– Resources to Embrace Change

Planners address climate resilience

Planners have unique responsibilities when it comes to guiding their community’s future. There are important decisions to make to preserve historical landmarks, stir up economic development, or guide mass transit. However, the role of planning to address climate change is equally important now because we are already facing the challenges of a warming planet, diminished water security and more frequent natural disasters. The best thing communities can do is to grow resilience in strategic, real ways.

In 2017, The Sonoran Institute and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy’s joint program, Resilient Communities and Watersheds, launched This digital space serves as an online resource where tools and studies can be accessed and shared, allowing users to quickly integrate the information into their own projects. By offering the tools for free online we’re looking to reach planners most efficiently to raise awareness about the best ways to shape resilient communities. In time, we hope the site will grow into a community with users sharing their own case studies and examples to strengthen the movement.

Users can contribute case studies to

We currently offer 36 case studies focused on four themes:

  • Integrating water and land use planning
  • Protecting and restoring watersheds
  • Planning for climate change and extreme weather
  • Funding and incentivizing resilience.

Each of the featured case studies comes from a community in the North American West that has grappled with barriers to sustainability. There’s more than enough to get you started whether you’re part of a neighborhood looking to sustainably manage a nearby creek or river, a water planning manager seeking more efficiency and wanting to implement conservation efforts, or a planner with an urban heat island to address. has the resources available.

The site also hosts the Growing Water Smart and Resilient Communities Toolkits, step-by-step guides for planners. To support this we offer our archived Growing Water Smart Webinar Series to guide you through conducting the Growing Water Smart Self-Assessment, provide tactics to bridge the gap between water and land use planning, and create compelling messages to engage community members.

Excitement is building for the release of the easy to use Exploratory Scenario Planning Demo and Guide coming 2019. It’s going to be a game changer for communities wanting to become more nimble in addressing uncertainties, adaptive to stressors and resilient to disruptions. Also on the horizon is the Exploratory Scenario Planning Webinar Series with highlights from Western municipalities that have taken on the process.

Rather than resist change, we have helped others embrace it and ultimately emerge the better from it. By sharing and supporting each other’s successes we can ensure resilient communities thrive. Join us! Be Resilient.

Blog Post By: Harold Thomas, Program Manager, Climate Resilience