Resiliency Planning

1 Resiliency Planning

Resiliency planning refers to the process of preparing and adapting to withstand and recover from various challenges, disruptions, or crises. It involves developing strategies and measures to enhance the ability of individuals, communities, organizations, and systems to effectively cope with and bounce back from adverse events. Resiliency planning encompasses a wide range of aspects, including risk assessment, vulnerability analysis, resource allocation, emergency response planning, and long-term recovery efforts. By identifying potential threats and vulnerabilities, establishing robust response mechanisms, and fostering collaboration among stakeholders, resiliency planning aims to build stronger, more adaptable, and sustainable systems that can withstand and thrive in the face of adversity.


  1. Define resiliency planning and its significance in addressing various challenges.
  2. Identify potential hazards and vulnerabilities in various contexts.
  3. Learn how to prioritize risks and vulnerabilities to guide resiliency planning efforts.
  4. Explore different strategies and approaches for building resiliency
  5. Understand the key steps involved in developing a resiliency plan
  6. Identify challenges and considerations in implementing resiliency plans.


Key Takeaway:

  • Resiliency planning is essential for addressing risks and vulnerabilities in various contexts. It involves building systems that are adaptable, flexible, diverse, and resourceful, thus enabling communities and organizations to withstand and recover from disruptions effectively. 
  • Risk assessment and vulnerability analysis are crucial steps in resiliency planning. They help identify potential hazards and vulnerabilities, prioritize them based on their impact and likelihood, and inform the development of strategies to mitigate risks and enhance resilience. 
  • Developing a resiliency plan requires a systematic approach, including setting goals and objectives, engaging stakeholders, assessing resources and capacities, prioritizing actions, and implementing and monitoring the plan. 

Understanding Resiliency Planning

Definition and concept of resiliency planning.

The difference between resilience and sustainability.

Resiliency planning, also known as resilience planning or disaster resilience planning, refers to a proactive and strategic approach to managing and adapting to potential risks, shocks, and disruptions. It involves assessing vulnerabilities and developing strategies to enhance the ability of individuals, communities, organizations, and systems to withstand, recover from, and thrive in the face of adverse events or changing circumstances.

The concept of resiliency planning recognizes that disasters, crises, and other challenges are inevitable and that the ability to bounce back and adapt is essential for sustainability and long-term success. Resiliency planning aims to reduce the negative impacts of disruptive events and to increase the capacity to recover quickly and effectively. It encompasses a range of strategies, policies, and actions that integrate resilience considerations into various domains, such as infrastructure, economy, environment, social systems, and governance.

Key elements of resiliency planning include:

  1. Risk assessment: Identifying and analyzing potential hazards, vulnerabilities, and risks to understand the potential impacts on communities, systems, or organizations.
  2. Preparedness: Developing plans, protocols, and resources to ensure readiness and effective response before, during, and after a disruptive event or crisis. This includes emergency response plans, communication strategies, and training exercises.
  3. Adaptive capacity: Building the ability to adapt and learn from experiences, adjusting strategies and systems to minimize future vulnerabilities and enhance resilience.
  4. Infrastructure and ecosystem resilience: Designing and maintaining physical infrastructure, such as buildings, transportation networks, and utilities, to withstand and recover from shocks. Additionally, preserving and restoring ecosystems that provide critical services and protect against natural hazards.
  5. Social resilience: Strengthening the social fabric of communities, fostering social cohesion, and addressing inequalities to ensure that individuals and groups have the resources and support they need during and after a crisis.
  6. Economic resilience: Promoting economic diversity, developing robust local economies, and supporting businesses to withstand shocks and maintain continuity.
  7. Governance and policy: Establishing effective governance structures, policies, regulations, and partnerships that facilitate coordination, collaboration, and decision-making to enhance resilience at various scales.

Resiliency planning is an iterative and ongoing process that requires collaboration among stakeholders, including government agencies, businesses, community organizations, and individuals. It aims to create more resilient and sustainable systems, promote risk reduction, and increase the capacity to adapt to future challenges.

