Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery: Next Generation

Project Overview

What becomes of communities and regions after disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes, and floods? How long does it take to rebuild? Is there anything communities can do to speed the process, to reduce the losses, to become more resilient?

The simple answer is yes. It is the details of how we achieve resilience that become considerably more complicated, but they are important to planners and to the futures of the communities they serve. We have much to learn, much to share. But the first goal of planning must be the public safety of the places where we choose to live.

What are the needs that drove this project forward? APA laid out nine clear and specific reasons for the project in a needs assessment it shared with federal officials in FEMA and other agencies.

Post-Disaster Recovery Briefing Papers

The project briefing papers may be used alone or alongside Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery: Next Generation. These succinct, downloadable PDFs are ideal handouts for meetings with officials and the general public.

Disaster Recovery Programs

APA has assembled the best one-stop shopping list of mitigation, recovery, and response resources that we could identify among federal agencies and some national nonprofits.

Learn More

Model Pre-Event Recovery Ordinance

APA has prepared an annotated model pre-event recovery ordinance designed to assist communities in preparing before a hazardous event for better managing the process of recovery after a disaster. The author of this model ordinance is Kenneth C. Topping, FAICP, one of the authors of the PAS Report that is the core product of this project. We encourage communities to review this model ordinance for possible use as a local disaster management tool.

Read the Ordinance

Case Studies

Sharing stories and experiences is one of the most effective ways to provide answers and identify best practices that help communities become more resilient. Such stories and experiences are captured in the case studies detailed below.

  • Flooding: Cedar Falls, Iowa: The Cedar River has crested above flood stage at least 94 times since 1929, and the City of Cedar Falls, Iowa, has been inundated many times. Read this case study to learn about the variety of mitigation and recovery strategies employed by the city to make the community more resilient.

  • Hayman Fire: Hayman, Colorado: The Hayman Fire was the largest and most devastating wildfire in Colorado's recorded history. Read this study to learn about the challenges, impacts, and planning efforts associated with this natural disaster.

Post-Disaster Recovery: Next Generation

PAS 576

The updated manual offers a no-nonsense explanation of the benefits — and limitations — of planning for unpredictable events. Case studies from big cities and smaller towns show what it takes to come back stronger from a natural disaster.

Project Rationale

For more than a decade, PAS Report No. 483/484, Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery and Reconstruction, has served as the major resource to which planners and emergency managers turn for basic principles and policies governing the practice of planning for long-term community recovery after disasters. Thousands of copies have circulated nationwide and around the world. There is only one problem, which was inevitable: The information is rapidly becoming outdated. Between 2008 and 2010, APA conducted a variety of conversations with federal officials about the need for completely overhauling this publication to reflect new lessons and circumstances. FEMA agreed to fund such a project, which launched in October 2010, and was completed in 2014.

What are the needs that drove this new project idea forward? APA laid out nine clear and specific reasons for the project in a needs assessment it shared with federal officials in FEMA and other agencies:

  1. Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000. The document needs to discuss how this statute and FEMA's implementing regulations have affected planning practice with regard to the use of local and state hazard mitigation plans in the long-term recovery planning process.
  2. ESF-14. FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security have adopted a new National Response Framework to replace the Federal Response Plan that was operative when the original report was produced. The new Framework includes three new emergency support functions that the PAS Report never mentioned because they did not exist then. One of those is clearly central to the relevance of the entire document: Emergency Support Function 14 provides long-term recovery planning as part of the Disaster Field Office's response to presidential declared disasters.
  3. FEMA within Homeland Security. The report describes the functions of FEMA at a time when it was an independent agency, not a part of the Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's new organizational structure within that department requires considerable revision of those descriptions within the report in order to lead the reader to accurate assumptions about how federal disaster relief is organized today. Even if FEMA is restored to its previous status as an independent federal agency, it will be a much-changed agency in many respects from the one that sponsored the 1998 report.
  4. Lessons of Hurricane Katrina. Much of what is described above, especially ESF-14, was road-tested the hard way along the Gulf Coast as a result of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and more recently, Hurricane Ike. It is vital that the lessons being learned now, in terms of what works, what does not, and how that might affect future policy, be incorporated into a more timely PAS Report. The most critical issue posed by Hurricane Katrina is whether current policy and planning are adequate to confront recovery needs following a catastrophic rather than more typical major disaster.
  5. Map Modernization and RiskMap. In this decade, FEMA and its National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) have undertaken expensive efforts to update and digitize the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) that have guided both local participation in the NFIP and the setting of flood insurance premiums. Map Modernization was the first initiative in this direction, and RiskMap is the next stage, applying an all-hazards approach to assist local planning. Post-disaster recovery and reconstruction need to incorporate an awareness of the use of these new tools.
  6. Florida Requirements. Although Florida had a requirement in its planning legislation a decade ago for the inclusion of a post-storm redevelopment plan in the hazards element of comprehensive plans in coastal counties, it has only in the last two years begun seriously to implement and enforce this provision. As a result, Florida is currently undertaking a very important public policy experiment with regard to natural hazards, which could provide significant baseline information on best practices and formulas for success.
  7. Climate change. The existing report contains almost no discussion of climate change because the literature and documentation of the impacts of climate change on planning for post-disaster recovery were virtually nonexistent in the 1990s. Today we know that, while great uncertainty remains, we can expect major changes potentially to affect the viability of new development that must last up to a half-century and beyond in circumstances that may over time be significantly altered from those prevailing today. We need to address the additional margin of safety that must be built into reconstruction after disasters in order to ensure the longer-term viability of new development.
  8. Emergence of Web-based technology. In addition to a printed copy that can be readily available in the field, the report should be accessible and downloadable on the Web. This would make it possible to amend the report continuously as required by changes in legislation, regulations, and best practices.
  9. National Disaster Recovery Framework. It is clear the very framework of the nation's approach to disaster recovery is changing. HUD and DHS took on significant responsibilities in crafting the draft framework early in 2010, and White House review lies ahead. Whatever the outcome, it is critical that communities have access to effective planning guidance to accompany any new initiatives tied to this framework as it takes shape. We need to be prepared to explain and examine the fundamental assumptions behind that new framework and how they affect practical decision making at the local and regional level.

Annotated Bibliography

General Post-Disaster Recovery

Alesch, Daniel, Lucy A. Arendt, and James M. Nolly. 2009. Managing for Long-Term Community Recovery in the Aftermath of Disaster. Fairfax, Va.: P.E.R.I. Press.

This book highlights the challenges in restoring the social, political, and economic elements of a community after a disaster. The intended audience is both local officials and leaders as it bridges the gap between government's emergency response and long-term community recovery necessary after a disaster. Based on years of cumulative research and case studies, it teaches readers how to adapt to new realities and the new norm.

Berke, P., J. Kartez, and D. Wenger. 1993. "Recovery after Disaster: Achieving Sustainable Development, Mitigation and Equity." Disasters, 17(2), 93-109.

A study focusing on the issues of equity, mitigation, and sustainable development in disaster recovery, primarily via local participation in redevelopment planning and institutional cooperation.

Birch, Eugenie L., and Susan M. Wachter. 2006. Rebuilding Urban Places after Disaster: Lessons from Hurricane Katrina. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

The book describes the hefty and inevitable prevalence of disasters in our modern world, especially the disproportionate effect on cities due to their high density. Using Hurricane Katrina as a case study, the authors focus on four main points: making cities less vulnerable, strengthening economic vitality, responding to the needs of the homeless and displaced in an emergency, and recreating a sense of security and home. Written immediately after the hurricane, this work offers lessons learned and best practices.

Haas, J. Eugene, Robert W. Kates, and Martyn J. Bowden, eds. 1977. Reconstruction Following Disaster. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.

