Building Resilience Through Plan Integration

PAS Memo — January-February 2021

By Joseph DeAngelis, AICP, Johamary Pena, Alexsandra Gomez, Philip Berke, Jaimie Masterson, AICP



This edition of PAS Memo is available free to all thanks to a partnership with the University of North Carolina's Coastal Resilience Center and financial support from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Plans provide visions for the future and the structure for making that future possible. But many communities are awash in a sea of plans, ranging across topic areas and local geographies and over widely varying timelines and implementation schedules. If the policies within these plans conflict, this can be especially problematic in the context of mitigating hazards and adapting to the impacts of climate change.

For climate and hazard resilience, ensuring that plans result in complementary policies that build resilience in at-risk geographies is crucial to long-term community health and safety. Though planners and planning departments may not control or oversee all plans in a community, they can play a major role in identifying and minimizing potential conflicts.

This PAS Memo reports on research by the American Planning Association, in partnership with the University of North Carolina's Coastal Resilience Center, that shows how planners can use the Plan Integration for Resilience Scorecard (PIRS) — an innovative tool developed by Phil Berke and Jaimie Masterson at Texas A&M University for understanding and assessing the internal consistency of local plans through spatial analysis — to improve community resilience and reduce vulnerability to hazards and climate change.


Page Count
Date Published
Jan. 1, 2021
Adobe PDF
American Planning Association

About the Authors

Joseph DeAngelis, AICP

Johamary Pena
Jo Pena is a Research Associate at APA. She is involved in a variety of applied research projects that focus on public art, creative placemaking, and environmental health. Jo also provides research support on initiatives related to regional planning, social equity, public participation, and climate change. Prior to her work on applied research projects, Jo contributed to the Research KnowledgeBase, creating curated collections of resources that support more effective planning practices. She’s involved in organization initiatives that focus on diversity and inclusion, interdisciplinary collaboration, and multiple interest groups, including the Arts and Planning Interest Group.

Alexsandra Gomez
Alexsandra Gomez is a policy analyst at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. Her work is primarily in the Safe and Complete Streets program. She formerly worked as a research associate at the American Planning Association, where she supported sponsored and strategic research projects and write for APA publications. She has a background in cultural geography and anthropology and applies these disciplines to planning research and practice. Her research interests include urban political ecology, geographies of power, and equitable community-led development.

Philip Berke
Philip R. Berke is a Research Professor, Department of City & Regional Planning, University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill. Berke’s research centers on community resilience to hazards and climate change with a focus on theory, methods and metrics of community planning and implementation. He is the lead co-author of an internationally recognized book, Urban Land Use Planning (5th Edition), which focuses on integrating principles of sustainable communities into urban form, and co-author of a book, Natural Hazard Mitigation: Recasting Disaster Policy and Planning, which was selected as one of the “100 Essential Books in Planning” of the 20th century by the American Planning Association Centennial Great Books. Two of his publications have received the Best Article Award and one an Honorable Mention Award from the American Planning Association. He received the National Research Council/National Academies of Sciences Service Award, the Faculty Award for Excellence in Doctoral Student Mentoring from the UNC-Chapel Hill Graduate School, and Outstanding Alumni Award from Texas A&M University, College of Architecture. He recently served on the technical advisor board for the Louisiana's Master Plan for Coastal Protection and Restoration Plan. He is Senior Editor, Oxford University Encyclopedia of Water Resources Management and Climate Policy, Oxford University Press.

Jaimie Masterson, AICP
Masterson is lead-author of a widely recognized book, Planning for Community Resilience: A Handbook for Reducing Vulnerabilities to Disasters. She is director of the Texas Target Communities Program, a service-learning and university-wide commnity engagement initiative at Texas A&M University. Masterson consults with communities to develop comprehensive plans, economic development plans, and other planning needs where resilience practices are infused into plans and other community initiatives. She is engagement coordinator for the Plan Integration for Resilience Scoarecard at Texas A&M. In 2019, Masterson led a team that received the APA Silver National Planning Achievement Award for Resilience Planning.