Types of hazards and vulnerabilities

Natural hazards: Natural hazards are events or phenomena that occur naturally in the environment and have the potential to cause harm, damage, or loss. Some common types of natural hazards include:

  • Earthquakes: Sudden shaking or trembling of the ground caused by the movement of tectonic plates.
  • Floods: Overflow of water onto normally dry land, often caused by heavy rainfall, melting snow, or dam failure.
  • Hurricanes and tropical storms: Intense cyclonic storms with strong winds and heavy rain, typically forming over warm ocean waters.
  • Tsunamis: Large ocean waves generated by underwater disturbances, such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, or landslides.
  • Wildfires: Uncontrolled fires that spread across vegetation and forests, often exacerbated by dry weather conditions.
  • Landslides: Downward movement of a mass of soil, rock, or debris along a slope.
  • Droughts: Prolonged periods of significantly reduced rainfall, leading to water scarcity and agricultural impacts.

Technological hazards: Technological hazards arise from human activities, infrastructure, or technological systems. These hazards often result from accidents, malfunctions, or failures. Some examples of technological hazards include:

  • Industrial accidents: Chemical spills, explosions, or equipment failures in industrial facilities, such as factories, chemical plants, or nuclear power plants.
  • Transportation accidents: Accidents involving vehicles, such as train derailments, plane crashes, or hazardous material spills during transportation.
  • Infrastructure failure: Failures in critical infrastructure systems, including bridges, dams, power grids, communication networks, or water supply systems.
  • Cybersecurity breaches: Unauthorized access or disruption of computer networks, systems, or data, leading to potential economic, social, or security impacts.
  • Nuclear accidents: Accidents or malfunctions in nuclear power plants or facilities, resulting in the release of radioactive materials.

Social and economic vulnerabilities: Social and economic vulnerabilities encompass a range of conditions or factors that can increase the susceptibility of individuals, communities, or systems to harm or disruption. Some examples include:

  • Poverty and inequality: High levels of poverty, income disparities, and social inequality can limit access to resources, services, and opportunities, making communities more vulnerable to hazards.
  • Aging infrastructure: Deterioration or inadequate maintenance of infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, or buildings, can increase vulnerabilities to natural or technological hazards.
  • Social marginalization: Certain groups, such as marginalized communities, migrants, or indigenous populations, may face higher vulnerabilities due to limited access to resources, discrimination, or social exclusion.
  • Inadequate healthcare systems: Weak healthcare systems, lack of access to healthcare services, or limited capacity to respond to health crises can increase vulnerabilities during pandemics or other health emergencies.
  • Climate change impacts: Rising temperatures, sea-level rise, changing precipitation patterns, and other climate change impacts can exacerbate vulnerabilities, especially in areas prone to natural hazards.

Resiliency Planning Strategies and Implementation

Resiliency planning strategies

Mitigation: Mitigation strategies aim to reduce the risks and vulnerabilities associated with hazards. These strategies focus on proactive measures to prevent or minimize the impact of hazards. Some common mitigation strategies include:

  • Engineering measures: Implementing structural modifications or engineering solutions to improve the resilience of infrastructure, such as building earthquake-resistant structures or installing flood control systems.
  • Land-use planning: Implementing zoning regulations, building codes, and land-use policies to guide development away from high-risk areas or ensure that construction adheres to resilient standards.
  • Ecosystem-based approaches: Preserving and restoring natural ecosystems, such as wetlands or forests, that provide natural protection against hazards, such as flood control or storm surge mitigation.
  • Risk assessment and modeling: Conducting comprehensive risk assessments to identify high-risk areas and vulnerable populations, and using modeling techniques to analyze potential impacts and inform mitigation strategies.
  • Public awareness and education: Educating communities about hazards, vulnerabilities, and preparedness measures to promote risk reduction and resilience at the individual and community levels.

