Climate Change Resources

Planners are essential leaders in addressing the challenge of climate change and resiliency. Planning is the only profession working at the intersection of transportation, development, and land use — the sectors most critical to climate mitigation and adaptation.

APA provides its members with information and resources to do their jobs effectively and advocatefor best planning practice. In January 2017, the Kresge Foundation recognized APA as one of nine urban-focused professional membership organizations for its efforts to educate members on climate change issues.

The following climate change resources are available from APA. See the Disaster Recovery Resources page for additional hazard mitigation information.

Climate Change Resources

Climate Change

Climate Change Policy Guide

This guide positions planners to advocate for the federal and state policies that will empower communities to plan for a safer, more resilient, and carbon-free future. (APA Policy Guide)

Climate Information in Local Planning

This guidebook focuses primarily on how communities can develop a framework of their own for mainstreaming climate information, science, and adaptation into their planning efforts. (APA Research)

Comprehensive Plan Standards for Sustaining Places

The Comprehensive Plan Standards for Sustaining Places provide a set of recommended planning practices to serve as a resource for the preparation of local comprehensive plans. (APA Research)

Federal Government Is Gearing Up for Climate Fight

The Biden administration wants the U.S. to achieve a 100 percent clean energy economy and net-zero emissions by 2050. What actions have they taken, and what else will it take to get there? (Planning, Winter 2021)

Climate Migrants Are on the Move

More than 13 million could be forced to relocate by the end of the century because of sea level rise, according to research conducted by Matthew Hauer, a sociology professor at Florida State University. The big question is, where will people go? (Planning, Winter 2021)

Climate Action and Transfer Development Rights

This issue makes the case for why communities should consider adding TDR to their climate action toolbox and explores 10 TDR programs in municipalities across the United States that have used TDR for both mitigating their greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to the impacts of climate change. (Zoning Practice, December 2020)

7 Ways to Plan a Stronger Climate Response

The authors argue there is room for improving climate action plans by adopting stronger goals, considering the full breadth of climate impacts, proposing multiple types of strategies, including marginalized populations in planning processes, coordinating with other planning efforts, and including implementation details. (APA Blog)

The Falling Dominos of Climate Change

Natural disasters aren't always one-off events. Cascading hazards require a different approach to resiliency. (Planning, August/September 2019)

Using Smart Growth to Adapt to Climate Change

Understand how development regulations that promote smart growth and green building principles can also help communities adapt to a changing climate. (Zoning Practice, February 2017)

Centering Equity and Climate Action in COVID-19 Recovery

Portland, Oregon's city council adopted a resolution that highlights the connections between equity, climate, and COVID-19 recovery. (APA podcast)

 

Broward County Climate Change Element

The Broward County Climate Change Element is a county-wide strategy to protect residents, businesses, and infrastructure from climate change impacts and promote energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reductions. (APA National Awards)


Energy

Energy Policy Guide

APA supports measures and policies to address the rising energy costs for homes, businesses, and transportation while enhancing our energy security as a nation and reducing dependency on foreign sources. Planning for energy and the impacts of energy generation enables greater economic freedom for all Americans. (APA Policy Guide)

Climate Change and Energy

This edition offers a primer on the relationships among energy, climate change, and planning. (PAS QuickNotes)

Planning and New Energy Climate Future

The project aimed to help planners incorporate energy and climate considerations into their work and assist communities and regions to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, transition to renewable energy, and adapt to a changing climate. (APA Research)

Listen to the report authors discuss energy and climate issues.

 

Planning for Solar Energy

Is your community ready to power up its solar energy plans? Start off right with help from this essential guide. Explore the range of solar technologies, their costs and benefits. Find advice on adding solar-friendly goals and policies to local plans. (PAS Report — available free)

Planning for Wind Energy

This report describes the benefits, debunks the myths, and provides point-by-point checklists for incorporating wind energy into planning and zoning. This practical guide will put wind power within reach for cities, counties, and regions across the United States. (PAS Report — available free)

Research KnowledgeBase Collections

Solar Energy

In this collection, search for resources that provide background or policy guidance on solar energy use, as well as examples of guides, plans, model codes, and regulations that encourage solar development. Filter results by various geographic and demographic. (KnowledgeBase Collection)