Lindell, Michael K. 2013. "Recovery and Reconstruction After Disaster." Encyclopedia of Natural Hazards, 812-824. Dordrecht, New York: Springer.

Mileti, Dennis S. 1999. Disasters by Design. Washington, D.C.: The Joseph Henry Press.

An overarching examination of Americans' attitudes towards the hazards of the past, present, and future. The book follows in the steps of geographer Gilbert F. White and sociologist J. Eugene Haas in using the social sciences to better understand the economic, social, and political ramifications of extreme natural events.

Morrow, Betty Hearn. 1999. "Identifying and mapping community vulnerability." Disasters, 23(1), 1-18.

A study discussing the importance of knowing where groups such as the poor, the elderly, and recent residents live in communities in order to find areas of potential vulnerability during natural disasters. These community vulnerability maps can be integrated into GIS systems for easier access.

Natural Hazards Center. 2005. Holistic Disaster Recovery, Ideas for Building Local Sustainability After a Natural Disaster. Boulder, Colorado: University of Colorado.

A handbook for local practitioners looking to improve community sustainability following a natural disaster. Originally published in 2001, the book was updated following the destruction wrought by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. The National Hazards Center added new examples of recovery success stories and streamlined the text to make it easier to use.

Olshansky, Robert B., Lewis D. Hopkins, and Laurie A. Johnson. 2012. "Disaster and Recovery: Processes Compressed in Time." Natural Hazards Review, 13(3), 173–178.

A paper examining post-disaster recovery as a time-compressed version of urban development. The authors look at how this time compression impacts different aspects of and how it can help us understand the recovery process.

Olshansky, Robert B., and Stephanie E. Chang. 2009. "Planning for Disaster Recovery: Emerging Research Needs and Challenges." Progress in Planning 72: 195-250.

This is one of two special issues of Progress in Planning about new research and paradigms in the planning field. Bringing together multiple authors (two main are noted) from different schools of planning, the chapters discuss disaster recovery and mitigation, climate change, and urbanization in terms of relevance to today's research agendas. Also discusses how these topics can influence the assessment of current academic planning programs in the United States.

Quarantelli, E. L. 1982. "Ten Research Derived Principles of Disaster Planning." Disaster Management 2: 23–25.

Rubin, Claire. 1985. Community Recovery from a Major Natural Disaster. Monograph No. 41. Boulder, Colorado: Program on Environment and Behavior, Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado.

The authors examine the factors leading to successful community recovery from a natural disaster. The report was based on onsite observations and case studies of 14 recovering communities in the United States.

Smith, G.P., and D. Wenger. 2006. "Sustainable Disaster Recovery: Operationalizing an Existing Agenda." In Handbook of Disaster Research. 234-274. Dordrecht, N.Y.: Springer.

A book chapter pointing out and responding to a lack of serious research in the field of disaster recovery. The authors propose to describe an improved policy implementation framework focused on achieving sustainable recovery.

Smith, Gavin. 2010. Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery: A Review of the United States Disaster Assistance Framework. Fairfax, Va.: P.E.R.I. Press.

In a general review of the federal framework, Smith argues that the typical government response to disasters is narrowly defined and not nearly as helpful as it could be; recovery is therefore full of too many stakeholders — fragmented and somewhat ineffective. The author states that assistance comes in three forms: financial, policy-based, and technical. All must be used together.

Solnit, Rebecca. 2009. A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster. New York: Penguin Books.

Solnit considers her book an investigation of why people do what they do in disasters by focusing on what drives them. Looking at multiple disasters — starting with the San Francisco earthquake in 1906 up to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 — this work is important for planners who want to understand the emotional and psychological impacts of a disaster. She also looks at societal impacts (positive and negative) as a whole.

Tierney, K.J., Michael K. Lindell, and R.W. Perry. 2001. Facing the Unexpected: Disaster Preparedness and Response in the United States. Washington, D.C.: Joseph Henry Press.

Deriving information from the past 25 years of study, the authors attempt to answer questions about how these past disasters can improve our disaster mitigation and recovery. Using a wide lens they also consider the position of the government, its professionalism in dire times, and its effectiveness with its people. They compare different types of disasters and how technology plays a role in them and in our ever-growing, technology-dependent society. Lastly, they discuss sustainable redevelopment after a disaster.

U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). 2009. Disaster Recovery: Experiences from past disasters offer insights for effective collaboration after catastrophic events. GAO-09-811. Washington, D.C. Retrieved from

The Government Accountability Office examined five catastrophic disasters to consider how federal, state, and local governments can effectively collaborate on recovery. The researchers looked at the Loma Prieta earthquake, Hurricane Andrew, the Northridge earthquake, the Kobe earthquake, and the Grand Forks/Red River flood.

Vale, Lawrence J., and Thomas J. Campanella. 2005. The Resilient City: How Modern Cities Recover from Disaster. New York: Oxford University Press.

In a book focused on historical facts, the authors begin with the 1871 Great Fire of Chicago, then travel throughout international history. They present their findings to readers about the rebuilding of these cities, post-disaster, from the ground up. They find disaster recovery to be symbolic and cathartic, showcasing not only the strength of the city but also the strength of the human spirit.

Case Studies

Abramson, David M., and Derrin Culp. 2013. At the Crossroads of Long-Term Recovery: Joplin, Missouri, Six Months after the May 22, 2011, Tornado. New York: National Center for Disaster Preparedness, Earth Institute, Columbia University. Retrieved from

A report based on interviews with key officials and community leaders in Joplin, Missouri, by researchers from Columbia University's National Center for Disaster Preparedness. The report captures recovery efforts six months after the tornado, and concluded that the city had a strong foundation for recovery.

Abramson, David, Derrin Culp, Jonathan Sury, and Laurie Johnson. 2011. Planning for Long-Term Recovery Before Disaster Strikes: Case Studies of 4 US Cities. New York: National Center for Disaster Preparedness, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University.

This paper suggests that long-term hazard recovery has not received as much policy attention as preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation. According to the authors, the size and growth of recovery costs suggest an increasing disparity between covered and uncovered losses.

Association of State Floodplain Managers, Inc. 2012. Hurricane Sandy Recovery: Using Mitigation to Rebuild Safer and More Sustainable Communities. Retrieved from

This paper outlines some of the actions that communities, individuals, businesses, and state and federal officials can take to reduce the suffering, damage, and risks from events like Hurricane Sandy in the future. It makes the point that reconstruction must balance the critical nature of coastal wetlands, barrier islands, and other natural shoreline processes with the economic uses unique to the Northeast in order to make communities there more resilient.

Berke, Philip, and Thomas Campanella. 2006. "Planning for Post-Disaster Resiliency." The ANNALS of the American Academy of Social and Political Sciences 604(5): 192-208.

Looking at Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the authors use their wealth of prior research to discuss resilient planning for both federal and state government officials. Using this knowledge, they recommend policy and law changes that foster pre-disaster long-term community recovery, along with what to do to build resilience in an area after a catastrophe.

Black & Veatch Corporation. Water Environment Federation. 2006. Assessment of reconstruction costs and debt management for wastewater utilities affected by Hurricane Katrina. Alexandria, Va.: Water Environment Federation.

Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), City of Los Angeles. 1986. Hollywood Redevelopment Plan. Adopted May 7 1986 (City Council Ordinance #161202). Retrieved from

Freudenburg, William R., Robert Gramling, Shirley Laska, et al. 2009. Catastrophe in the Making: The Engineering of Katrina and the Disasters of Tomorrow. Washington, D.C.: Island Press.