Preparedness: Preparedness strategies involve building capacity, planning, and implementing measures to effectively respond to emergencies or disasters. Key elements of preparedness include:

  • Emergency response planning: Developing emergency response plans, standard operating procedures, and communication protocols to ensure a coordinated and timely response during emergencies.
  • Early warning systems: Establishing systems to monitor and detect hazards, and disseminating timely and accurate warnings or alerts to the population, allowing for adequate preparation and evacuation, if necessary.
  • Training and capacity building: Providing training and capacity-building programs for emergency responders, community members, and relevant stakeholders to enhance their preparedness and response capabilities.
  • Stockpiling and logistics: Ensuring the availability and appropriate stockpiling of emergency supplies, equipment, and resources to support response efforts.
  • Continuity planning: Developing business continuity plans for critical sectors or organizations to minimize disruptions and facilitate a quick recovery.

Response: Response strategies focus on immediate actions taken during and immediately after a crisis or disaster. These strategies aim to protect lives, meet basic needs, and restore essential services. Key components of response include:

  • Emergency coordination and communication: Establishing coordination mechanisms, command centers, and communication networks to facilitate information sharing and collaboration among response agencies and stakeholders.
  • Search and rescue: Conducting search and rescue operations to locate and evacuate individuals in immediate danger or trapped in hazardous situations.
  • Medical and humanitarian assistance: Providing medical care, emergency relief, and humanitarian assistance to affected individuals and communities.
  • Temporary shelter and basic services: Establishing temporary shelters, providing access to safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, food, and other essential services for displaced populations.
  • Damage assessment: Conducting rapid assessments to evaluate the extent of damage, infrastructure needs, and the immediate priorities for recovery efforts.

Recovery: Recovery strategies aim to restore, rebuild, and improve systems and communities after a disruption. These strategies focus on long-term reconstruction, rehabilitation, and resilience building. Recovery strategies include:

  • Infrastructure repair and reconstruction: Restoring damaged infrastructure and buildings to pre-disaster or improved conditions, taking into account resilient design principles and incorporating lessons learned.
  • Economic recovery and livelihood restoration: Implementing programs and initiatives to revive local economies, support businesses, create employment opportunities, and restore livelihoods.
  • Social and psychological support: Providing counseling, mental health support, and social services to help individuals and communities recover emotionally and socially from the impacts of the disaster.
  • Community engagement and participation: Involving affected communities in the recovery planning and decision-making processes, ensuring their voices are heard and their needs are considered.
  • Resilience planning and implementation: Integrating resilience principles into long-term development plans, policies, and practices to enhance the overall resilience of the community or system.

Steps in developing a resiliency plan

Developing a resiliency plan involves several key steps to ensure a comprehensive and effective approach to enhancing resilience. The following steps outline the process:

1) Establishing goals and objectives:

  • Define the overarching goals and objectives of the resiliency plan. These should align with the specific context and desired outcomes.
  • Identify the scope of the plan, including the geographic area, sectors, or systems to be addressed.

2) Conducting stakeholder engagement and collaboration:

  • Identify and engage relevant stakeholders, including government agencies, community organizations, private sector entities, and community members.
  • Foster collaboration and participation to ensure diverse perspectives and expertise are incorporated into the planning process.
  • Seek input from stakeholders to understand their needs, concerns, and priorities related to resilience.

3) Assessing resources and capacities:

  • Conduct a comprehensive assessment of available resources, including financial, human, technical, and institutional capacities.
  • Identify existing policies, regulations, and plans that may influence or support resilience efforts.
  • Evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, and gaps in the current resources and capacities relevant to the plan.

4) Identifying and prioritizing actions:

  • Identify specific actions and measures to enhance resilience based on the goals and objectives of the plan.
  • Assess and prioritize the identified actions based on their potential impact, feasibility, and cost-effectiveness.
  • Consider both short-term and long-term actions, addressing various aspects such as infrastructure, community preparedness, governance, and policy changes.

5) Implementing and monitoring the plan:

  • Develop an implementation strategy, including a timeline, responsibilities, and coordination mechanisms.
  • Allocate resources, including funding and personnel, to support the implementation of the plan.
  • Establish monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to track the progress of plan implementation, measure the effectiveness of actions, and identify areas for improvement.
  • Regularly review and update the resiliency plan to adapt to changing conditions, emerging risks, and new opportunities.

