SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 31 October 2019

Standardizing Community Resilience Planning and Assessment


Communities are complex socio-technical systems. To understand how communities can better respond to and recover from stressors and shocks such as natural, technical, or human-caused hazards, it is important to understand the social and economic priorities of the community and then to determine how buildings and infrastructure systems should perform in order to meet those priorities. When the anticipated performance of these systems for hazards is determined, gaps between desired performance and anticipated performance present opportunities to improve resilience. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Community Resilience Program develops guidance and tools to assist communities in developing plans to improve their resilience. The Community Resilience Planning Guide for Buildings and Infrastructure Systems (Guide), published in 2015, describes a six-step process that guides communities to develop resilience plans or incorporate resilience into existing long-term plans. A companion Community Resilience Economic Decision Guide for Buildings and Infrastructure Systems (EDG) and Economic Decision Guide Software (EDGe$) Tool allows evaluation of alternative approaches to increase community resilience by considering benefits and costs, including losses avoided and co-benefits. A number of communities have begun using the Guide, either following the process as described or as a reference to inform the incorporation of resilience concepts in other plans. NIST has had the opportunity to be involved with some of these implementations and to learn how the Guide is being used, how it relates to other planning processes, and how tools based on the Guide process can make resilience planning and implementation more accessible to a larger number of communities. This experience informs NIST research focused on development of science-based tools to measure community resilience and support decision-making. This paper describes the Guide process, what is being learned from its use, and identifies an opportunity for a standard based on the Guide process.

Author Information

Cauffman, Stephen, A.
National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, US
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Developed by Committee: E54
Pages: 132–142
DOI: 10.1520/STP161420180043
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-7674-4
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-7673-7