It’s rare that I come across a website that offers well-researched, applicable and timely information on the topic of post-disaster recovery. The American Planning Association’s (APA) Post-Disaster Recovery website, however, features up-to-date content that is worth spreading the word about. Accessing this type of information from APA usually requires a membership, but the good news is that all of these resources are free.
The main feature is a 200-page report dedicated to helping practitioners understand and implement post-disaster recovery planning efforts. Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery: Next Generation provides an elegant argument for why recovery planning is needed and how pre-event planning can matter. The report also unpacks federal legislation on disaster policy, addresses the state and local role in disaster recovery, and shares an in-depth look at different recovery planning topics (e.g., environmental restoration, land-use and reconstruction standards and housing recovery). The report is full of sound and practical planning advice, such as how to prioritize areas for redevelopment in the event of a disaster, or how to create special taxing and assessment districts to help fund recovery projects. There are also more than a dozen specific references to wildfire.
If the length of the full report sounds too daunting, the website also offers Post-Disaster Recovery Briefing Papers. These are succinct, downloadable PDFs that cover a range of topics, including: public engagement in recovery planning, measuring success in recovery, planning resilient infrastructure and more.
The real gem of the website is the Disaster Recovery Programs page. This page offers an up-to-date list of mitigation, recovery and response program information – including details such as the implementing agency and an overview of the program.
Each program is hyperlinked to the original source, making it easy to both scan for applicable information and quickly do more research on these grant and loan programs.
Other resources include a model pre-event recovery ordinance and case studies that share community planning lessons for recovery and long-term reconstruction after natural disasters. Regardless of whether you are a town planner, first responder or land manager, it’s worth taking a moment (or two) to peruse all of these resources, particularly the clearinghouse of programs available to assist communities with recovery.
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