Hazard Mitigation: Integrating Best Practices into Planning

PAS Report 560

By James Schwab, FAICP

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Every year, communities face natural hazards — floods, wildfires, landslides, earthquakes — that can cause millions of dollars in property damage. Development patterns of the past that ignored the risks of building on vulnerable sites such as floodplains and hillsides have exacerbated the problem. Well-crafted plans, policies, and land-use regulations can help mitigate the impacts of natural disasters — but in many communities today, planners have either limited involvement in hazard mitigation plans or none at all.

Hazard Mitigation: Integrating Best Practices into Planning, prepared by APA and supported by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), seeks to close the gap that often exists between hazard mitigation planning and other local planning and regulatory land-use processes. It introduces hazard mitigation as a vital area of practice for planners; provides guidance on how to integrate hazard mitigation strategies into comprehensive, area, and functional plans; and shows where hazard mitigation can fit into zoning and subdivision codes.

A Safe Growth Audit allows planners to evaluate their communities' plans and regulations, and case studies show how localities large and small are successfully addressing these issues. The report closes with recommendations to help planners move ahead with introducing hazard mitigation into local planning processes.

This report is available free to everyone.

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Date Published
May 1, 2010
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APA Planning Advisory Service