Implementing the Steps to Resilience | A Practitioner's Guide
This guidebook offers a set of procedures to accompany each phase of the Climate Resilience Toolkit's Steps to Resilience.

Assess Vulnerability and Risk

Practitioners will now characterize risk based on the probability of identified hazards and the magnitude of potential loss. This step addresses processes and expected outcomes as well as increasing capacity across the community to conduct and understand vulnerability and risk assessments. By the end, the community will identify the people and community assets most vulnerable and at risk to climate-related hazards.

Matt Hutchins (Fernleaf)
35 minutes

Key considerations:

  • Share analysis publicly. Involve frontline community representatives in data evaluation and in analyzing underlying drivers of inequities in climate vulnerability and risk
  • Identify intersectional and compounding vulnerabilities
(3 minutes)


Learn how to utilize the hazards and assets identified in Step 1 to assess vulnerability. Aashka Patel (Fernleaf) offers an overview of the next steps that practitioners should take.

Determine type of assessment for each potential impact
(6.5 minutes)

Assessments of vulnerability and risk may be spatial (at the level of individual facilities or properties using GIS data) or narrative (detailed assessment describing potential impacts and hazards).

Develop rulesets and assess vulnerability and risk
(9 minutes)

Rulesets are semantic rules based on attributes used to classify community assets as having “high, medium, or low” characteristics of vulnerability and risk. These classifications, in addition to community input and site-specific data, are necessary to agree upon where and why people are most vulnerable to hazards.

Use assessment results to create impact statements
(2 minutes)

For each of the potential climate-related impacts, discuss how consequences will be experienced in the event of a hazard. Impact statements can be drafted to articulate major vulnerabilities, their drivers, and their consequences for identifying options that can address them effectively.

Finalize assessment and synthesize findings
(3 minutes)

Assessment results can be shared with the project team through various summary materials that highlight the impacts numerically and visually at the entire community-level, and also at the individual property level.

Review assessment findings with planning team
(5 minutes)

A final meeting should be held with the full planning team to review the final assessment results and collaborate to develop insights through the use of impact statements.

Assessment Questions:

  • Will future climatic conditions adversely affect community assets — function, integrity, access, cost–as defined and valued by the affected communities?
  • Can the process be repeated by participants for subsequent iterations of this process either due to later learning or emerging challenges?
  • Use climate hazard data (mapped or otherwise) to assess the impact these hazards will have on the community assets.

Resources from the Practitioner's Guide

Implementing the Steps to Resilience | A Practitioner's Guide

Implementing the Steps to Resilience | A Practitioner's Guide
Mark Wilbert & Matt Hutchins
6 Sections
45 minutes
Foundational information to consider before you begin your resilience journey.
Matt Hutchins (Fernleaf)
6 Sections
25 minutes
Coordinate with the community champions to assemble a planning team and establish goals for the project.
Jim Fox, Aashka Patel, Kim Rhodes (Fernleaf)
5 Sections
1 hour
Evaluate community assets and their exposure to climate-related hazards.
Matt Hutchins (Fernleaf)
6 Sections
35 minutes
Evaluate the vulnerability of community assets by enumerating qualities of sensitivity and adaptive capacity.
Jim Fox (Fernleaf), Karin Rogers (NEMAC)
6 Sections
78 minutes
List options to reduce the greatest climate-related vulnerabilities and risks to vulnerable populations and community assets.
Jim Fox (Fernleaf)
5 Sections
81 minutes
Design an implementation plan for the strategies that are mostly likely to reduce vulnerability and risk.
Jim Fox and Mark Wilbert (Fernleaf)
4 Sections
66 minutes
Implement and communicate the plan. Identify funding sources. Monitor. Iterate.