ISC Regional Resilience Primer

In this report the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) summarizes their analysis of successful regional approaches to climate adaptation planning. The report features profiles of twelve regional climate change adaptation groups across the U.S. which describe the governance structures and formation process, accomplishments, challenges, and promising practices from each.

As climate change impacts do not obey human defined municipal or county borders, regional groups can join in climate adaptation planning and implementation in some circumstances more successfully than localized entities. Through their work with regional collaboratives, ISC has found that a “regional approach to resilience is one of the most effective tools at our disposal as we prepare for the future impacts of climate change. It allows for highly customized approaches to location-specific challenges, while simultaneously maintaining an economy of scale critical to conserving ever-diminishing resources.”

The Regional Profiles provided include:

  • The Bay Area Climate & Energy Resilience Project
  • New England Climate Leaders Collaborative
  • Los Angeles Regional Collaborative for Climate Action & Sustainability (LARC)
  • Metro-Boston
  • National Capital Region
  • P2R2 Northeast Florida
  • Puget Sound Regional Council
  • Sacramento – Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative
  • San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative
  • Sierra Nevada
  • Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact
  • The Twin Cities

Lessons from regional climate collaboratives are discussed in terms of networking and alignment, inclusive community engagement, formalizing for funding options, and more. ISC summarizes their findings and offers some key benefits and key challenges of working regionally on climate adaptation.

Key benefits include:

  • Coordination of Shared Ecosystem Services
  • Leveraged Local, State, and Federal Resources
  • Expanded Convening Power
  • Platforms for Mainstreaming
  • Increased Capacity (described as follows: Resources and expertise of larger, better-funded local governments and stakeholders can be shared with smaller outlying communities with much smaller tax bases. This, in turn, fosters stronger resilience networks that can better diffuse proven policy innovations and help people learn from neighboring jurisdictions’ experience.)

Key challenges include:

  • Defining Shared Value Propositions and Goals
  • Investing in Long-Term Strategies
  • Respecting Local Authority
  • Complexity and Scale

Publication Date: July 2015

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  • Best practice
  • Case study

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