Climate Adaptation Planning Frameworks

Cliff Palace in Mesa Verde National Park (Credit: Varien 2006)

Cities have come and gone due to significant changes in weather patterns. Ancient tribes such as the Ancestral Puebloans in Mesa Verde are rumored to have abandoned their Cliff Palace due to significant changes in weather, particularly drought, making life there unsustainable.

The Ancestral Puebloans were forced to migrate away from their lands due to the normal climate cycle and weather patterns. Overtime, humans have become more resilient and adaptable to normal climate cycles and weather patterns. However, more recent human industrial activity is now directly impacting the climate, resulting in more rapid climate change and more severe weather events. This increase in intensity and severity of events are forcing us to think more closely about how we sustain our communities.

As we see an increasing amount significant weather events, the reality of a rapidly changing climate is becoming more apparent. To help prepare for climate change and its impacts, cities are actively working on developing adaptation plans. Some cities are receiving significant support from the Rockefeller Foundation with its 100 Resilient Cities program. Since 2013 the 100 Resilient Cities program has been adding cities. It added its last cohort in 2016. Participating in this program provides resources to the city to bring in a Chief Resilience Officer (CRO). The CRO leads the resilience strategy development and deployment effort. If you are not part of the program but want to build your city’s resilience, don’t fret, the 100 Resilient Cities program provides some resources to get started. Also, if you want some good examples of UScities taking action, check out the activity of Seattle, Nashville and Pittsburgh  in 2017. Pittsburgh is making the biggest splash with the actual release of its resilience strategy in March called ONEPGH.

Some other resources to consider are:


Published by

Gavin Dillingham

Program Director for Clean Energy Policy at HARC a sustainability research institute in The Woodlands, TX. Work on climate adaptation and investment strategies for resilient infrastructure.

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