Discussing the controversial question of why disasters happen, the authors hypothesize that they may be of our own making. This is a provocative book in which they suggest that Hurricane Katrina was not a natural disaster but a man-made one that could have been avoided. Blaming the majority of these tragedies on government failure and selfish economic desires, the authors warn that the United States "growth machine" will next destroy the states of California and Missouri through similar environmental destruction.

Grand Forks (North Dakota), City of. 2011. Grand Forks flood disaster and recovery lessons learned. Retrieved from

The city prepared this brief on the impacts of a massive flood and a fire that led to the evacuation of 90 percent of its population. Grand Forks implemented a $400 million flood protection project and has seen its population restabilize at pre-flood levels.

Johnson, Laurie A. 2009. "Case Study – Grand Forks, North Dakota following the April 19, 1997 Flood." In Developing a Management Framework for Local Disaster Recovery: A Study of the U.S.

________. "Disaster Recovery Management System and the Management Processes and Outcomes of Disaster Recovery in 3 U.S. Cities." Ph.D. dissertation, 2009, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory. 2012. Greensburg, Kansas, five years later — an international inspiration for green disaster recovery. Retrieved from

Following its destruction by a tornado, Greensburg, Kansas, decided to rebuild as a model green community. Now Greensburg has the highest per-capita concentration of LEED certified buildings in the United States.

Nelson, A.C., and S.P. French. 2007. "Plan quality and mitigation damage from natural disasters: A case study of the Northridge earthquake with planning policy considerations." Journal of the American Planning Association, 68(2), 194-207.

The authors conclude that the 1994 Northridge earthquake in the Los Angeles area proves that land-use planning can reduce damage from natural disasters. They found that areas where local governments had implemented stronger land-use planning had less damage to homes from the earthquake.

Olshansky, Robert B., Laurie A. Johnson, Jedidiah Horne, et al. 2008. "Planning for the Rebuilding of New Orleans." Journal of the American Planning Association 74(3): 273-287.

An article that summarizes the key planning challenges during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Written as a case study with interviews featuring current leaders in New Orleans, this paper aims to identify lessons for planners faced with future disasters. It concludes that the most important factors regarding post-disaster recovery are previous plans, citizen involvement, information infrastructure, and external resources. It also discusses the framework of the Louisiana Recovery Authority.

Olshansky, Robert B., Laurie A. Johnson, and Kenneth C. Topping. 2006. "Rebuilding Communities Following Disaster: Lessons from Kobe and Los Angeles." Built Environment 32(4): 354-374.

This article begins by discussing the similarities and differences between the 1994 Northridge earthquake and the Kobe earthquake in 1995. Comparing both regional and national policies for disasters, the authors comment on seven urban districts within each municipality of study. The paper aims to turn post-disaster planning into a "fast, effective, and equitable" process. It suggests that the post-disaster recovery area should eventually improve on the previous conditions.

Olshansky, Robert B. 2006. "Planning after Hurricane Katrina." Journal of the American Planning Association 72(2): 147-153.

The author considers the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina the greatest planning problem he has ever seen and offers his insights on how it can be approached. To enable continued success, one must follow planning precedent while applying new knowledge in the disaster field. Readers are encouraged to learn about the funding and public participation needed for full recovery.

Ota, Toshikazu, Norio Maki, and Haruo Hayashi. 2009. "Evaluating Planning Process of the Kobe Recovery Plan Based on Project Management Framework." Journal of Disaster Research 4 (3): 271–281.

The researchers evaluate the Kobe City Recovery Plan, a response to the 1995 Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake. They look at 10 individual elements by applying the Johari window technique.

Schwab, James. 2013. "High and Dry on the Waterfront." Zoning Practice, November.

An examination of the rebuilding following Hurrican Sandy in New York and New Jersey. The report considers the impact of the Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 and zoning restrictions on raising homes.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District. 2010. Cedar River, Cedar Rapids, Iowa: Flood Risk Management Project: Feasibility Study Report with Integrated Environmental Assessment: Final.

A report aimed at identifying cost effective, environmentally-sensitive, and technically feasible flood risk management strategies for Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It lays out a $99 million project focused on reducing the risk of flood damage, improving government response, increasing public awareness, and boosting recreational opportunities.

Economic Recovery

Center for Industrial Research and Services, Iowa State University. 2012. "CIRAS Disaster Checklist." Retrieved from

A disaster preparedness checklist for businesses.

French, Steven P., Dalbyul Lee, and Kristofor Anderson. 2010. "Estimating the Social and Economic Consequences of Natural Hazards: Fiscal Impact Example." Natural Hazards Review 11(2).

This paper takes into account physical damage estimates to help measure the actual consequences of a disaster. Used as a planner's or local decision maker's guide to correctly mitigate and respond to an event, this economics-inspired work encompasses all aspects of U.S. sociology and race politics. Throughout, the authors develop quantitative models that measure these different impacts.

Greenberg, Rachel. 2014. "7 Ways Manufacturers can Improve Responsiveness to a Natural Disaster." Manufacturing Transformation. June 17. Retrieved from

This blog post provides several guidelines for manufacturers looking to enhance their natural disaster recovery standards. The author suggests that companies know their insurance policies, have alternative back-up locations for operations, and communicate openly with customers.

Klein, Naomi. 2007. The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. New York: Metropolitan Books.

A controversial book about disaster politics and how world leaders manipulate tragedies in their favor (which the author calls the "bait-and-switch"). She suggests that in times of disaster and recovery, hidden and inequitable policies are passed for leaders' own gain. Her examples include 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, the War on Terror, and the Asian tsunami of 2004.

Ridgeway, C. 2010. Recommendations for an improved federal response to post-disaster economic recovery. Workshop summary Iedc/bclc/nado post-disaster small business recovery workshop. January. Retrieved from

The International Economic Development Council, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Business Civic Leadership Center, and National Association of Development Organizations convened a working group on the federal response to long-term economic recovery efforts. This report contains their recommendations, including creating a federal agency responsible for post-disaster recovery and creating a trigger mechanism for waiving certain regulations on the use of federal funds after a disaster.

Rose, Adam. 2009. "Economic Resilience to Disasters." Community and Regional Resilience Institute, Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Report No. 8.

A report focused on explaining how economic resilience has evolved into a meaningful, quantifiable, measurable, and actionable concept. The authors specifically work to define resilience in the economic context, using a review of past literature, and provide tools for the enhancement of economic resilience.

Simchi-Levi, David, William Schmidt, and Yehua Wei. 2014. "From Superstorms to Factory Fires: Managing Unpredictable Supply-Chain Disruptions." Harvard Business Review, January–February 2014. Retrieved from

The authors describe a model for assessing disaster impact on corporate supply chains that they developed while working at the Ford Motor Company. The model is centered on time to recovery, or the time it would take for a particular node to be restored to full functionality after a disruption.

Simchi-Levi, David, Ioannis M. Kyratzoglou, and Constantine G. Vassiliadis. 2013. "Supply Chain and Risk Management." Massachusetts Institute for Technology Forum for Supply Chain Innovation and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Retrieved from

The report considers the operations and financial performance of large companies in the face of supply chain disruptions. The authors also propose a risk management framework for these companies.

Tierney, Kathleen J. 1995. "Impacts of Recent Disasters on Businesses: The 1993 Midwest Floods and the 1994 Northridge Earthquake." Newark, Del.: Disaster Research Center, University of Delaware, Preliminary Paper 230.

Based on two Disaster Research Center surveys on disaster-related business impacts, this report looks at physical damage, lifeline service interruption, business closure and relocation, insurance use, Small Business Administration loans, and other topics.

Wooten, T. (n.d.). Getting it Right: Rebuilding Local Economies after a Natural Disaster. Retrieved from

The articles uses the recovery of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina to examine the importance of federal financial assistance for economic recovery.

