Improvement Planning

APA and ASFPM will work to mainstream a variety of techniques to help practitioners incorporate climate, flood, and hazard data into local and regional capital improvement plans. They will work with regional partners in Savannah, Georgia, and Toledo, Ohio. The end products will include a PAS Report and on-site training program.

Resilient Transit Systems

In a subcontract with Louis Berger Co., which will produce a report that will be published by the Transportation Research Board, APA and partners will develop a resilient transit systems guide for local communities.

Naturally Resilient Communities

The Nature Conservancy will work in partnership with the APA and other organizations on developing a green infrastructure siting guide for local planners.

Improving Community Resilience

In this HUD-funded and NOAA-supervised project, team lead AECOM is partnering with APA, NACo, and ASFPM to develop models for integrating resilient hazard mitigation planning into local comprehensive plans.

Innovations in Planning and Public Engagement for Community Resilience

In this FEMA-funded project, APA and its partners are producing online models and tools for community visioning and scenario planning for post-disaster recovery.

Planning Information Exchange

In cooperation with ASFPM, APA will conduct a series of quarterly webinars for practitioners on hazard mitigation planning.

Advanced Disaster Recovery Strategies for Local Communities

APA and the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center are developing a FEMA-certified course that will help individuals and organizations develop a strategic planning process for implementing pre-disaster recovery plans.

Digital Coast

APA became a partner in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Digital Coast, part of NOAA's Coastal Services Center, in July 2010. As a Digital Coast partner, APA serves as a conduit to our members for Digital Coast online resources for coastal planners and helps vet new products.

Completed Projects


Hazard Mitigation and Disaster Recovery Planning Division

APA's Hazard Mitigation and Disaster Recovery Planning Division fosters professional communications on hazards and recovery, and helps build a knowledge base for use by planners.

Safe Growth Audits

The October 2009 issue of Zoning Practice examines the need for communities to practice safe growth audits to prevent future growth conflicts.

Hazards Planning Blog Posts