The Office of Planning, Development and Community Infrastructure works with communities to increase their resilience to climate change impacts, particularly coastal flooding. The Office employs key resilience principles that help communities understand their vulnerabilities, advance resilience measures that reduce risk, including through the use of natural infrastructure and natural processes, and avoid investments that are not highly adapted to a changing climate. The Office provides this assistance in ways that also acknowledge the added stress on communities from development pressures and broader socioeconomic forces.
Sea level rise, changes in water levels, and more frequent intense storms associated with climate change increase the vulnerability of communities already at risk from flooding and storm surge. Understanding physical risk and identifying the assets at risk and which have high community value helps a community manage future risks and avoid consequential (or unacceptable) impacts.
Proactive planning can help avoid and reduce the negative impacts of climate change, accounting for a range of future climate scenarios and community choices while also identifying and taking advantage of the potential benefits. The Office advocates for an inclusive process that is accessible to all members of the community and leads to decisions that are widely-supported and achievable.
Risk reduction measures encompass a variety of non-structural, soft-structural, and structural techniques, including avoidance of current and projected hazards through improved land use. An adaptive implementation process incorporates flexibility into long-term risk management by allowing for changes in community priorities, available information, and the nature of the risk.
Resilience is the capacity for a community and its ecosystem to withstand extreme events and other forces or risks; quickly recover the interconnected social, economic and ecological systems’ structure and function in the aftermath of a disaster; and develop ongoing adaptability to rapidly changing environmental conditions and forces.