Adaptive Planning for Disaster Recovery and Resiliency: An Evaluation of 87 Local Recovery Plans in Eight States Academic Article uri icon


  • 2014 American Planning Association, Chicago, IL. Problem, research strategy and findings: A pre-disaster recovery plan that considers how a community should be redeveloped is a logical first step to support resiliency during high uncertainty and rapid change, yet limited attention has been given to recovery plans. In this study, we evaluate local disaster recovery planning in eight southeastern states and find that such planning receives limited public support: Less than one-third of vulnerable local jurisdictions had a recovery plan, and those plans received low plan quality scores. Unfunded state mandates produce weaker plans than plans in other states without mandates. We find that a collaborative network of stakeholders initially intent on reordering priorities results in stronger plans.Takeaway for practice: Local recovery planning should be designed to operate under conditions of high uncertainty. Local jurisdictions can choose plan design options that reflect how they build capability for recovery planning: 1) standalone community-wide recovery plan; 2) comprehensive land use plan; 3) emergency management plan; and 4) small area recovery plan. Because recovery planning lacks a public constituency, and is new to most local jurisdictions, the stand-alone community-wide recovery plan design option is the most effective at building local commitment. This option involves a plan-making process that concentrates time, effort, and resources focused on a building a network of stakeholders who likely have the greatest responsibility in rebuilding efforts because they care most about the impacts of a disaster.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 4.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Berke, P., Cooper, J., Aminto, M., Grabich, S., & Horney, J.

citation count

  • 73

complete list of authors

  • Berke, Philip||Cooper, John||Aminto, Meghan||Grabich, Shannon||Horney, Jennifer

publication date

  • January 2014