Promising Practices in Climate Adaptation and Resilience: A Guide for Local Leaders

This Resource Guide was developed by the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC), in partnership with the Center for Clean Air Policy, to represent a synthesis of the best available information about the ways in which experts across the country are working to address climate challenges in their communities. The guide is intended to help practitioners in cities and metropolitan regions resolve local issues, by showcasing promising practices in climate adaptation and resilience with detailed case studies, and by providing access to some of the very best resources that are available.

To better understand the state of climate adaptation practice in cities, ISC’s Climate Leadership Academy (CLA) team consulted with several nationally-recognized organizations and nearly 50 practitioners from the 16 U.S. cities participating in a CLA workshop. These practitioners included sustainability directors, energy managers, urban and economic development planners, water resource and public works managers, and public health and safety officials - who provided insights in both strengthening and the common challenges of building climate resilience at the local scale.

Case studies of climate adaptation planning on the local level constitute the bulk of this report.  The case studies fall within four thematic groups:

  • models of adaptation planning,
  • bolstering resilience by integrating adaptation into local planning and operations,
  • maintaining a commitment to adaptation, and
  • cross-jurisdictional collaboration.

The case studies profile the processes for, and successes from utilizing adaptive strategies in Chicago, New York, Seattle, Toronto, London and more. The guide also provides resource lists by topic with links to pertinent resources on climate resilience, adaptation planning, climate risks and adaptation, as well as developing a commitment on adaptation.

The Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) helps U.S. cities to assess, prioritize, and confront the local impacts of global climate disruption - especially among vulnerable populations - such as strained water supplies and overtaxed drainage systems, increased air pollution, degraded ecosystems, and extreme weather events.

Publication Date: 2010

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  • Planning guides

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