Throughout the entire process, effective communication and collaboration among stakeholders are essential. Continuous engagement and feedback loops ensure that the resiliency plan reflects the needs and priorities of the community or system it aims to protect.

Check out Atlanta’s Resiliency Plan

Challenges and considerations in resiliency planning

Resiliency planning can be a complex and challenging process. Here are some common challenges and considerations that need to be addressed:

Limited resources and funding:

  • Resiliency planning often requires significant financial resources, which may be limited or not readily available.
  • Securing funding for long-term resilience projects can be challenging, as short-term priorities may take precedence.
  • It is important to explore alternative funding sources, leverage partnerships, and prioritize actions based on available resources.

Stakeholder coordination and cooperation:

  • Engaging and coordinating diverse stakeholders with varying interests, priorities, and levels of authority can be challenging.
  • Building consensus and fostering collaboration among stakeholders may require effective communication, trust-building, and shared decision-making processes.
  • Developing mechanisms for ongoing engagement and maintaining stakeholder involvement throughout the planning and implementation stages is crucial.

The video below talks about Miami’s resilience plan.

But not all residents are happy…

Balancing short-term and long-term goals:

  • Resiliency planning requires a balance between immediate response and long-term strategies for risk reduction and capacity building.
  • Addressing short-term needs while considering the long-term impacts of decisions is crucial for sustainable and effective resilience outcomes.
  • Balancing immediate actions and investments with longer-term planning can be challenging but is essential for achieving comprehensive resilience.

Addressing equity and social justice concerns:

  • Resiliency planning should ensure that vulnerable populations, disadvantaged communities, and marginalized groups are not disproportionately affected by hazards and disruptions.
  • Equity considerations should be integrated into the planning process to ensure fair distribution of resources and benefits.
  • Engagement with and input from marginalized communities is important to understand their specific needs, challenges, and priorities.

Other considerations in resiliency planning may include:

  • Data availability and quality for conducting risk assessments and developing evidence-based plans.
  • Uncertainty and changing nature of hazards, requiring adaptive and flexible approaches.
  • Building public awareness and support for resilience initiatives.
  • Coordinating resiliency planning efforts with existing policies, plans, and regulations.
  • Considering the potential trade-offs and unintended consequences of actions to ensure a holistic approach.

Five Facts About Resiliency Planning:

  • ✅ In 2017, natural disasters caused $306 billion in economic losses worldwide.
  • ✅ By 2050, it is estimated that 70% of the world’s population will live in cities, which are more vulnerable to natural disasters.
  • ✅ In 2018, the U.S. experienced 14 separate billion-dollar weather and climate disasters.
  • ✅ In 2020, the Atlantic hurricane season had a record-breaking 30 named storms.
  • ✅ According to a survey, 80% of businesses affected by a major disaster go out of business within three years.

FAQs about Resiliency Planning?

What is the primary goal of resiliency planning?

Resiliency planning aims to reduce risks and vulnerabilities in order to enhance the ability of communities and systems to withstand and recover from disruptions effectively.

What are some key components of a resilient system?

Components of a resilient system include redundancy and backup systems, flexibility and adaptability, diversity and interconnectivity, as well as resourcefulness and capacity building.

Why are risk assessment and vulnerability analysis important in resiliency planning?

Risk assessment and vulnerability analysis help identify potential hazards and vulnerabilities, prioritize them based on their impact and likelihood, and inform the development of strategies to mitigate risks and enhance resilience.

What are the four phases of resiliency planning strategies?

The four phases of resiliency planning strategies are mitigation (reducing risks and vulnerabilities), preparedness (building capacity and planning for emergencies), response (immediate actions during and after a crisis), and recovery (restoring and rebuilding after a disruption).

What are some challenges in resiliency planning?

Challenges in resiliency planning include limited resources and funding, stakeholder coordination and cooperation, balancing short-term and long-term goals, as well as addressing equity and social justice concerns.

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