Ye, Linghe, and Masato Abe. June 2012. "The impacts of natural disasters on global supply chains." Asia-Pacific Research and Training Network on Trade. Retrieved from

This report looks at how global supply chains expand the risks of natural disasters and how natural disasters affect supply chain operations in the Asia-Pacific region. The authors also suggest policy options for disaster resilience for globalized businesses.

Federal Recovery Policy

42 U.S.C. § 5121 et seq. The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Public Law 93-288).

The act governing how the United States declares and responds to disasters, including how the costs of the response are split between federal, state, and local governments. It also calls for state and local governments to create comprehensive disaster preparedness plans.

American Planning Association. 2011. "Policy Guide on Planning and Climate Change." April 11. Retrieved from‎.

The guide frames the climate change issue with state-of-the-art climate and a comprehensive list of actions for planners to take in communicating, mitigating, and adapting to current and future climate conditions, changes and consequent impacts.

Burby, Raymond. 2006. "Hurricane Katrina and the Paradoxes of Government Disaster Policy: Bringing About Wise Governmental Decisions for Hazardous Areas." The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 604(1).

The author describes the losses from Hurricane Katrina in the framework of two paradoxes — the safe development paradox and the local government paradox. In spite of these problems, tragedies like this could be halted if governments created comprehensive plans focusing on mitigation before emergency. Burby suggests that, by reworking the Flood Insurance Act and the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000, we can focus more on communities as a whole rather than individuals in times of recovery.

Federal Emergency Management Agency. 2013. Integrating Hazard Mitigation Into Local Planning: Case Studies and Tools for Community Officials. Retrieved from

The report provides advice for communities looking to integrate risk reduction strategies into existing local plans, policies, codes, and programs. It also includes case studies and pull-out fact sheets.

Federal Emergency Management Agency. 2011. Lessons in Community Recovery: Seven Years of Emergency Support Function #14 Long-term Community Recovery from 2004 to 2011. Retrieved from

The document helps audiences looking to better prepare for disasters and to implement a "Whole Community" disaster recovery process. This report also includes elements of successful recovery, challenges encountered, and lessons learned.

Federal Emergency Management Agency. 2011. National Disaster Recovery Framework: Strengthening Disaster Recovery for the Nation. September.

A guide intended to aid effective recovery, especially from large-scale or catastrophic disasters, by defining core recovery principles, roles and responsibilities of recovery coordinators, and more. The framework also introduces four new concepts or terms: Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator, State or Tribal Disaster Recovery Coordinators, Local Disaster Recovery Managers, Recovery Support Functions.

Federal Emergency Management Agency. 2011. A Whole Community Approach to Emergency Management: Principles, Themes, and Pathways for Action. FDOC 104-008-1. December. Retrieved from

The document is focused on boosting individual preparedness and engaging with members of the community to improve national resiliency and security.

Federal Emergency Management Agency. 2009. National disaster housing strategy. Retrieved from

The report summarizes how the U.S. provides housing to people impacted by disasters and charts a path for improvement.

Federal Emergency Management Agency. 2004. Using HAZUS-MH for Risk Assessment: How-to Guide. FEMA 433. August. Retrieved from

Presidential Policy Directive/PPD-8. 2011. National Preparedness. Washington, D.C.: The White House.

Topping, Kenneth C. 2009. "Toward a National Disaster Recovery Act of 2009." Invited comment in Natural Hazards Observer, January.

An article raising questions and potential amendments for the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act of 1988. The author recommends adding catastrophic event provisions, adding pre-event recovery plans to mandated state and local hazard mitigation plans, substituting block grants for infrastructure restoration funding, expanding mitigation funding, and boosting individual-household and local government post-disaster operations assistance.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security. 2011. National Preparedness Goal. September. Retrieved from

The National Preparedness Goal was the first deliverable required under Presidential Policy Directive (PPD) 8: National Preparedness. The document establishes goals for national preparedness while laying out the core capabilities and targets necessary to achieve preparedness across five mission areas laid out under PPD 8: prevention, protection, mitigation, response and recovery.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security. 2004. "National Response Plan, Catastrophic Incident Annex."

This annex establishes the context and overarching strategy for national response to a catastrophic incident.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security. (n.d.). Critical infrastructure sectors. Retrieved from

Housing Recovery

Alesch, Daniel J., Lucy A. Arendt, and James N. Holly. 2009. Managing for Long-term Community Recovery in the Aftermath of Disaster. Fairfax, Va.: Public Entity Risk Institute.

A book consisting of an overarching study of dozens of communities that were hit by disasters. The authors define recovery as establishing viability for individuals, households, businesses, local government, and the community after the event. The authors focus in particular on long-term recovery of local economies, housing, and residents.

Broward County, Florida, Environmental Protection and Growth Management Department Housing, Finance and Community Development Division. 2010. Disaster housing plan. Retrieved from

Cantrell, R. A., Nahmens, I., Peavey, J., Bryant, K., & Stair, M. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Policy Development and Research. 2012. Pre-disaster planning for permanent housing recovery. Retrieved from

A four-volume set of reports addressing challenges to temporary, interim, and permanent post-disaster, including an overview, planning strategy, planning tools, and basic plant design.

Comerio, Mary C. 1998. Disaster Hits Home: New Policy for Urban Housing Recovery. Berkeley: University of California Press.

This book focuses on what happens after the disaster rather than before or during it; the author is concerned with urban residents and the recovery of damaged housing. Using case studies of six major international disasters, she points out fundamental differences regarding recovery periods throughout history until today. Population growth, technology, and governmental changes all contribute to the future of disasters, and existing recovery systems are still inadequate. Intended audience is policy makers and property owners.

Ganapati, N. Emel, and Sukumar Ganapati. 2009. "Enabling Participatory Planning After Disasters: A Case Study of the World Bank's Housing Reconstruction in Turkey." Journal of the American Planning Association 75 (1): 41–59.

A case study of factors impeding participatory planning in reconstructing housing in Turkey following an earthquake. The researchers found problems with how the term "public" was defined, based on a project-based approach and a lack of knowledge of local capacities.

Resilient Colorado, College of Architecture and Planning, University of Colorado at Denver. 2014. "Housing Development: A Post-Disaster Workshop in Lyons, Colorado." Retrieved from

The final report from the summer workshop "Housing Development: A Post-Disaster Workshop in Lyons, Colorado," a summer graduate course offered in the College of Architecture and Planning at the University of Colorado at Denver from June to August 2014. The course produced a public engagement plan, based on national best practices, describing the process for post-disaster housing development in Lyons.

Zhang, Y., and W.G. Peacock. 2010. "Planning for housing recovery? Lessons learned from Hurricane Andrew." Journal of the American Planning Association, 76(1), 5-24.

The authors studied single-family housing recovery, housing sales, and property abandonment in south Miami-Dade County, Florida, after Hurricane Andrew. They used this data to create expected housing recovery trajectories, which depended on neighborhood demographic, socioeconomic, and housing characteristics.

Land Use and Development

Burby, Raymond, Robert E. Deyle, David R. Godschalk, and Robert Olshansky. 2000. "Creating Hazard Resilient Communities through Land-Use Planning." Natural Hazards Review 1(2).

Defining land-use planning as the single most important aspect of sustainable hazard mitigation, this article describes steps to successful land-use planning. Combining more than 20 years of research, the authors apply their knowledge of planning processes and hazard assessments. This article is useful for emergency planners as a guide for considering how comprehensive plans and development regulations can help communities avoid natural hazards.

