Resiliency has become an increasingly important topic in community development in recent years, but what exactly does it mean? According to the Community and Resilience: The New Normal from NADO on Vimeo.
Regional Resilience Institute, the resilience of a community or an economy could be defined as “the capability to anticipate risk, limit impact, and bounce back rapidly through survival, adaptability, evolution, and growth in the face of turbulent change.” The federal Economic Development Administration (EDA) also defines economic resiliency as “the ability of an area to prevent, withstand, and quickly recover from major disturbances to its underlying economic base.”
Resiliency could simply be described as the ability to bounce back from a disaster or major event such as a natural/human-caused disaster, infrastructure failure, food/water/energy supply interruptions, an economic downturn, or future climate change. Ideally, a community will want to identify and prepare for these types of setbacks so they can bounce back even better! Some communities have already begun resiliency planning in the work they do, by trying to diversify their local economies to lessen their dependency on a single sector of their economy. Many other communities have planned for future disasters by developing hazard mitigation plans which help identify ways to reduce the impact of natural disasters on property, people and operations. Still others have begun looking at our changing climate and have identified ways to reduce their impact on the environment by implementing energy saving measures, waste reduction campaigns, and renewable energy projects. In addition, some are looking to prepare for new sectors of their local economies by supporting and attracting businesses related to renewable energy.
As mentioned above, resiliency activities can come in many different forms from simple to complex, from planning to projects, from economic to climate. Many communities across Minnesota have already begun work in this area and perhaps yours has too. Here are a just a few examples of ways your community can engage in resiliency work.
- Energy reduction – Convert indoor/outdoor lighting to LED
- Recycling – Promote and educate organic/food waste collection to residents about the importance of recycling and waste reduction to lessen landfilled material
- Alternative energy – Install EV charging station(s), solar panels, wind turbines, etc.
- Community planning – Incorporate resiliency into other community planning projects such as capital improvement planning, hazard mitigation or comprehensive planning. For example, a community could use MPCA funds to work with a consultant to advance climate resilience and readiness or perhaps work with an engineer to evaluate current stormwater collection capacity and look for ways to reduce potential localized flooding risks
- Community education and awareness – Partner with a local or regional organization to conduct public education events. Participate in the Minnesota GreenStep Program
Since this is a relatively new field in all of our work, we thought it may be helpful to share links to resources, partners, project examples, and funding sources as we all begin to think about incorporating this topic in our work. As our agency continues to expand its knowledge base and capacity in this area, we hope to partner with communities to plan and implement resiliency and sustainability projects in the future. In addition, we will continue to expand on this resource page as new programs, partners and funding sources come about. We hope you find this resource page useful and if your community has any questions or has a resiliency initiative or project you would like to discuss, please contact our office!
Resiliency, Sustainability, & Adaptation Defined:
The terminology can be confusing. Here are some definitions…
- Resiliency: Community resilience is the ability to prepare for anticipated hazards, adapt to changing conditions, and withstand and recover rapidly from disruptions. (Source: NIST)
- Sustainability: To create and maintain the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony to support present and future generations. (Source: EPA)
- Adaptation: The process of adjusting to actual or expected change and its effects or to take advantage of opporunities provided by a changing climate. (Source: European Commission)
- Region 5 RDC’s work on environmental/energy plans
- PaleBlueDot (Planning Consultant) examples
- City of Morris, MN
- West Central Initiative’s work on Climate Action Planning
- Region 9 RDC’s work on climate change/vulnerability/adaptation
- Region 9 RDC’s City of Madelia Economic Resiliency Plan
- Region 9 RDC’s South Central Minnesota Agriculture Resiliency Plan
- The City of Morris, MN has implemented several renewable energy or energy saving projects in recent years.
- CERTs awards seed grants to communities for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects across Minnesota.
- Design for Community Regeneration (D4CR) – Warren, MN – The purpose of this project was to imagine and plan a thriving and equitable future for the city of Warren. The website is a self-guided tour of the project, the schedule, and how the D4CR Team and the community worked together to complete Phase 1 of the project.
Funding and Partnerships
As attention to this issue continues to grow, so does the number of partners, available funding opportunities and incentives for resiliency planning and activities. In Minnesota, CERTs and the MPCA are two of the larger entities that work with communities and can provide funding, technical assistance, and other resources to help get started or implement projects.
- Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has programs available to provide funding assistance to communities interested in planning through their community planning grants for stormwater, wastewater, and community resilience. The MPCA also has information and resources for communities interested in climate adaptation and resiliency including examples of plans, reports, ordinances and other initiatives.
- Clean Energy Resource Teams or CERTs – has staff in seven regions across Minnesota and provides assistance to local governments, tribal organizations, utilities, schools, farmers, businesses/organizations, and underserved populations. CERTs provides free unbiased technical assistance, offers resources and limited funding to help get started and conducts public education events related to clean energy throughout Minnesota.
- Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BSWR) – provides a fairly comprehensive list of state and federal funding opportunities related to climate resiliency
- U of MN Institute on the Environment – supports research across disciplines, develops the next generation of global leaders and builds partnerships across the state, region and globe.
- Ampact – is a branch of AmeriCorps with a focus on education, environment and healthy futures. Ampact members can assist with community discussions, public education, and help with projects.
- Minnesota GreenStep Cities – is a voluntary challenge, assistance and recognition program to help cities achieve their sustainability and quality-of-life goals.
- Inflation Reduction Act – This recently passed piece of legislation includes several incentives for individuals, local governments, businesses and tribal organizations to save money and energy in the form of tax credits/rebates and grants to purchase or install energy efficient/renewable products and equipment. CERTs put together a great summary of available clean energy incentives from the IRA.
- FEMA Funding – Provides a comprehensive list of all FEMA funding sources, of which many are related to mitigation and resiliency associated with natural disasters.
- FEMA Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities or BRIC Program – Provides funding assistance to implement projects identified in local hazard mitigation plans.
- USDA Rural Development
Energy Programs – The USDA Rural Development offers funding to complete energy audits, provide renewable energy development assistance, make energy efficiency improvements and install renewable energy systems. Disaster Resiliency and Recovery Resources
- NADO Research Foundation/CEDS Central
- Climate Explorer
- CleanEnergy.gov – Information on energy savings, incentives, updates and opportunities related to the Inflation Reduction Act, including a guidebook to the inflation reduction act’s investments in clean energy and climate action
- Minnesota Pollution Control Agency or MPCA
- U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA)
Post-Disaster Economic Recovery Resources
- Headwaters Economics Neighborhoods at Risk tool
- Yale Climate Opinion Maps
- Community Building Resilience is a unique, “anywhere at any scale”, community-driven process, rich with information, experience, and dialogue, where participants identify top hazards, current strengths, challenges, and priority actions to improve community resilience for all hazards today, and in the future.
- Clean Energy Resource Teams or CERTs
- U of MN Resilient Communities Project
- American Planning Association
- EJ Screen – EPA’s Environmental Justice Screening and Mapping Tool
- Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool
- U.S. Department of Energy’s Disadvantaged Communities Reporter