Wind Energy

In this collection, search for resources that provide background or policy guidance on wind energy use, as well as examples of plans and regulations that illustrate how cities and counties are supporting wind development. And you can filter these results by various geographic and demographic characteristics. (KnowledgeBase Collection)

New York State Offshore Wind Master Plan

With a goal of developing offshore wind in a manner that is sensitive to marine resources while addressing market barriers and aiming to lower costs, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) led the creation of the first offshore wind comprehensive master plan in the United States. (APA National Award)


Green Infrastructure

Green Infrastructure and Post Disaster Recovery

This briefing paper shows how green infrastructure plays an important role in preparation for and recovery from natural disasters. By incorporating green infrastructure into post-disaster recovery, communities can become more resilient to future disasters. (Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery Briefing Paper)

How Cities Use Parks for Climate Change Mangement

Parks are the first and best line of defense against local climate change. Urban parks cool and clean the air, improve and modify local wind circulations, and better regulate precipitation patterns. Well-vegetated parks mitigate the impact of the urban heat island and minimize local climate change. (City Parks Forum Briefing Paper)

Beyond Stormwater

Capturing the unrealized potential of green infrastructure systems to solve 21st century challenges. (Planning, August/September 2020)

Research KnowledgeBase Collections

Green Building

Green building encompasses a wide range of planning, design, and construction practices that seek to improve the environmental performance of buildings.

Green Stormwater Infrastructure

Green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) slows, reduces, or treats stormwater runoff with on-site vegetation or rainwater harvesting systems that use or mimic natural processes.

Integrated Water Resource Management

Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM), also known as One Water, is an approach to managing water that looks holistically at the planning and management of water supply, wastewater, and stormwater systems.

Rain Check 2.0 Opportunity Report

The Rain Check 2.0 plan in Buffalo, New York, expands equitable green infrastructure to manage runoff, improve waterways, increase resilience, and protect public health. It builds on the foundation of the city's previous stormwater management plan. (APA National Award)

Green City, Clean Waters: Philadelphia's 21st Century Green Stormwater Infrastructure Program

Hundreds of historic cities like Philadelphia experience combined sewer overflows during heavy rainstorms. In 2011, Philadelphia reached an agreement with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. EPA to explore a largely green stormwater management infrastructure plan to reduce sewage overflows. As a result, an ambitious and comprehensive attempt to overhaul stormwater infrastructure was developed. (APA National Award)


Hazard Mitigation and Adaptation

Hazard Mitigation Policy Guide

The policies embraced in the newly revised guide position planners to champion a new approach to hazard mitigation, adaptation, and recovery thinking centered on equity and established research for resiliency standards, man-made disasters, and natural disasters. (APA Policy Guide)

Planning for Infrastructure Resilience

This report offers planners guidance in helping their communities consider new climate and flood realities in the comprehensive and capital improvements planning processes. (PAS Report — available free)

Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery: Next Generation

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. (PAS Report)

Coastal Zone Management

Written by planners for planners, this report will help communities break the cycle of damage-rebuild-damage and find the sweet spot between environmental protection, economic rewards, and social equity. (PAS Report)

Research KnowledgeBase Collection

Environmentally Sensitive Areas

This Research KnowledgeBase collection catalogs resources that provide background, policy guidance, or examples of local plans and regulations aimed at protecting environmentally sensitive areas. (KnowledgeBase Collection)

Planning Information Exchange Webinars

In cooperation with the Association of State Floodplain Managers, APA is conducting a series of quarterly webinars for practitioners on hazard mitigation planning and its connections with recovery planning and preparedness. (Webinars)

When Climate Resiliency Is More Than an Afterthought

The effect of disaster is not experienced equally across communities. Research continues to demonstrate that wealthier households are more equipped to rebuild and relocate. But where does this leave low-income households? (APA Blog)

Simplifying Coastal Planning for Small Cities

Many coastal municipalities simply do not have the resources to examine the potential effects of climate change on their communities. Learn about the development and testing of one approach using off-the-shelf data sources and easily categorized scenarios to offer officials from small, coastal cities an array of possible futures and policy choices. (APA blog)


Additional Connections

APA offers opportunities to connect with peers working on addressing climate change.

Check out the Environment, Natural Resources, and Energy Division; Hazard Mitigation and Disaster Recovery Planning Division; Sustainable Communities Division; Water and Planning Network; or any of the other Divisions and Interest Groups available to APA members.