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Community Resilience Planning Guide

Natural, technological, and human-caused hazards take a high toll on communities, but the costs in lives, livelihoods and quality of life can be reduced by better managing disaster risks. Planning and implementing prioritized measures can strengthen resilience and improve a community’s abilities to continue or restore vital services in a more timely way, and to build back better. That makes them better prepared for future events and more attractive to businesses and residents alike. The NIST Community Resilience Planning Guide for Buildings and Infrastructure Systems (Guide)* will provide a practical and flexible approach to help communities to better set priorities and allocate resources and reduce hazard risks by improving their resilience. Using the Guide, communities will be able to integrate resilience plans into their economic development, zoning, mitigation, and other local planning activities that impact buildings, public utilities and other infrastructure systems. Residents and businesses rely upon this “built environment” for important services.

The Guide aims to engage a broad range of community stakeholders and representatives in a series of six steps that include defining how vital social functions – such as healthcare, education and public safety - are supported by buildings and infrastructure systems. Those systems include transportation, energy, communications, and water and wastewater. The process is based on the assumption that the community’s social and economic needs and functions should drive goal-setting for how the built environment performs. Importantly, the Guide recognizes that most communities already are resource conscience when determining how to best invest in disaster-related actions – and provides a comprehensive method to align priorities and resource allocation with community resilience goals.

The Guide includes a planning scenario for the fictional community of Riverbend to show how the process can be used and how disaster resilience can be integrated into community planning.

After considering public comments and issuing a revised version of the Guide in the fall of 2015, NIST will convene a Panel representing the broad stakeholder community to further develop and refine the Guide and to improve related guidance.

Credit: NIST 

Draft Guide for Public Comment:

Revisions were made to earlier drafts in response to stakeholder comments. Volume I describes the methodology and has an appendix that illustrates the planning process for a fictional town; Volume II has detailed informational chapters as a reference for Volume I. The draft can be accessed at:

A public comment period on the Guide began April 27th and ended June 26th. Specific and general comments about the Guide are being reviewed and considered as the final version of the Guide is prepared. All public comments will be posted; personal, proprietary, or confidential information will not be included.

The official first version of the Guide will be released this fall and updated periodically as new best practices and research results become available and as communities gain experience using the guide and recommend improvements.


*The title has been renamed from "Community Disaster Resilience Framework" to better align this document with the National Preparedness Goal and to avoid confusion with the National Planning Frameworks.








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Additional Information

Planning Guide Informational Briefing

The document below provides an overview of the Draft Community Resilience Planning Guide and a brief walkthrough of the six (6) steps for community resilience the Guide presents. 

Planning Guide Informational Briefing

Recorded Webcast

For those who were unable to attend the April 27th release of the Draft Community Resilience Planning Guide, the video webcast of this event is available through the link below:

Commerce Blog

Coinciding with the release of the Draft Community Resilience Planning Guide Dr. Willie E. May, Director of NIST, has posted an update on the blog discussing the importance of the community resilience, providing background on the Community Resilience Planning Guide, and inviting the public to comment on the draft. The blog post can be found through the link below:


General Information: 
301-975-6051 Telephone 

Stephen Cauffman
100 Bureau Dr.
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8611