Incorporating Resilience into the CEDS

Posted on: June 5th, 2015 by NADO Admin



New CEDS Content Guidelines:

The Economic Development Administration (EDA) recently released new CEDS Content Guidelines (http://www NULL.eda as part of updated federal regulations that went into effect in early 2015. The content guidelines provide a clear, streamlined framework to assist Economic Development Districts and other interested parties in crafting an effective and impactful Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS).

An EDA-approved CEDS document is required to access most funding opportunities made available by the EDA. The purpose of the CEDS is to “bring together the public and private sectors in order to create an economic roadmap to diversity and strengthen regional economies.”

The new guidelines include updated recommendations on what should be included in each of the previously required sections—Summary Background, SWOT Analysis, Strategic Direction/Action Plan, and Evaluation Framework.  However, for the first time ever, the EDA has also included an economic resilience component in the content guidelines, with suggestions for  planning and implementing resilience, establishing information networks, conducting pre-disaster recovery planning, and measuring resilience.

Additional information on how Economic Development Districts throughout the country are incorporating resilience into their CEDS, is available in NADO’s CEDS Resilience Library



South Florida Regional Planning Commission (SFRPC)


A view of A1A during a high tide event that carried the surf into the streets of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

A view of A1A during a high tide event that carried the surf onto the streets of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Credit: Flickr user Dave

“Resilience cannot be thought of as a separate or distinct issue; it permeates everything we do,” says Karen Hamilton, regional planner with the South Florida Regional Planning Council (http://www NULL.sfrpc (SFRPC).  Given its region’s heightened vulnerability to natural disasters, climate change, and economic downturns, the SFRPC was one of the first organizations to effectively integrate resilience throughout its Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (http://www NULL.sfrpc NULL.pdf) (CEDS). For the three counties within the SFRPC region – Monroe, Miami-Dade, and Broward – long-term economic competitiveness is directly tied with their ability to balance growth and development with the opportunities and limitations posed by both natural and manmade hazards.

Southeast Florida is expected to experience three to seven inches of sea level rise by 2030 and nine to 24 inches by 2060.  With an increasing frequency of flooding at high tide and salt water intrusion into the Biscayne Aquifer during droughts, the effects of rising sea levels are already being felt throughout the region.  In addition to this looming threat, the danger of hurricanes also holds the potential for substantial economic disruption on an annual basis.  When combined with the fact that the regional economy has been historically reliant on tourism and growth-related industries such as construction, which are more susceptible to economic instability, there are a number of factors driving the need diversify the region’s economy and institutionalize the concept of resiliency.

Florida’s Six Pillars Framework for economic development and growth. Credit: Florida Chamber of Commerce

Florida’s Six Pillars Framework for economic development and growth. Credit: Florida Chamber of Commerce

To lessen the burden that these risks place on residents, business owners, local governments and potential private investors, the South Florida CEDS provides a strategy for resilient regional development through the lens of the State of Florida’s Six Pillars framework for economic development, which includes: Talent Supply and Education; Innovation and Economic Development; Infrastructure and Growth Leadership; Business Climate and Competitiveness; Civic and Governance Systems; and Quality of Life and Quality of Place.

By using this framework and incorporating each of the three counties’ comprehensive plans, the South Florida CEDS successfully identifies existing vulnerabilities – such as critical infrastructure in flood-prone areas along the coast – and provides a plan of action for lessening the regional economy’s exposure to such hazards. Examples of these recommendations include fostering economic diversity by nurturing emerging industries and entrepreneurial ventures, supporting comprehensive emergency management planning to enhance preparedness and continuity in the face of disruptions, and ensuring that public infrastructure investments are made in locations that are most likely to be viable for at least the expected life of the project.  According to Hamilton, this last point is especially important to cities and towns that do not have the financial resources to continually reinvest in poorly designed or positioned infrastructure projects that are not resilient to the changing conditions in South Florida.

Key Strategies for Success:

Be as inclusive as possible in the development of the CEDS – it is important to have representation and buy-in from local governments, industry, private businesses, and other key stakeholders

Take a holistic approach to economic development – economic development must be about more than directing dollars. By taking a holistic approach that includes public health and quality of life in addition to economic growth, resilience initiatives gain even more traction

The responsible and strategic use of data – data is an incredibly powerful tool to support projects and track progress, but you must make certain that you are using data that is applicable to local conditions. It is also important not to overburden people with unnecessary data; properly packaging results and targeting the roll out for different users can make a world of difference

 Click Here to Return to Regional Approaches to Resilience: A Tour of Resilience Work Around the Country


“Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy for South Florida (2012-2017).” South Florida Regional Planning Council, 1 Sept. 2012. Web. <>.
Personal Communication with Karen Hamilton , February 10, 2015


This case study was written by Lexie Albe, Community and Economic Resilience Fellow.

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