Stevens, Mark R., Philip R. Berke, and Yan Song. 2008. "Protecting People and Property: The Influence of Land-Use Planners on Flood Hazard Mitigation in New Urbanist Developments." Journal of Environmental Planning and Management 51(6).

Local land-use planners help governments choose the priority they place on flood mitigation. Using regression analysis and other tools such as case study review, the authors determine the actual impact land-use planners have on new urbanist developments. Concluding that land-use planners have a high impact on these neighborhoods, the authors recommend that governments adopt a land-use planning approach to flood hazard mitigation.


Title 44: Emergency Management and Assistance, Code of Federal Regulations Part 201—Mitigation Planning (44 CFR 201). Retrieved from

American Planning Association. 2014. "Hazard Mitigation Policy Guide." Retrieved from

A guide that considers the intersection of adaptation, response, and recovery in the context of hazard mitigation. The authors consider the importance of including government and regulatory agencies, non-governmental entities, educational institutions, private sector organizations including health care providers, and citizens in hazard mitigation planning.

Berke, Philip R., Yan Song, and Mark Stevens. 2009. "Integrating Hazard Mitigation into New Urban and Conventional Developments." Journal of Planning Education and Research 28(4).

The authors compare (in 33 case studies) success in hazard mitigation for new urbanist versus conventional neighborhoods. Although new urbanism originated as a response to sprawl, concerns over higher-density development in these areas raise questions of hazard safety. The authors recommend changes in new urbanist public policy and model codes.

California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA). 2013. State Hazard Mitigation Plan, September 30, 2013. Retrieved from

Godschalk, David, Samuel Brody, and Raymond Burby. 2003. "Public Participation in Natural Hazard Mitigation Policy Formation: Challenges for Comprehensive Planning." Journal of Environmental Planning and Management 46(5).

Public participation in hazard mitigation is quite low. Why is that the case? The authors dissect case studies from Florida and Washington and offer recommendations for future use. The article offers suggestions on how to make public participation in mitigation policy more effective.

Godschalk, David, Adam Rose, Elliot Mittler, et al. 2009. "Estimating the Value of Foresight: Aggregate Analysis of Natural Hazard Mitigation Benefit and Costs." Journal of Environmental Planning and Management 52(6).

This paper discusses the outcome of the 2005 government-mandated study, "Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves." Through aggregate cost-benefit analysis, it has been proved that $1 spent on hazard mitigation is $4 saved in the event of a disaster. This has given planners valuable lessons such as the need to consider a wide variety of losses, uncovering social issues, qualitative and quantitative studies, and act with foresight.

Godschalk, David. 2004. "Breaking the Disaster Cycle: Future Directions in Natural Hazard Mitigation." Washington, D.C.: FEMA.

This training course is structured as a graduate seminar on mitigation policy, programs, and practice. The crux of the study is focused on an analysis of current hazard mitigation policies. After discussing the present day, Godschalk gives an overview of the historic evolution of disaster policy within the U.S. through using case studies. In total, there were 17 sessions of this course offered, with PDFs and PowerPoint presentations available from each class period.

________. 2006. "Buildout Analysis: A Valuable Planning and Hazard Mitigation Tool." Zoning Practice. March. Chicago: American Planning Association.

This issue of Zoning Practice features the build-out analysis tool for hazard mitigation. Build-out analysis works as a way to project future growth in an area under existing community development policies, in order to estimate the damage from a potential future disaster. It may be based on land parcels or zoning districts. The article also discusses the HAZUS-MH tool and notes case studies in which these applications were used. It is useful in assessing community safety in light of present zoning.

________. 2009. "Practice Safe Growth Audits." Zoning Practice, October. Retrieved from

A discussion of the use of safe growth audits to find out how safely an area is growing in light of the natural hazards it faces. The tool is intended to analyze how policies, ordinances, and plans impact community safety from hazard risks due to growth.

Highfield, Wesley E., Walter Gillis Peacock, and Shannon Van Zandt. 2014. "Mitigation Planning: Why Hazard Exposure, Structural Vulnerability, and Social Vulnerability Matter." Journal of Planning Education and Research 34(3), 287-300.

The authors analyzed a random sample of 1,500 damage assessments of single-family homes following Hurricane Ike, looking at the impacts of hazard exposure, structural vulnerability, and social vulnerability. They found that such assessments can assist in mitigation planning and community resilience.

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, Town of. 1993. Post-Disaster Recovery and Mitigation Plan — Town of Hilton Head Island, Beaufort County, South Carolina.

Inam, Aseem. 2005. Planning for the Unplanned. New York: Routledge Publishing.

Questioning how cities plan for disasters, the author argues that cities rely on the old and the familiar. The book relies heavily on institutional framework/paradigms and uses case studies from Mexico City, Los Angeles, and New York City.

Johnson, Laurie, Laura Dwelley Samant, and Suzanne Frew. 2005. Planning for the Unexpected. Planning Advisory Service Report no. 531. Chicago: American Planning Association.

This report discusses the application of the principles and practices of risk management to land-use planning and development practices and protocols. The authors posit that a risk-based framework can push community decision makers to consider a wider range of possible consequences.

New York City Planning Department. 2013a. Designing for Flood Risk. June. Retrieved from

The report is an examination of the key design principles guiding flood-resistant urban construction, including regulatory requirements under the National Flood Insurance Program and zoning recommendations.

Schwab, James C. 2010. Hazard Mitigation: Integrating Best Practices into Planning. Planning Advisory Service Report no. 560. Chicago: American Planning Association.

Written in conjunction with FEMA, this report was created to close the gap between hazard mitigation and other types of planning. It offers case study applications along with best practice examples to readers and recommendations for ways to implement this type of planning in comprehensive and long-range plans.

Topping, Kenneth C., M. Boswell, H. Hayashi, and W. Siembieda, eds. 2010. Special Issue on "Building Local Capacity for Long-term Disaster Resilience." Journal of Disaster Research, Part 1, Volume 5, Number 2, April; and Part 2, Volume 5, Number 5, October.

This issue of the Journal of Disaster Research includes articles on building disaster-resilient non-governmental organizations, seismic regulations, coastal zone hazard mitigation plans, local capacity building, and other topics related to long-term disaster resilience.

Topping, Kenneth C. 2011. "Strengthening Resilience Through Mitigation Planning." Invited comment in Natural Hazards Observer, November.

An extended response to the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000, which was aimed at learning from disasters. Topping gives recommendations for improved implementation of DMA 2000, including an emphasis on mitigation, corresponding with other local plans, boosting the engagement of decision makers and stakeholders, and streamlining plan content and reviews.

________. 2010. "Using National Financial Incentives to Build Local Resiliency: The U.S. Disaster Mitigation Act." Journal of Disaster Research, Volume 5, Number 2 (April).

An examination of the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000, including a description of statutory requirements, an assessment of regional participation, and a case study of hazard mitigation plan compliance issues in California. The study also considers the long-term implications of DMA 2000, particularly the use of financial incentives for local resilience.

Post-Disaster Redevelopment Plans

Baker, Earl J., Robert E. Deyle, Timothy S. Chapin, et al. 2008. "Are We Any Safer? Comprehensive Plan Impacts on Hurricane Evacuation and Shelter Demand in Florida." Coastal Management Journal 36: 294-317.

A study that covers five coastal communities throughout Florida and their state-mandated comprehensive plan policies for hurricanes from 2002 forward. Different models were used to calculate evacuation times and shelter demand. The authors recommend that a concurrent management strategy be implemented for all southern states that follow Florida requirements.

Baltimore, City of. 2013. The Disaster Preparedness and Planning Project. Baltimore Office of Sustainability. Retrieved from

An initiative combining climate change, hazard mitigation, and climate adaptation into one disaster plan.

