Hazards Planning Research Center


Working with a global network of research fellows and partner institutions, APA conducts collaborative, multidisciplinary research.

Hazardous Tree Management and Post-Disaster Recovery

APA hosted a scoping session under USDA Forest Service sponsorship to discuss ways to reduce disaster-caused damage to the urban forest. Several federal agencies and other national nonprofits participated.

Coastal Zone Management

Working with the Coastal States Organization, APA’s Hazards Planning Research Center will produce a PAS Report on coastal zone management. The report will focus on state policies and technical assistance, as well as the use by planners of geospatial technology to further coastal resource management objectives. The project is underwritten through a Digital Coast Fellowship supported by NOAA’s Coastal Services Center.

Drought Mitigation

APA's Hazards Planning Research Center is preparing a PAS Report on best practices and case studies in drought planning, working with the University of Nebraska's National Drought Mitigation Center and the National Integrated Drought Information System. The work will start with a preliminary characterization of the state of community, urban, and regional drought planning across the country and include a presentation at the 2013 APA National Planning Conference in Chicago.

Great Lakes Coastal Hazards

Under a subagreement with the Association of State Floodplain Managers, APA is collaborating with ASFPM and its other partners on an interactive technical assistance guide and regional training and outreach strategy to help local decision makers address the dynamic hazard threats facing Great Lakes communities, including changing threats from climate change. The overall project is a component of NOAA's contributions to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Specifically, the project will focus on producing four distinct modules that address critical resiliency concerns involving: hazards management and planning; prediction of coastal erosion and bluff recession; coastal infrastructure planning; and habitat conservation and restoration planning.

The partners in this project, including APA and led by the Association of State Floodplain Managers, have developed a special website to host the project: Great Lakes Resilience.

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. APA also conducted an extensive needs assessment survey of APA members with regard to coastal planning training and resources.

Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery: Next Generation

APA's Hazards Planning Research Center has a new cooperative agreement with FEMA to undertake a three-year, $465,000 project to overhaul and update the 1998 PAS Report (No. 483/484), Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery and Reconstruction.

The new project, titled "Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery: Next Generation," will not only produce a new PAS Report but use web-based tools, case studies, and other resources as means of disseminating new information to planners as it is developed.

Past Projects

Integrating Hazard Mitigation into Local Planning

The Hazards Planning Research Center completed work under a contract with FEMA to develop a best practices PAS Report (Hazard Mitigation: Integrating Best Practices into Planning, No. 560, May 2010) on ways in which communities can integrate hazard mitigation priorities into all levels of local planning activities. Subsequently, FEMA also funded an audio-web conference that aired on March 16, 2011.

Landslide Hazards and Planning

Supported by the U.S. Geological Survey, this project resulted in the PAS Report, Landslide Hazards and Planning (No. 533/534, September 2005), detailing best practices and including seven case studies for addressing landslide hazards through planning.

Planning for Wildfires

In cooperation with the National Wildland Urban Interface Fire Program, APA produced Planning for Wildfires (PAS Report No. 529/530, February 2005), which examined major issues, model programs, and best practices with regard to Firewise community design and wildfire mitigation.

Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery and Reconstruction

In what has become a major classic in the field of disaster recovery, APA worked through a cooperative agreement with FEMA to produce this PAS Report (No. 483/484, December 1998), which outlined how communities can plan before a disaster to manage effectively the process of recovering and rebuilding afterwards. The link above is to Chapter 5, "A Planner's Tool Kit," which was posted online as part of APA's overall outreach efforts to Gulf Coast communities after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Summary of State Land Use and Natural Hazards Laws

Since 2002, when it first developed this unique tool, APA and its Hazards Planning Research Center have maintained and updated a web-based report, sponsored by the Institute for Business and Home Safety, that tracks annual changes in state laws addressing both general planning requirements and authorities and those provisions specifically addressing planning for natural hazards.