Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery: Next Generation

PAS Report 576

By James Schwab, FAICP

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In 1998, the American Planning Association published the first guidebook for local planners confronting all types of natural disasters: flood, earthquake, tornado, wildfire, and hurricane. Now APA has issued a report with the latest policies and procedures.

The updated manual offers a no-nonsense explanation of the benefits — and limitations — of planning for unpredictable events. Case studies from big cities and smaller towns show what it takes to come back stronger from a natural disaster.

This report is available free to everyone.

Product Details

Page Count
Date Published
April 1, 2014
Adobe PDF
APA Planning Advisory Service

Table of Contents


Executive Summary

Chapter 1
The Vision of a Resilient Community
James C. Schwab
Vision of a Resilient Community: Where Next?
In This PAS Report

Chapter 2
Anticipating Disruption
J. Barry Hokanson and James C. Schwab
State Roles in Recovery Planning
Resilient Management
The Planner's Role
Plans for Recovery after Disaster

Chapter 3
Disaster Recovery Planning: Expectations Versus Reality
Kenneth C. Topping and James C. Schwab
Components of Disaster Management
How Pre-Event Planning Can Matter: Some Case Examples
The New Dynamics of Organizational Relationships
Where Anticipation and Reality Part Company
Understanding the Scale and Spectrum of Damages
Institutional Learning after Disasters

Chapter 4
The Federal Framework for Disaster Recovery
Kenneth C. Topping and James C. Schwab
Major Federal Legislation Defining Disaster Policy
Federal Disaster Administrative Directives
Evolution of Federal Administrative Policy
Caveat for Planners

Chapter 5
Long-Term Recovery Planning: Goals and Policies
Allison Boyd
Policy Areas of Long-Term Recovery Planning
Land-Use and Reconstruction Standards
Infrastructure and Transportation Restoration 
Housing Recovery
Economic Redevelopment 
Environmental Restoration
Health and Social Recovery

Chapter 6
Long-Term Recovery Planning: The Process of Planning
Laurie A. Johnson
The Recovery Planning Process 
Planning Before Disaster Strikes
Planning After Disaster Strikes
Ensuring Recovery Planning Buy-in and Adoption
Making It All Work Together

Chapter 7
Plan Implementation: The Long, Hard Road of Recovery
Laurie A. Johnson
Gearing Up for Implementation 
Managing Recovery Implementation
Financing Recovery
Key Sources of Disaster Recovery Funds
Implementation Strategies, Milestones, and Timetables
Legal Considerations in Recovery Implementation
Metrics of Recovery: Measuring Success

Chapter 8
Next Steps in Creating Resilient Communities
James C. Schwab
Adaptive Thinking
Sustainability: The Future of Planning for Resilience
Environmental Change
Community Vitality
Bringing It All Together


Appendix A
Model Pre-Event Recovery Ordinance
Kenneth C. Topping

Appendix B
Disaster Laws, Emergency Provisions, and Federal Disaster Management Administrative Directives