Climate Change Resources

APA provides its members with information and resources to do their jobs effectively and advocate for best planning practices in the communities where they work. The environmental and economic impacts of climate change on communities are a continuing focus of APA's research efforts. In fact, climate change was rated the top priority by APA members who responded to the Research Agenda Task Force Survey.

In January 2017, the Kresge Foundation recognized APA as one of nine urban-focused professional membership organizations for its efforts to educate members on climate change issues.

The following climate change resources are available from APA. See the Disaster Recovery Resources page for additional hazard mitigation information. 

Policy Guides and Frameworks

APA's policy guides represent the collective thinking of our members on positions of both principle and practice. They represent APA's official position on issues central to building communities of lasting value.

Climate Change


Hazard Mitigation

Sustainability Policy Framework

View the entire library of APA Policy Guides

Research Initiatives

APA conducts applied, policy-relevant research to identify, evaluate, develop, and disseminate best practices that address key issues for the planning profession. Below are highlights of completed research initiatives with a climate-change focus.

Drought Mitigation

Greater Baltimore Wilderness: Green Infrastructure for Regional Resilience

Naturally Resilient Communities

NOAA Digital Coast

Subdivision Design and Flood Hazard Areas

Sustaining Places Initiative

This multi-year effort examines how places can be sustained and how places themselves sustain life and civilizations. As part of this initiative, APA developed the Comprehensive Plan Standards for Sustaining Places Recognition Program that defines a set of principles, processes, and attributes to guide comprehensive plan creation.

Explore the full range of research initiatives undertaken by APA


How Cities Use Parks for Climate Change Management, City Parks Forum Briefing Papers

Green Infrastructure and Post-Disaster Recovery, Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery Briefing Papers

"Using Smart Growth to Adapt to Climate Change," Zoning Practice, February 2017

Climate Change and Energy, PAS QuickNotes, No. 13

Brooklyn/Baybrook Community Action Plan, Community Planning Assistance Team Report, Baltimore, Maryland

PAS Reports, Memos, and QuickNotes

APA has produced a number of reports that address climate change and aspects of climate change.

Digital access to PAS Reports, PAS Memos, and PAS QuickNotes is available to all APA members and PAS subscribers.

Non-members may purchase digital copies of all three publications.

PAS Reports

Planning for Sustainable Material and Waste Management (PAS 587)

Subdivision Design and Flood Hazard Areas (PAS 584)

Coastal Zone Management (PAS 581)

Sustaining Places: Best Practices for Comprehensive Plans (PAS 578)

Sustainable Urban Industrial Development (PAS 577)

Planning for a New Energy and Climate Future (PAS 558)

Planning for Solar (PAS 575)

Post-Disaster Recovery: Next Generation (PAS 576)

Planning and Drought (PAS 574)

Planning for Wind Energy (PAS 566)

PAS Memo

PAS Memo is a bimonthly publication written by practicing planners that offers insights and case studies.

Getting Ready for the Rain: Urban Flooding and Planning for Community Resilience

Integrated Urban Water Management for Planners

Distributed Renewable Energy: Anticipating Energy Development in Communities

Using Metrics to Drive Community Sustainability Efforts

Adapting to Climate Change: Strategies from King County, Washington


"Evaluation of Network of Plans and Vulnerability to Hazards and Climate Change: A resilience scorecard." Journal of the American Planning Association, Vol. 81, No. 4, 2015

"That Unwelcomed Stranger Called Climate Change" Planning, October 2015

"Global Changes, Local Impacts." Planning, October 2015

"A Rising Tide of Engagement: The profession leans in on climate change." Planning, August/September 2015

"A Higher Tide: Planning for Sea-Level Rise." Planning, August/September 2015

"A Model of Climate Proofing." Planning, March 2013

"Climate Adaptation and Sea-Level Rise in the San Francisco Bay Area." Planning, January 2012

"The Devil Is in the Delta." Planning, January 2012

"Is Anyone Listening as Climate Change Speeds Up?" Planning, December 2011


Roundtable discussion with the coauthors of Planning for a New Energy and Climate Future.

"Wetrofitting" Urban Neighborhoods — Tuesdays at APA

Planning Information Exchange (PIE) Webinars

The Planning Information Exchange (PIE) quarterly webinar series is sponsored by APA and the Association of Flood Plain Managers, with funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The webinars are free.

Naturally Resilient Communities

Climate Change and Adaptation and Resilience

Combining Climate Adaptation and Hazard Mitigation Plans

"Rising Seas" Closing keynote by John Englander, oceanographer and author of High Tide on Main Street.

"NOAA Supporting Resiliency" by Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, former Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator. NOAA and APA have a long history of collaboration focused on helping communities cope with drought and floods, improve water quality, and reduce coastal inundation among other threats. Learn more about the work underway and how NOAA is working to build living and thriving communities.

Best Practice Examples

Broward County Climate Change Element, Broward County, Florida

2014 National Planning Excellence Award for Environmental Planning

Cool Planning: A Handbook on Local Strategies to Slow Climate Change, Oregon

2012 National Planning Award for a Best Practice 2012

Green City, Clean Waters: Philadelphia's 21st Century Green Stormwater Infrastructure Program, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

2015 National Planning Excellence Award for Implementation

Resilient New Orleans – Strategic Actions to Shape Our Future City, New Orleans, Louisiana

2016 National Planning Excellence Award for a Best Practice

Urban Forestry Code Revisions Project, Tigard, Oregon

2014 National Planning Excellence Award for a Best Practice

Vision 2020: New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan, New York City

2012 Daniel Burnham Award for a Comprehensive Plan


APA offers opportunities for members to connect with others who share their interests.

Environment, Natural Resource and Energy Division

Sustainable Communities Division

Water Working Group

Learn more about all APA Divisions and Interest Groups.