NIST logo

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 after damaging events. 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) provides a practical and flexible approach to help communities improve their resilience by setting priorities and allocating resources to manage risks for their prevailing hazards. 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.


The six-step process helps communities to think through and plan for their social and economic needs, their particular hazard risks, and recovery of the build environment by:

• Setting performance goals for vital social functions -healthcare, education and public safety - and supporting buildings and infrastructure systems - transportation, energy, communications, and water and wastewater.

• Recognizing that the community's social and economic needs and functions should drive goal-setting for how the built environment performs.

• Providing a comprehensive method to align community priorities and resources with resilience goals.

A fictional community, Riverbend, illustrates the six-step process and how disaster resilience can be integrated into community planning. 

The first version of the Guide was released on October 29, 2015, and may be updated periodically as new best practices and research results become available and as communities gain experience using the guide and recommend improvements.












Bookmark and Share

NIST Planning Guide

Volume I describes the methodology and has an example illustrating the planning process for the fictional town of Riverbend, USA.

Community Resilience Planning Guide for Buildings and Infrastructure Systems - Volume I

Planning Guide Volume I Overview Presentation

Volume II has detailed informational chapters as a reference for Volume I.

Community Resilience Planning Guide for Buildings and Infrastructure Systems - Volume II

Planning Guide Volume II Overview Presentation 

Community Resilience Economic Decision Guide for Buildings and Infrastructure Systems

Planning Guide 12 Page Brochure:

4 Page Overview of the Planning Guide

Planning Guide 4 Page Brochure:


Planning Guide FAQ

Related Links:

NIST News Release on the Community Resilience Planning Guide

Department of Commerce Blog post on Small Business' Role in Community Resilience 

White House Blog on the Community Resilience Planning Guide

Department of Commerce News Release Announcing the Planning Guide 

Call to Action by Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker

Helping to Build a Nation of Resilient Communities

Older Links:

Planning Guide Informational Briefing:

Overview of the Draft Community Resilience Planning Guide and the six (6) steps for community resilience. Note: The overview does not reflect changes made in the final version of the Guide. Webcast    

Community Resilience Workshops

NIST held five workshops around the country to gather input while developing the Guide. See:

Commerce Blog

Coinciding with the April 2015 release of the Draft Community Resilience Planning Guide Dr. Willie E. May, Director of NIST, has discussed the importance of community resilience, providing background on the then-draft Planning Guide:




General Information: 
301-975-6051 Telephone 

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