New York State Climate Smart Communities: Climate Smart Resiliency Planning Evaluation Tool

Climate Smart Resiliency Planning is a non-regulatory self-assessment tool developed for local government decision makers in New York State to identify opportunities in municipal planning for climate change resilience. The tool is formatted as a “yes/no” questionnaire for local planners and managers to assess a community’s current plans, climate hazard risks, disaster preparedness, and public engagement. Results can be used to inform the development of integrated planning documents that incorporate adaptation strategies to address a community’s vulnerability to climate impacts such as flooding, storm surge, sea level rise, extreme heat, and drought.

The questionnaire is organized into six sections - the steps in climate resilience planning: 

  1. Preparing for the Assessment
  2. Vulnerability and Risk Assessments
  3. Public Engagement
  4. Planning Integration
  5. Emergency Preparedness and Recovery
  6. Hazard Mitigation and Implementation

According to the report, the “tool will be most useful to a team, led by a knowledgeable facilitator, to identify the planning documents that already exist, necessary modifications, and missing plans that municipal officials should complete.” The questionnaires for each adaptation planning category can indicate potential gaps in local government adaptation planning, and can highlight planning priority areas.

Examples of the questions that comprise this self-assessment include, among many others:

  • Have adaptation strategies been evaluated and prioritized?
  • Does the community provide the public with information on the natural and beneficial functions of floodplains, wetlands, and green infrastructure?
  • Does the community employ multilingual and culturally sensitive approaches while providing residents with essential information?
  • Does the municipal comprehensive plan identify resilience within its mission, vision, or goals?
  • Does the stormwater management plan include green infrastructure and low-impact development regulations to decrease runoff?
  • Has the community developed a coastal resilience plan?
  • Has the community created a climate action plan that includes an adaptation plan within it?
  • Has the community proposed the relocation of public buildings, critical facilities or infrastructure out of flood hazard areas as a result of the multi-hazard mitigation plan or other planning tools?
  • Does the community have regulations, policies, or plans for shoreline protection?

Users are encouraged to explore several sea level rise tools, such as NOAA’s Sea Level Rise Viewer and Coastal Flood Exposure Mapper, to help with local and regional planning efforts. Hyperlinks incorporated throughout the questionnaire offer further resources for tools, training, regulations, manuals, and best management practices. Additionally, to support a community’s adaptation planning following completion of this self-assessment, the Resources section provides links related to maps, models, funding, hazard planning, risk assessment, outreach, and shoreline protection resources.

This planning tool uses information from the 2014 Update to NYSERDA's (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority) 2011 ClimAID adaptation report.  


Publication Date: October 2014

Related Organizations:

  • New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Planning guides
  • Tool (general)

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