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Post-Disaster Redevelopment Planning


post-disaster redevelopment Long-term recovery after a disaster is always challenging, even if a community has planned for a worst-case scenario; however, by proactively creating a process to make smart post-disaster decisions and prepare for recovery needs, the community can do more than simply react. A disaster, while tragic, can also create opportunity. With a Post-Disaster Redevelopment Plan, a local government has a better chance of moving the community farther down the road to resiliency. Post-Disaster Redevelopment Planning enables communities to integrate and advance their previous planning efforts to achieve a more sustainable and resilient community after a disaster.

The Plan identifies policies, operational strategies, and roles and responsibilities for implementation that will guide decisions that affect long-term recovery and redevelopment of the community after a disaster. It emphasizes seizing opportunities for hazard mitigation and community improvement consistent with the goals of the local comprehensive plan and with full participation of the citizens. Recovery topics addressed include sustainable land use, housing repair and reconstruction, business resumption and economic redevelopment, infrastructure restoration and mitigation, long-term health and social services support, environmental restoration, financial considerations, and short-term recovery actions that affect long-term redevelopment as well as other long-term recovery issues identified by the community.


The Florida Post-Disaster Redevelopment Planning Initiative is sponsored by the Florida Division of Emergency Management, the Florida Division of Community Development, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection with funding through grants from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The purpose of the Initiative is to develop a planning process that will encourage vulnerable communities to undertake the preparation needed to ensure long-term sustainability and guide them through pre-disaster planning and post- disaster implementation. The Initiative has included researching redevelopment lessons learned during previous disasters, applying this research during the drafting of a long-term post-disaster redevelopment planning process, and testing the planning process through a series of pilot projects. This Guidebook, created to assist communities in developing a Post-Disaster Redevelopment Plan, is the culmination of all efforts associated with this Initiative.

Post-Disaster Redevelopment Planning Guidebook


There are significant benefits for developing a Post Disaster Recovery Plan. Having a PDRP is key to a faster and more efficient recovery. Creating a process to make smart post-disaster decisions and prepare for long-term recovery requirements enables a community to do more than react, prompting post disaster action rather than time-consuming debate. By identifying appropriate planning mechanisms, financial assistance, and agency roles and responsibilities beforehand, a community begins the road to recovery more quickly.

Having a PDRP also allows for the opportunity to rebuild communities better than they were before.  Without a guiding vision, short-term decisions may inadvertently restrict long-term, sustainable redevelopment and overlook opportunities to surpass the status quo. A PDRP strengthens the recovery process, and communities benefit from assessing their risk levels and crafting a long-term redevelopment plan under non-disaster conditions.

Developing a PDRP provides local government officials, residents, and businesses the opportunity to determine long-term redevelopment goals and develop policies and procedures that will guide redevelopment. While outside resources are needed and welcomed in a major or catastrophic disaster, a locally developed Plan will best channel those resources to effectively meet the community’s specific needs and goals.

Key Ingredients

As with any planning initiative, there are a few key ingredients needed for ultimate success. Multiple levels of leadership are important for the Plan, especially if developing one that is multi-jurisdictional. Support for the Plan from all community leaders who may potentially be involved in disaster recovery is necessary to ensure successful implementation.

Hand in hand with leadership is the need for broad participation. Like comprehensive planning, the PDRP can only be successful with input from the community for which it is designed. Participation from the stakeholders and general public is vital during Plan development as well as during the implementation phases and Plan updates.

For the PDRP to guide holistic disaster redevelopment following a major or catastrophic disaster, it needs to be a long-standing commitment, kept up-to-date and regularly exercised. Funding and political support will be necessary to develop and maintain this planning effort.


Since the Post-Disaster Redevelopment Planning Initiative began in 2007, numerous resources have been created to assist communities in the development of their own Plans.  The following guidance and resources were developed based on assistance from an expert panel of Stakeholders from the local, state and federal levels as well as our Pilot Communities and Project Team.


For further information or questions, please contact the Post-Disaster Redevelopment Plan Project Manager.

August 19, 2011 16:33


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