Completed: March 2020.
Funding: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Partner: American Planning Association.
Capital improvements are often the largest investments made by communities. In coastal communities, where capital improvements are being driven by growth and development as well as degradation by extreme weather events and climate hazards, capital improvement costs are even higher. Because capital improvements are planned, a tremendous opportunity exists to make coastal communities more resilient by informing capital improvement planning through techniques that incorporate information from extreme weather, climate hazards and changing ocean conditions. Furthermore, an effort must be made to relay these techniques from academic literature to actual practitioners, who are charged with developing and maintaining the standards and regulations within their communities. Without mainstreamed techniques, we will fail as a nation to make our coastal communities resilient.
The project goal was to determine and communicate techniques that increase community resiliency by incorporating information from extreme weather events, climate hazards, and changing ocean conditions into local or regional capital improvement plans. Initial research, analysis and technique development served as a foundation for the project. The identified techniques were shared with two coastal pilot communities: Chatham County and the City of Savannah on a saltwater coast and Lucas County and the City of Toledo on a freshwater coast. This served to ground truth the techniques and better understand the issues, costs, and opportunities associated with capital improvements planning and possible obstacles to mainstreaming these techniques.
Ultimately, the project sought to identify and develop tools that can be used on a local or regional scale by planning practitioners, so that they feel confident in considering and reviewing future climate data and meaningfully accounting for it in their capital infrastructure plans. Deliverables of the project included a Planning Advisory Service (PAS) report, training workshops in both Chatham County and Lucas County, and presentations on findings so that they may be widely distributed to all communities hoping to improve the capital infrastructure planning process.