Greauxing Resilience at Home — City of Norfolk, Virginia: PlaNorfolk 2030, Norfolk Vision 2100, and Resilience Zoning Updates

Norfolk, Virginia is a coastal city whose history, economy, and culture are deeply tied to its location on the water. Facing new challenges of increased flooding and sea-level rise due to climate change, Norfolk has responded by developing a host of planning and zoning initiatives that are informed by these new risks and designed to increase the city’s resilience against them. Norfolk’s efforts are an example of how various tools, including a comprehensive plan, a long-range plan, and an updated zoning ordinance, can be used together to build an integrated strategy for local resilience. 

Norfolk also serves as an example of adaptive planning, in which new needs and priorities that arise over time are integrated as appendices to the city’s comprehensive plan. For example, several appendices to Norfolk’s comprehensive plan were developed to assist developers with housing design challenges that were not addressed in the original comprehensive plan. 

Overall, Norfolk’s efforts show how developing a long-range strategy centered on the communities’ priorities can inform zoning rules that implement that vision. Other jurisdictions may look to Norfolk as an example of how local governments can orient and integrate planning and zoning initiatives toward increasing long-term resilience to the impacts of flooding.

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This case study is one of 24 case studies featured in a report written by the Georgetown Climate Center, Greauxing Resilience at Home: A Collection of Lessons and Case Studies from Louisiana and Beyond. These case studies describe best and emerging practices, tools, and examples from Louisiana and other U.S. jurisdictions to make progress on the complex and interrelated challenges of housing, flooding, and resilience. These case studies are intended to provide transferable lessons and ideas for regional and local governments addressing housing and mitigating flood risk as integrated parts of comprehensive community resilience strategies. Collectively, these case studies present a suite, although not an exhaustive list of tools and approaches that can be used to facilitate any of these efforts.

For additional case studies and more information about this work, also see Greauxing Resilience at Home: A Regional Vision.

Publication Date: June 16, 2022

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