Data, Information, and Tools Needed for Community Resilience Planning and Decision-Making

Data Needs for Resilience Planning and Decision-Making was a workshop coordinated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Center for Risk-Based Community Resilience Planning in October 2018 for adaptation, resilience, and planning practitioners. The workshop focused on current approaches and the gaps in data, tools, and information collection needs to support the planning, decision-making, and implementation of community resilience strategies. This report describes the workshop findings, the current processes resilience leaders follow in developing and implementing resilience plans, and identifies gaps and needs in accessibility to data and tools.

Overall, the workshop found broad agreement on the need for resources that help communities to:

  • Evaluate resilience before and after natural hazard events
  • Communicate risk and planning efforts with stakeholders
  • Identify funding opportunities and economic benefits and costs of implementing resilience strategies

Key Findings

1. Communities seek practical approaches and methods to develop resilience plans, communicate with stakeholders, and track progress

Workshop participants expressed that community officials who take the lead on developing resilience plans are responsible for understanding the effects of natural hazards on the community’s social, economic, physical, and natural systems, and that effective, science-based tools and data necessary for evaluating these effects are often hard to come by. Practitioners named a desire for a core set of indicators and metrics to evaluate community systems before and after a natural hazard event, to provide a scientifically sound process for evaluating and improving resilience. Additionally, there remains a need in the resilience field for training that helps leaders communicate climate risks and benefits of resilience planning in order to build community support for adopting and implementing resilience strategies.

2. Development of resilience data standards would improve the accessibility of data and tool development for communities, practitioners, and researchers

One of the key findings of the workshop was the broad agreement that standardized resilience data, indicators, and analytical tools across the field would improve the accessibility of these resources for communities, practitioners, and researchers. Currently, many community and resilience leaders face the resource-intensive burden of adapting and integrating external data sources for their community’s own unique needs. Many communities are already strapped for resources, capacity, and technical expertise, so analytical tools that help communities harness and apply existing data would be valuable to those working to develop and implement scientifically sound resilience strategies. The report also indicates that collaboration between end-users and developers in the creation of these tools would increase the effectiveness of these tools.

3. Advancing plan implementation requires identifying optimal funding opportunities and evaluating the economic benefits and costs of resilience projects

Even after resilience plans are completed, communities face challenges associated with implementing the plan, especially in securing funding for projects and justifying the cost of implementing adaptation and resilience strategies. Participants identified a need for easy access to information on funding opportunities, as well as standard methods for resilience project cost-benefits analyses and user-friendly economic decision support tools.

The report concludes by offering potential next steps for addressing these gaps and needs, and developing the tools needed by community resilience leaders. These next steps include collaboration between governments, organizations, and communities.

Graphic listing the chapters of the report: Community Resilience Goals and Metrics (Chapter 2); Data and Information (Chapter 3); Community Resilience and Tools (Chapter 4); Community Resilience Planning (Chapter 5); Funding Sources and Economic Decision Support (Chapter 6); Communication with Stakeholders (Chapter 7)

Publication Date: September 2019

Authors or Affiliated Users:

  • Therese McAllister
  • Christopher Clavin
  • Bruce Ellingwood
  • John van de Lindt
  • David Mizzen
  • Francis Lavelle

Related Organizations:

  • National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST)


  • Information technology

Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Engagement

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