Lost In Planning: Interdependent Vulnerabilities And Compounding Climate Threats

American Planning Association


12:00 p.m. (GMT-5)


It is often said that “…a city is a system of systems”, but the aging infrastructure in these systems is a vulnerability exacerbated by natural hazards and climate variability. The 2018 National Climate Assessment highlighted that current water management and planning principles leave communities exposed to more risk than anticipated, as risks evolve over time and hazards can interweave and compound one another.

FEMA’s guidance for Hazard Mitigation Plans (HMP) advises communities to address natural hazard design events and encourages them to address manmade and technological hazards. However, the HMP does not require an overview of aging infrastructure in hazard analyses. Without recognizing that resiliency depends on reliability, we are missing the point of the most basic definition of a resilient system as one that performs its intended function under baseline conditions, and can quickly recover, after some adversity. Identifying vulnerabilities and how they impact a community’s resilience makes it possible to curtail expensive, unplanned, and reactive responses so that we can prioritize and prevent hazardous disruptions – so life and business go on uninterrupted.

This webinar will show how we can use predictive algorithms to generate vulnerability assessments across key community infrastructure sectors, including potable water, transportation, energy, communications, and sanitation. This innovative approach addresses how the collocation of infrastructure can obscure the true vulnerability of our communities and flaws in their resilience.

Learning outcomes

  • Learn how to identify vulnerabilities and their impact on a community's resilience.
  • Understand scenarios where we can use predictive algorithms to generate vulnerability assessments.
  • Be able to predict and curtail expensive, unplanned, and reactive responses to disasters.


Paul Robinson is a Senior Water Resources Leader and Jacobs’ Global Community of Practice Lead for Flood Modeling and Planning, based in Houston, Texas. 

Mark Reiner, Ph.D., PE, is the Director of Resilient Infrastructure at Jacobs. Kevin Currie is a Training and E-learning Coordinator at ASFPM.

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