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
Joseph DeAngelis is a planner and Research Manager with the American Planning Association in Chicago. Joseph primarily researches climate adaptation, hazard mitigation, community resilience, and the use of foresight to identify emerging planning topics. Previously, he was a resiliency planner for the New York City Department of City Planning, where he worked on long-term planning and zoning solutions for communities impacted by Hurricane Sandy.

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 research associate at the American Planning Association. She supports sponsored and strategic research projects, contributes to Research KnowledgeBase collections, and writes 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 Berke is a Research Professor in the Department of City & Regional Planning and Director of the Center for Resilient Communities and the Environment at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. His research and practice focus on planning for resilience to hazards and climate change. He is currently updating the sixth edition of the widely recognized book, Urban Land Use Planning, and co-author of 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 APA's Centennial Great Books. Dr. Berke is currently leading field teams to study urban resilience in Holland, and six cities on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. He is collaborating with the American Planning Association in developing and testing a new tool, Plan Integration for Resilience Scorecard, that enables communities to integrate resilience in local networks of plans. He currently serves on advisory boards of the National Academy of Science's Resilient America Program, and Urban Institute's Global Evaluation of the Rockefeller Foundation-pioneered Global 100 Resilient Cities. He recently briefed Congress on the growing vulnerability of US cities, and was on the advisory board of Louisiana's Master Plan for Coastal Protection and Restoration.

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 engagement coordinator for the Plan Integration for Resilience project at Texas A&M. 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. In 2019, Masterson led a team that received the APA Silver National Planning Achievement Award for Resilience Planning. Website: