Safer and Stronger Cities: Strategies for Advocating for Federal Resilience Policy

In March 2018, the 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) initiative released the "Safer and Stronger Cities" report with a series of policy recommendations on how the federal government could help support urban resilience initiatives. Five chapters focus on strategies for enhancing resilience through infrastructure, housing, economic development, and public safety. Each chapter provides a background discussion of the resilience challenges for cities; the opportunities to enhance resilience in these focal areas including climate adaptation strategies; and case study examples of local, state, and federal actions to advance resilience in each sector.

The report includes detailed discussions of the following policy recommendations:

Promote Safe and Resilient Infrastructure

  • Create a National Infrastructure Bank
  • Align cost-benefit analyses across federal programs and require consideration of future conditions
  • Cultivate partnerships between the Department of Defense and cities on adaptation of assets critical to national security
  • Develop metrics for evaluating infrastructure resilience
  • Improve coordination of grant-making and permitting during disaster recovery

Increase Safe and Healthy Housing

  • Expand the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit
  • Expand the Community Development Block Grant Program administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
  • Stabilize and strengthen the Pre-Disaster Mitigation program administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
  • Increase HUD's rental assistance demonstration program

 Support the Resilience of City Economies

  • Grow local economies through workforce training in resilience
  • Create an accelerator to support small business work in resilience
  • Engage the private sector in developing innovative solutions for social and economic problems facing low-income communities

Improve Public Safety and Justice

  • Support local law enforcement
  • Support public health approaches to reduce violence
  • Invest in evidence-based reforms that reduce crime and incarceration
  • Prioritize the successful community re-entry of formerly incarcerated persons
  • Support survivors of violent crime

Short case studies highlight efforts to enhance climate change resilience in U.S. cities, including:

  • Los Angeles, CA - the city funds a stormwater program designed to reduce stormwater runoff and improve water quality.
  • Boston, MA - completed a community energy study exploring opportunities to advance local energy generation, microgrids, battery storage and other resilient power systems.
  • Seattle, WA - the city is working to enhance the Elliott Bay Seawall to protect critical transportation routes and improve ecosystems.
  • Oahu, HI - Oahu partnered with the Army to construct a energy generating station partially powered by biofuels to enhance grid reliability.
  • Norfolk, VA - the city's "Lots of Opportunity" program is creating affordable housing on vacant properties.
  • Sacramento, CA - in the capital region of Sacramento, a local non-profit supported the Capital Region Business Resilience Initiative to help prepare businesses for disaster events and to support business continuity planning and preparedness.

This report accompanies a separate policy platform that was released with recommendations on how the federal government could enhance resilience through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) - Strengthening the National Flood Insurance Program - which was released in November 2017 to inform debate in Congress on potential NFIP reforms.

These policy recommendations were developed in coordination with chief resilience officers in 24 U.S. cities that are part of the 100RC network and through a convening of experts. The Georgetown Climate Center helped to craft these recommendations for the 100RC in partnership with Enterprise Community Partners, Climate Resilience Consulting, and HR&A Advisors.   


Publication Date: March 14, 2018

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