Birch, Eugenie L., and Susan M. Wachter, eds. 2006. Rebuilding Urban Places After Disaster. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

A book focusing on four aspects of redevelopment: making cities less vulnerable to disaster, improving economic viability, helping the displaced over the long term, and recreating a sense of place. The authors advocate for cooperation to establish the priorities of rebuilding after disaster.

Continental Shelf Associates, Inc. (CSA). 2010. Hillsborough County Post-Disaster Redevelopment Plan. Tampa, Florida: Planning and Growth Management Department.

Emergency Operations Organization (EOO), City of Los Angeles. Recovery and Reconstruction Plan. September, 1994.

Fairfax County, Virginia. 2012. "Fairfax County Pre-Disaster Recovery Plan." Fairfax County. Recovered from

Florida Department of Community Affairs and Florida Division of Emergency Management. 2010. Post-Disaster Redevelopment Planning: A Guide for Florida Communities.

This guidebook is the culmination of Florida's Statewide Post-Disaster Redevelopment Planning Initiative to assist counties by providing best practice examples of post-disaster redevelopment. Six Florida communities were selected as pilots and are documented as case studies. Recommendations are ranked either minimum, recommended, or advanced. The guide focuses on Florida-specific planning standards and hazards, but the planning process and topic areas are applicable to many U.S. communities. The document was prepared by consulting agency C.S.A. International.

Florida, State of, "Post-Disaster Redevelopment Planning Initiative." 2010b. Review of Florida Post-Disaster Redevelopment Plans. Draft. Retrieved from

Greensburg (Kansas), City of, and Kiowa County (Kansas). 2007. Greensburg + Kiowa County, Kansas Long-Term Community Recovery Plan. Federal Emergency Management Agency. Retrieved from

Kimura, Reo. 2007. "Recovery and Reconstruction Calendar." Journal of Disaster Research 2 (6): 465–474.

A recovery and reconstruction timeline, tested against the 1995 Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake and the 2004 Mid-Niigata Prefecture Earthquake. The researcher found that the process can be generalized despite differences in disaster type and intensity.

Meyer, Sandy, Eugene Henry, Roy E. Wright, and Cynthia A. Palmer. 2010."Post-Disaster Redevelopment Planning: Local Capacity Building through Pre-Event Planning." Journal of Disaster Research 5(5): 552-564.

Drawing upon the lessons learned from the impacts of the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons, local governments and the State of Florida sought a way to change behavior toward creating greater community resilience. This paper highlights key outcomes yielded by the post-disaster redevelopment planning initiative, including methodologies for integrating risk-based decision making within existing community processes and a best practice example of merging recovery, mitigation, response, and preparedness principles.

Mitchell, James K. 2006. "The Primacy of Partnership: Scoping a New National Disaster Recovery Policy." The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 604 (1): 228–255. doi:10.1177/0002716205286044.

This paper advocates for emphasizing partnerships among different stakeholder groups in disaster management. The author calls for social scientists to use the recovery from Hurricane Katrina to study potential policy reforms to encourage such partnerships.

Olive Hill (Kentucky), City of. 2011. Proud Past, Hope for the Future Olive Hill, Kentucky: Long-term Recovery Plan. City of Olive Hill, Kentucky. Retrieved from

Olshansky, Robert B., and Laurie A. Johnson. 2010. Clear as Mud: Planning for the Redevelopment of New Orleans. Chicago: APA Planners Press.

Covering the first 22 months of recovery after Hurricane Katrina, hands-on planners Olshansky and Johnson describe their experiences. Their insight from working with community leaders in New Orleans gives a unique approach to the disaster period, and they document their own thoughts and those of the community leaders and policymakers that they interviewed. Their aim is to have this book used by still unharmed locations in time of disaster.

Unified New Orleans Plan (UNOP). 2007. "Citywide Strategic Recovery and Rebuilding Plan, Final Draft." Retrieved from

Waterbury (Vermont), City of. 2012. Waterbury Long-Term Community Recovery Plan. City of Waterbury, Vermont. Retrieved from

Resilience / Sustainability

Berke, Philip, and Thomas J. Campanella. 2006. "Planning for Post Disaster Resiliency". The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 604 (1) (March): 192–207.

The report establishes the conception of planning for resiliency as a goal for recovering communities, issues associated with planning for post-disaster recovery, and lessons from prior research and policy recommendations.

Chang, S. E. 2009. "Infrastructure resilience to disasters." The Bridge, National Academy of Engineering, 39(4), 36-41. Retrieved from

The author calls on engineers and social scientists to collaborate on designing resilient infrastructure systems. She also addresses impending challenges including interdependencies, multi-hazards, and sustainability.

National Research Council. 2012. Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press.

The book takes a broad look at improving national disaster resilience, including goals, baseline conditions, and performance metrics.

Peacock, W.G., H. Kunreuther, W.H. Hooke, S.L.Cutter, S.E. Chang, and P.R. Berke. 2008. "Toward a Resiliency and Vulnerability Observatory Network: RAVON." National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program. Retrieved from

The paper describes the concept for RAVON, or Resiliency and Vulnerability Observatory Network. RAVON was created with the goal of providing the research community, policy makers, and society with information to reduce the vulnerability associated with natural hazards and improve the resiliency of individuals and communities.

Ross, Tracey. 2013. "A Disaster in the Making: Addressing the Vulnerability of Low-Income Communities to Extreme Weather." Center for American Progress. Retrieved from

The author looks at how poverty exacerbates the impact of extreme weather events. Recommendations are offered in the categories of strengthening and increasing affordable housing, addressing environmental factors, and improving economic stability.

San Francisco, City and County of. 2012. City and County of San Francisco: Citywide Post-Disaster Resilience and Recovery Initiative. General Services Agency.

A program plan of more than 75 projects in nine focus areas aimed at improving the resiliency of San Francisco. Current projects include "convening the first known local Lifeline Council of major utilities to explore interdependencies and restoration strategies, a post-disaster governance project, a robust financial planning strategy, an enterprise risk management program, a community resilience initiative including small and medium-sized businesses, economic impact analysis, a long-term housing plan and coordination with regional and federal recovery efforts."

Topping, Kenneth, Harou Hayashi, William Siembieda, et al. 2010. "Building Local Capacity for Disaster Resilience." Journal of Disaster Research 5(2, 5).

A compilation of eight papers and one commentary about disaster resilience and sustainability. Resilience is defined through three steps — surviving disaster, retaining essential ways of life, and adapting to post-disaster opportunities. This "smart" resilience must be reached by both hard and soft strategies. Through a series of case studies around the world the authors come together to explain their experiences.

Van Zandt, Shannon, Walter Gillis Peacock, Dustin W. Henry, Himanshu Grover, Wesley E. Highfield, and Samuel D. Brody. 2012. "Mapping social vulnerability to enhance housing and neighborhood resilience." Housing Policy Debate 22(1), 29-55.

A study looking at the impact of social factors on coastal communities' ability to anticipate and recover from disasters. The researchers examined patterns of social vulnerability in Galveston, Texas, ahead of Hurricane Ike in 2008 and compared them to recovery outcomes.

Social and Public Health Issues

Alesch, Daniel J., James N. Holly, Elliott Mittler, and Robert Nagy. 2001. Organizations at Risk: What Happens when Small Businesses and Not-for-Profits Encounter Natural Disasters. First Year Technical Report of the Small Organizations Natural Hazards Project, Center for Organizational Studies, University of Wisconsin, Green Bay. Fairfax, Va.: Public Entity Risk Institute.

