City Action on Resilience

At-a-glance

  • Cities often face multiple risks from climate change, and must make planning decisions despite uncertainty in climate projections.
  • Resilience planning is highly localized, and no two towns will have identical resilience strategies.
  • Some communities develop separate climate resilience plans while others incorporate climate resilience into broader risk reduction strategies.

Communities are addressing a growing range of challenges related to climate change. These can be new challenges like sea-level rise or existing conditions exacerbated by climate change, like flooding or drought.

To be effective, local resilience efforts must build the capacity of the entire community – including individual residents, neighborhoods, businesses, city planners and first responders – to cope with both chronic stresses like increasing temperatures and acute shocks like extreme weather events. Under the resilience umbrella, cities are upgrading roads, improving neighborhood cohesion, changing transit routes, and updating building codes. Resilience is not new for most cities; it is an ongoing effort to align city functions and resources in ways that benefits residents, businesses, and the environment today and in the future.

Cities often face multiple risks from climate change, and must make planning decisions despite uncertainty in climate projections.

Cities across the United States have begun to plan for climate change taking steps to improve resilience. Cities have developed resilience plans, like Pittsburgh’s Resilience Strategy while others have inserted resilience planning into master plans (e.g. Keene, New Hampshire) and hazard mitigation plans (e.g. Baltimore and Lewes, Del.). New Orleans developed a resilience strategy that includes new design standards for public works, an updated zoning ordinance, and resilience outcomes embedded within the city’s budgeting process.

Businesses similarly seek to build the capacity of their facilities, operations and supply and distribution chains to withstand long-term and short-term climate impacts. City governments and businesses can work together to strengthen climate resilience and protect their citizens, customers and employees.

C2ES facilitates business and community collaboration on climate resilience planning because it helps state and local officials better tailor their resilience efforts and promotes important synergies in resilience planning.