Government, while acknowledging the primary role of local, State and Tribal governments, is prepared to vigorously support local, State and Tribal governments in a large-scale disaster or catastrophic incident.18

However, many communities do not address, in a comprehensive manner, the numerous and complex issues that produce resilience until after a severe event occurs. The best time to develop resilience in a community is while the community is being planned and built or reconstructed after a disaster, and that is when the state and federal agencies may have somewhat limited roles. Therefore, it is critical that individuals and community leaders understand their roles and responsibilities relative to state and federal responsibilities, and that they consciously seek to improve the resilience of their community through their decisions and governing processes.

An example of building community resilience with specific local policies is through the implementation of resource planning policies by states and regional authorities that recognize threats from natural hazards also contribute to community resilience. For example, the State of Massachusetts recently adopted a climate change plan (Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 2011) to help avoid the consequences of anticipated changes resulting from climate change, and the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (2011) issued a set of recommendations targeted at helping the San Francisco Bay area prepare for changes resulting from climate change and sea-level rise. Maryland has recognized the vulnerability of its coastal zones, particularly in light of the potential changes in sea level and climate, and has developed adaptation strategies for their coastal areas (Maryland Commission on Climate Change, 2008). Efforts such as these contribute to community and national resilience by identifying hazards and threats before a disaster occurs, allowing local administrations to adjust their development plans to protect their citizens.


Much of this chapter has focused on policies and programs that provide the framework for governance, responsibilities, and support of community resilience from the top down. But community resilience may also be affected by policies that are seemingly unrelated to resilience. Policies and practices


18, p. 9.

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