Planning resilient communities to confront climate change

Date: Thursday, May 23, 2019
Resilience: An ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.

Rising temperatures. More rain and extreme weather. Changes in wildlife, environment, foliage, and habitat. Longer allergy season.

The signs of climate change are all around us.

Resilience planning to confront, adapt to and mitigate climate change isn’t a requirement of local comprehensive planning. But thanks to technical assistance and a growing desire for collaboration across boundaries, Met Council officials say communities are including it their plan updates anyway.

Nearly half of community plans have resilience component

A worker in knee-deep water near a flooded road.“The Council provides resources and works with communities on their climate change planning initiatives,” said Eric Wojchik, a senior planner in the Community Development division. “We recommend that communities anticipate acute shocks and chronic stresses associated with climate change and plan as best they can to increase the resiliency of their infrastructure and residents to respond to potential impacts,” he said.

“Increasingly we see how extreme weather events and changing conditions strain public facilities and infrastructure and create environmental, societal and economic challenges,” said Wojchik. He emphasizes the importance of being able to adapt, respond, and thrive under changing circumstances.

“We estimate that nearly half the plans submitted for Met Council review so far have a resilience component that discusses ways to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change,” he said. “The plans have different areas of focus and take various approaches, but the intent is there—to assess their vulnerabilities and address them in some way.”

Communities take a variety of approaches to resiliency planning

Council staff offer technical assistance on a variety of topics related to resiliency and encourage communities to consider these approaches:

  • Enhance stormwater management

  • Mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and surface runoff

  • Develop a tree canopy portfolio, effective landscaping, and shoreland protections

  • Employ solar and other alternative energy sources

  • Promote efficient energy use and energy conservation

  • Foster community health, with healthy food and active living choices

  • Engage residents

  • Plan for growth away from known hazards

Resiliency includes all these things — planning for more severe weather and prolonged heat waves, for improved health of residents, and for economic strength and diversity.

Learn about resilience planning in these communities:

Posted In: Communities