The report examines the impact of natural disasters on small businesses and nonprofit organizations, noting that most business owners have little to no comprehension of these effects. However, they have control over many of the variables that determine the success of the business or organization after the disaster. The authors also discuss managerial mitigation, the techniques used to reduce exposure and vulnerability through smart business practices.

Ashley, N.A., K.T. Valsaraj, and L.J. Thibodeaux. 2009. "Environmental effects to residential New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina: Indoor sediment as well as vapor-phase and aerosolized contaminants." In N.A. Ashley (Ed.), Atmospheric Aerosols (ACS Symposium Series ed., Vol. 1005, pp. 167-182). Retrieved from

The researchers look at the impact of indoor pollutants resulting from Hurricane Katrina. These pollutants acted as a direct exposure source to New Orleans's residents, first responders, and recovery personnel.

Ibes, Dorothy C. "Post-disaster parks: Prospects, problems, and prescriptions." Master's thesis, Texas State University–San Marcos, 2008. Retrieved from

This study examines parks that have been or are being developed on disaster sites, and looks at obstacles such as stakeholder conflicts, financial issues, and technical concerns. The aim of the study is to highlight the opportunities for post-disaster park making and encourage its inclusion in recovery plans.

National Research Council. 2007. Environmental Public Health Impacts of Disasters: Hurricane Katrina, Workshop Summary. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press.

This document summarizes the content of a workshop held by the Institute of Medicine's Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine on October 20, 2005. The workshop took a scientific perspective to the impacts of Hurricane Katrina on people's health. The report was intended for the public health, first responder, and scientific communities.

________. 2006. Facing Hazards and Disasters: Understanding Human Dimensions. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press.

Following social science (sociology) research from the 1970s, the book states that not enough is being done in the field of disasters. More study is needed on social vulnerabilities and their impact on human response to hazards. Over 30 recommendations are offered for the hazard and disaster community.

Reible, D. 2007. "Hurricane Katrina: Environmental hazards in the disaster area." Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research, 9(3), 53-68. Retrieved from

The author examines the concerns over environmental hazards in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. He concludes that ultimately the city's environmental problems were not significantly worse after the disaster, and discusses the successes and failures in responding to these concerns.

Reible, D.D., C.N. Haas, J.H. Pardue, and J.W. Walsh. 2006. "Toxic and contaminant concerns generated by Hurricane Katrina." The Bridge, National Academy of Engineering, 36(1), 5-13. Retrieved from

The authors summarize results from available data about toxics and contaminant exposure during and after flooding from Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. They attempt to utilize these findings to frame the rebuilding of the city.

Sheikh, P.A. 2005. The impact of Hurricane Katrina on biological resources. Congressional Research Service, The Library of Congress. Retrieved from

The report examines the effects of Hurricane Katrina and its associated winds and flooding on biological resources, including coastal ecosystems, freshwater and marine bodies, fisheries, and wildlife. It addresses how to quantify such impacts and how to restore resources after natural disaster.

Specific Disaster Types

Coastal Storms (includes hurricanes)

Beatley, Timothy. 2009. Planning for Coastal Resilience: Best Practices for Calamitous Times. Washington, D.C.: Island Press.

Hailed as a staple for any library in the coastal region (more than 50 percent of Americans live near some sort of coast), this book of best practices preaches resilience in coastal infrastructure. Beatley states that the primary planning principle for new developments should be resilience. He studies five coastal areas in the United States and supplies six "resilience profiles" from other communities and key solutions.

Cutter, S.L., and C.T. Emrich. 2006. "Moral Hazards, Social Catastrophe: The Changing Face of Vulnerability along the Hurricane Coasts." The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 604, No. 1, 102-112.

The authors look at social and geographic disparities in vulnerability to hurricanes. These differences necessitate varying strategies for mitigation, post-response, and recovery.

Deyle, Robert E., Timothy S. Chapin, and Earl J. Baker. 2008. "The Proof of the Planning Is in the Platting: An Evaluation of Florida's Hurricane Exposure Mitigation Planning Mandate." Journal of the American Planning Association 74(3): 349-370.

This article studies the 1985 Florida mandate that forced communities to create policies for two types of hurricane zones: coastal high hazard areas and hurricane vulnerability zones. Did municipalities follow these laws? The authors investigate and report on the success of Florida's local plans. They conclude that these mandates had only marginal effects on local municipalities, and that the residential exposure to hurricane flood hazards grew in the majority of 74 communities studied.


California Geological Survey (CGS) and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). 2008. The Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast, Version 2 (UCERF 2). Open File Report. 2007 Working Group on Earthquake Probabilities. Retrieved from

Assessments of the earthquake hazards in California, intended for the maintenance of appropriate building codes.

California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (OES) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). 1996. "Fact Sheet: Two-Year Anniversary, Northridge Earthquake Statistical Recap."

Kircher, Charles A., Hope A. Seligson, Jawhar Bouabid, and Guy C. Morrow. 2006. "When the Big One Strikes Again: Estimated Losses Due to a Repeat of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake." Earthquake Spectra 22, S297–S339.

The researchers use HAZUS technology to estimate building damage and losses from a repeat of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. The range of estimated fatalities is higher than in 1906, despite improvements in building codes and construction practices. This increase is due to the large growth of the region.

Olshansky, Robert, Laurie Johnson, and Kenneth Topping. 2005. Opportunity in Chaos: Rebuilding After the 1994 Northridge and 1995 Kobe Earthquakes.

A research study using the 1994 Northridge and 1995 Kobe earthquakes as a jumping-off point to think about the need for a recovery planning process following a potential catastrophic urban earthquake in the U.S. The authors looked at the planning and reconstruction decisions made after these earthquakes, including national, regional, and local recovery policies and programs.

Spangle, William E. 1986. "Pre-Earthquake Planning for Post-Earthquake Rebuilding (PEPPER)." The Journal of Environmental Sciences. 29:2, March-April, 49-54.

The Pre-Earthquake Planning for Post-Earthquake Rebuilding study was intended to consider whether it is possible to plan ahead of time for reconstruction following an earthquake. The researchers used Los Angeles as its investigation site, looking at availability of data on geologic and seismic hazards, political climate, and public support for urban planning.

Stover, Carl W., and Jerry L. Coffman. 1993. Seismicity of the United States, 1568-1989 (Revised). U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1527. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.

An overview of the macroseismic effects of the earthquakes measuring 4.5 or higher on the Richter scale in the U.S. between 1568 and 1989. The report includes brief narrative descriptions of the damaging effects of each earthquake.

William Spangle & Associates, Inc. 1991. Rebuilding After Earthquakes: Lessons from Planners.

William Spangle & Associates, Earth Science Associates, H. J. Degenkolb & Associates, George S. Duggar, and Norman Williams. 1980. Land Use Planning After Earthquakes. Retrieved from


Glassheim, Elliot, ed. 2002. Behind the Scenes: Leadership and Decision-making in a Natural Disaster. North Dakota Museum of Art.

Schultz, Jill. 2010. "The Road to Recovery." Planning. July, 30-33.

A chronological analysis of Cedar Rapids, Iowa's response to serious flooding and the community's recovery.

Shelby, Ashley. 2003. Red River Rising: The Anatomy of a Flood and the Survival of an American City. St. Paul, Minn.: Minnesota Historical Society Press.


Meck, Stuart, and James C. Schwab. 2005. Planning for Wildfires. Planning Advisory Service Report no. 529/530. Chicago: American Planning Association.

A report written in collaboration with the National Wildland/Urban Interface Fire Program, this is a great work to begin a discussion of wildfire prevention. The authors' research was split into two main areas: best practice examples and plan considerations for communities with wildfire hazards.


Lindell, Michael K., Zhenghong Tang, Carla S. Prater, et al. 2008. "Measuring Tsunami Planning Capacity on the U.S. Pacific Coast." Natural Hazards Review 9(2).

