NEWS RELEASE: November 7, 2023

States Take Varied Approaches to Resilience Governance

New APA study identifies how states are addressing flood, disaster, or climate resilience issues.

CHICAGO (Nov. 7, 2023) — No U.S. state is immune to flood, disaster, or climate resilience issues. How are states approaching and addressing resilience governance? A new research analysis from the American Planning Association (APA) sponsored by the Pew Charitable Trusts, identifies the varied approaches states are taking for resilience governance.

The Planning for State Resilience: A 50-State Breakdown story map demonstrates there is not a one-size-fits-all approach, uncovering 22 different governance features — from chief resilience officers to state-wide resilience strategies.

"Communities throughout the United States are facing rapidly increasing risk of floods, wildfires, extreme heat, and other climate-related disasters. 'Planning for State Resilience: A 50-State Breakdown' is an important deep dive into how each state is organizing in response to these threats," said Mathew Sanders, senior officer with The Pew Charitable Trusts. "Important lessons can be learned from understanding how states approach developing policies, plans, and projects to build resilience at scale."

View the Story Map

Key highlights from the research analysis of all 50 states include:

  • 12 states have established or designated a lead agency for resilience planning or coordination efforts (e.g., California, North Carolina).
  • 11 states have a designated chief resilience officer (e.g., West Virginia, Louisiana).
  • 18 states have established guidelines for a statewide resilience plan or strategy (e.g., Florida, Maine).
  • 13 states have formulated statewide goals for resilience planning (e.g., Hawaii, Colorado, New Jersey).
  • 13 states have designed financial or technical assistance programs to help local jurisdictions in resilience planning, demonstrating that local action is key (e.g., Maryland, Texas).

Explore in greater depth how specific governance features were generated in four specific states: Washington, Nebraska, Massachusetts, and South Carolina. Learn about the events, legislation, and individuals that spurred the actions.

"APA's framework and analysis on resilience governance is both timely and informative," said Molly Mowery, AICP, chair-elect of APA's Hazard Mitigation and Disaster Recovery Division and executive director of the Community Wildfire Planning Center. "It creates an intuitive model for understanding how states are approaching resilience through various levels of formal and strategic mechanisms. These typologies can also serve as useful ways to track resilience trends over time."

Understanding the varied approaches to enhancing resilience is an important step toward a safer and more resilient future. The Planning for State Resilience story map provides a benchmark so states can learn about different opportunities that might appeal to their resident' needs.

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The American Planning Association is an independent, not-for-profit educational organization that provides vital leadership in creating great communities for all. APA and its professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners, are dedicated to advancing the profession of planning, offering better choices for where and how people work and live. The nearly 40,000 APA members work in concert with community residents, civic leaders, and business interests to create communities that enrich people's lives. APA is based in Chicago. Learn more at

Media Contact:

Roberta Rewers, APA, 312.786.6395;

November 7, 2023