Partnerships for Resilience and Empowered Planning (PREP): Community Resilience Planning Handbook

The Community Resilience Planning Handbook offers the building blocks for creating individual Community Resilience Plans by providing resources and best practices for resilience planning. The handbook is designed to help communities assess their vulnerability to climate change, evaluate social sensitivity and risks, determine current adaptive strengths, engage in scenario planning around identified vulnerabilities, and prioritize vulnerability focus areas for resource allocation.

The following 5 steps and related actions are each described in much greater detail in the guide:

Step One: Identify the problem and build a team

- Defining the problem, stressors and impacts

- Framing the climate issue: In addition to climate variability and extreme weather, businesses and communities must also deal with the effects from other non-climate stressors, which may include economic changes, social issues, land use, the availability of natural resources, etc.

- Utilize the tools you have

- Garner support and build a team: Understanding the different stakeholder perspectives is crucial towards recognizing how all the players can contribute to the solutions.

Step Two: Assess your vulnerabilities

- Climate Sensitivity: Identify community assets likely to be exposed to hazards and impacts with qualitative and quantitative data to inform your asset inventory.

- Adaptive Capacity: Identify the ability for resources to accommodate these impacts with minimal disruption to their functions

- Understanding Cause and Effect: The stressors, climate and non-climate, and resources or services that are affected should be identified by understanding the cause and effect relationships of impacts from climate change and extreme weather.

Step Three: Investigate options to reduce vulnerability and build resilience

Options can be categorized into the following categories, according to how they reduce vulnerability:

  • Reducing exposure
  • Reducing sensitivity
  • Increasing adaptive capacity

Step Four: Evaluate and choose the best options
- Feasibility and co-benefits
- Evaluating risk
- Focus on vulnerable populations and areas at most risk
- Prioritizing actions (considering probability ranges and multiple scenarios for ex.)

Step Five: Take Action!
- Implementing the decision
- Monitor outcome and effectiveness

The 5 steps and results are outlined in the Resilience Case Study: Reducing the impact of heavy rain events in Asheville, North Carolina.


PREP is an initiative of the Southeast Sustainability Directors’ Network in collaboration with the Urban Sustainability Directors’ Network, the National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center and the University of Arkansas.





Publication Date: 2015

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  • Planning guides

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