Focusing on tsunamis and their potential for forming in a variety of locations, the authors report that with effective hazard management plans, a tsunami's effects can be minimized. Many states currently have mandates for hurricanes or tornadoes; the states on the Pacific Coast need a planning framework and/or mandate for tsunamis. Forty-three coastal counties were considered as case studies where local plan quality was measured. The average score given to these communities was weak: 12.25 out of 50 points.


Frew, Suzanne, Laurie Johnson, and Laura Samant. 2005. Planning for the Unexpected. Planning Advisory Service Report no. 531. Chicago: American Planning Association.

A report funded by the Public Entity Risk Institute, this brings together the topics of environmental, capital, economic, social, and institutional risks. Using case studies from California, Florida, Maryland, and Minnesota, the authors give their risk management framework as a toolkit for evaluating your own hazard mitigation plan. A large part of this work is also dedicated to land-use planning and decision making.

Lindell, Michael K., and Carla S. Prater. 2003. "Assessing Community Impacts of Natural Disasters." Natural Hazards Review 4(4).

The authors produce a coherent framework for community impacts after natural disasters. They include not only financial and planning impacts but explore physical and social problems and how to reduce them. This article is a basic summary of hazard mitigation and emergency preparedness on inclusive communities.

Rubin, Claire B. 2009. Disaster Time Line (1988-2008).

A visual aid covering every major disaster from 1988 to 2008. Includes reports and documents, statutes, executive directive, national strategy plans and national level exercises, and other federal actions and organizational changes. The creator supplies readers with information about FEMA, along with a legend and glossary of disaster information. The timeline provides an introduction to disasters and federal policies.

Updated November 2014


On February 10–11, 2011, the American Planning Association hosted a scoping symposium in its Chicago office to explore a number of essential issues in guiding the Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery: Next Generation project as it moves forward. Invited participants focused on helping APA to define the appropriate audiences and central issues for the project, delineate the guiding principles in planning for post-disaster recovery, refine the outline for the PAS Report, and identify criteria for best practices and potential case examples to study.

Symposium Discussion

Symposium summary (pdf)

Defining the Audience

During the first discussion of the symposium, participants suggested the following potential audiences for the project or the final report:

  • Local planners
  • The emergency management community
  • Elected and appointed officials
  • The private sector (i.e., small business owners, community-based organizations, etc.)

Central Issues

During the next discussion of the symposium, participants offered the following issues as those that should be addressed by the project or the final report:

  • The key roles of planning in recovery
  • Lessons learned from the Disaster Mitigation and Stafford Acts
  • Opportunities for collaboration and cooperation between planners and emergency managers
  • The importance of broad-based community engagement
  • The effects of scale, diversity, power, psychology, and political interactions in recovery planning

Guiding Principles

After identifying central issues, participants discussed the following as guiding principles for the final report:

  • Traditional risk management
  • Strategic spending and investment
  • Inclusionary stakeholder involvement
  • Resilience and sustainability
  • Plan quality
  • Ongoing institutional maintenance

Structure of the Report

Next, participants offered the following reactions to the draft outline for the final report:

  • Make it clear that all communities are vulnerable.
  • Cover the dimensions of resiliency and the connection to sustainability.
  • Explore the process of defining successful recovery.
  • Discuss the "new normal" after recovery.
  • Include a cross-disciplinary glossary.
  • Include exercises for different audiences.

Best Practices Examples

In the final discussion of the symposium, participants suggested the following ideas, principles, and approaches that should be highlighted by specific case examples:

  • Avoiding disaster through pre-event planning
  • The utility of building moratoria
  • Different planning processes/approaches
  • The line between pre- and post-event
  • The cost in making readiness operational (in terms of dollars)
  • Pre-event planning with without a past disaster as an impetus
  • Examine organizational structures (centralized and decentralized)
  • Willingness to look again (openness to change)
  • Improved vertical integration
  • Roles played by faith-based groups
  • Cost-benefit analysis

Symposium Participants

APA and FEMA invited eight professionals, from various professional backgrounds, with extensive post-disaster recovery experience to participate in the scoping symposium.


David R. Godschalk, FAICP

David R. Godschalk, FAICP, is Stephen Baxter Professor Emeritus in the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, where he continues to maintain an active teaching and writing schedule. Godschalk has published 10 books on topics including growth management and land use planning, natural hazard mitigation and coastal management, and development dispute resolution and public participation.


J. Barry Hokanson, AICP

J. Barry Hokanson, AICP, has more than 45 years of urban planning experience with agencies in California, Texas, Kansas, Iowa, and Illinois, with responsibility for development regulations, building codes, transportation planning, strategic planning, community development, stormwater and floodplain management, decision support technology, facilities management systems, emergency response planning, and post-disaster recovery planning in both urban and suburban areas.


Laurie A. Johnson, AICP

Laurie A. Johnson, AICP, is Principal of Laurie Johnson Consulting and Research and a senior science advisor to Lexington and Chartis Insurance companies. She has over 20 years of experience in urban planning, catastrophe risk management, and disaster recovery management, and has consulted on or researched recovery following many major urban disasters including the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, 1994 Northridge earthquake, 1995 Kobe, Japan, earthquake, and 1997 Grand Forks, North Dakota, flood.


Gerald H. Jones

Gerald H. Jones has been an active participant in the building and construction industry since 1949 and is a Registered Professional Engineer in Kansas and Missouri. He has been a code official for Overland Park, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri. He has served as chairman or president of numerous organizations and councils including the National Institute of Building Sciences, the Building Seismic Safety Council, and the Multihazard Mitigation Council. He has been the recipient of many honors from organizations of his peers and from the cities he has served.


David L. Miller

David L. Miller was originally appointed Administrator of the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division by Governor Tom Vilsack in July 2004. He was reappointed by Governor Chet Culver in January 2007 and served in that capacity until January, 2011. Miller served as the Governor's Authorized Representative, Alternate Governor's Authorized Representative, or Alternate State Coordinating Officer in 27 President-declared disasters since 1990.


Gavin Smith

Gavin Smith is the Executive Director of the Center for the Study of Natural Hazards and Disasters (UNC Hazards Center) and the Department of Homeland Security's Center of Excellence — Disasters, Coastal Infrastructure, and Emergency Management (DIEM). In this role, Smith oversees the administration of the UNC Hazards Center including the identification of research opportunities, building partnerships among hazard scholars and practitioners, and managing additional research initiatives and sub-centers as they emerge.


Ken Topping, FAICP

Ken Topping, FAICP, is a lecturer with the City and Regional Planning Department of California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo, and project director of the State Hazard Mitigation Plan Revision Project prepared by Cal Poly for the California Emergency Management Agency. He is also president of Topping Associates International, an urban planning consulting firm, and a member of the San Luis Obispo County planning commission.


Lincoln N. Walther, FAICP

Lincoln N. Walther, FAICP, heads the Planning Division at CSA International (CSA). He has over 40 years of experience in community planning, hazard mitigation, and emergency management in Florida and Louisiana.  He has been involved in the development of local hazard mitigation plans since 1998 when Florida initiated its own local hazard mitigation plan program known as the Local Mitigation Strategy which was a precursor to the FEMA Local Hazard Mitigation Program the U.S. Congress established in 2000.

APA Team

William R. Klein, AICP
Kirstin Kuenzi
Joseph MacDonald, AICP
Timothy Mennel
David Morley, AICP
Rana Salzmann
Jim Schwab, AICP


Jennifer Burmester
Matt Campbell
Steve Castaner, AICP
Erin Miles
Roy Wright


Allison Boyd, AICP