Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Colorado's Dept. of Local Affairs releases ground-breaking report on planning for hazards and community resilience

The Colorado Department of Local Affairs has just released what I believe is one of the best new tools out there for thinking through planning for natural hazards and resilience issues.  The report, Planning for Hazards:  Land Use Solutions for Colorado, is available in both a hard-copy and web-based format.  Here is the overview:

Planning for Hazards: Land Use Solutions for Colorado enables counties and municipalities to prepare for and mitigate multiple hazards by integrating resilience and hazard mitigation principles into plans, codes, and standards related to land use and the built environment. This guide provides detailed, Colorado-specific information about how to assess a community’s risk level to hazards and how to implement numerous land use planning tools and strategies for reducing a community’s risk. Hazards are occurring more frequently in Colorado, and with greater severity. Experts believe this trend will continue; therefore, this guide helps Colorado to be more resilient and able to protect its residents and property from the devastating impacts of natural and human-caused hazards. This guide provides detailed descriptions of a range of land use planning mechanisms that can be used to reduce risk to hazards. The Colorado Department of Local Affairs led the development of this guide, working with an Advisory Committee comprised of representatives from state and federal agencies, local government, and other subject-matter experts in hazard mitigation and land use planning. The Advisory Committee met three times throughout the course of the project and provided guidance and valuable input at critical milestones, identified key resources, and reviewed interim deliverables. The result is this guide that includes information from Colorado’s leading experts on the subject, and represents varying community sizes, locations, and values.

Perhaps the real value of this guide at this time is that it provides a workable framework for those tasked with application of resilience strategies while also providing a big picture framework that offers a way to think through the reasons why these tools are important.  I imagine that this guide--excellent now--will only get better with future iterations.

View the full website here.

View the report as a pdf here.

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