The nation is making a major investment in hazard mitigation planning since adoption of the Federal Disaster Mitigation Act (DMA) of 2000. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funded a study that involved a collaborative partnership between University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Center for Sustainable Community Design and the DHS Coastal Hazards Center of Excellence. The study examined the factors motivating local jurisdictions to voluntarily adopt DMA plans, enact incentives/disincentives, and use federal funds to mitigate hazards resulting from the DMA plans. Mitigation includes avoidance of development in hazardous areas through land use planning, restoration and protection of ecosystem services that offer mitigation functions, and retrofit of infrastructure systems. The study entailed an examination of the variability of community mitigation efforts through indicators of the planning process that include civic engagement, local jurisdiction commitment to mitigation, availability, and quality of scientific information on vulnerability, strength of state mitigation plans and programs, severity of local risk, and prior disaster losses.

The documents and publications listed below contain many of the research findings and results from the study pertaining to local hazard mitigation planning. Visit the project website for publications and tools relating to state hazard mitigation planning.


Plan Integration fGuidebookor Resilience Scorecard Guidebook

Communities are often overwhelmed by their own plethora of plans, many of which are inconsistent and lack integration to effect increased resiliency. Now, communities have access to a collaborative spatial plan evaluation tool by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Coastal Resilience Center of Excellence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This guidebook seeks to address concerns of inconsistent plans, the National Research Council (NRC) recommended the development of this resilience scorecard in 2012. The Guidebook is available for download here.


Local Hazard Mitigation Planning

Berke, Philip, Gavin Smith, and Ward Lyles. 2012. “Planning for Resiliency: Evaluation of State Hazard Mitigation Plans under the Disaster Mitigation Act.” Natural Hazards Review 13, no. 2: 139-149. (PDFResearch Summary)

Berke, Philip, Lyles, Ward. 2013. “Public risks and the challenges to climate-change adaptation: A proposed framework for planning in the age of uncertainty.” Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research 15, (1): 181-208. (PDFResearch Summary)

Berke, Philip R., Ward Lyles, and Gavin Smith. 2014. “Impacts of federal and state hazard mitigation policies on local land use policy.” Journal of Planning Education and Research 34(1), 60-76. (PDFResearch Summary)

Lyles, Ward, Philip Berke, and Gavin Smith. 2014. “A Comparison of Local Hazard Mitigation Plan Quality in Six States, USA.”, Landscape and Urban Planning 122 (February): 89-99. (PDFResearch Summary)

Lyles, Ward, Philip Berke and Gavin Smith. 2014. “Do Planners Matter? Examining Factors Driving the Incorporation of Land Use Approaches into Hazard Mitigation Plans.” Journal of Environmental Planning and Management 57(5), 792-811. (PDFResearch Summary)

Lyles, Ward. 2015. “Using social network analysis to examine planner involvement in environmentally oriented planning processes led by non-planning professions.”Journal of Environmental Planning and Management 2 November 2015, 58(11):1961-1987. (PDFResearch Summary)

Smith, Gavin, Ward Lyles, and Philip Berke. 2013. “The Role of the State in Building Local Capacity and Commitment for Hazard Mitigation Planning”, International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters 31 (2): 178-203. (PDFResearch Summary)

Local Hazard Mitigation Plan Coding Instrument (PDF)