Hazard mitigation and economic development activities—both critical to the long-term prosperity of regions and communities across the country—are often conducted separately. As a result, hazard mitigation plans and economic development strategies can be disconnected, making it difficult to ensure that businesses and regional economies are prepared for natural disasters and able to recover quickly. However, history has shown that a region’s success is inherently linked to its economic resilience—in other words, its ability to anticipate, withstand, and bounce back from any shocks to its businesses and overall economy, whether those stem from natural hazards, climate change, or shifting economic or market conditions. Considering hazard mitigation and economic development planning as interrelated processes is a necessary step toward building economic resilience.
This report summarizes the findings from a technical assistance project conducted by the NADO Research Foundation and the University of Louisville Center for Hazard Research and Policy Development for the Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments in North Carolina. The purpose of the project was to assist the Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments, which serves as an U.S. Economic Development Administration-designated Economic Development District, with identifying ways to align its Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) and its hazard mitigation plans (HMPs).
The report outlines the four essential elements of the CEDS and HMPs, demonstrates how they can inform each other, and highlights opportunities for incorporating economic development information into HMPs and hazard information into the CEDS. Additionally, specific recommendations for the Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments suggest approaches to strengthen and align its CEDS and HMPs by engaging new stakeholders; deepening analyses; selecting projects for implementation based on an inclusive set of economic, environmental, social, and resilience criteria; and through other means. The appendix contains further information and resources, including a full resilience assessment that was conducted for the Kerr-Tar region, a sample SWOT analysis, and a listing of planning guidelines, data sources, examples, and other helpful materials related to hazard mitigation and economic development planning.
Though this report was developed for the Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments and its local government partners, the concepts and approaches might also be helpful to economic developers, mitigation planners, emergency managers, and other staff of regional development organizations, cities, and counties across the U.S. who are working to coordinate economic development and hazard mitigation efforts.
Click here to listen to the recording of our webinar, Building Economic Resilience in Your Community: Linking Economic Development and Hazard Mitigation Planning, which explored the findings of this report.
This project was supported by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) under Agreement No. 04-79-06700. Any opinions, findings, or recommendations expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of EDA.