Planning for a More Resilient Future: A Guide to Regional Approaches

This report argues that Regional Development Organizations (RDOs) are uniquely poised to support resilience planning by taking actions such as bridging governmental and functional boundaries, identifying funding opportunities, supporting planning, providing technical expertise, and helping to communicate key messages. It also makes the case that regional organizations have a pivotal role in rural landscapes where formal government capacity is weak. The report synthesizes the literature on resilience, describes the role of RDOs, and presents the latest developments around measuring resilience. 

In an effort to ensure that RDOs understand how the communities they serve define resilience, Chapter 2 provides an overview of the concept, definitions, and existing frameworks for applying a resilience lens. This chapter includes detailed discussions of key terms such as "shock" "capacity" and "impact."

An analysis of the distribution of disaster declarations across the United States is presented in Chapter 3 - noting that disasters do not respect jurisdictional boundaries, and do impact every state. It is noted that while disasters impact communities of all sizes, densely urbanized areas get more national attention. This presents a challenge for rural communities, who have fewer resources to support disaster mitigation, responding to events, and rebuilding. 

Another role for regional development organizations is to support business resilience and broader economic development strategies that build regional competitiveness.  Chapter 4 outlines the range of risks that businesses may face from natural disasters that disrupt supply chains and lifelines (water, electricity, sewer), and outlines how to understand economic resilience. 

The report concludes with a discussion of advancements in measuring resilience, describing eight different models regional developments may want to consider. 


Publication Date: 2015

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