Urban and rural communities have a new source of information and tools to help them plan and prepare for weather- and climate-related impacts: the new Built Environment topic in the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit can help community leaders and businesses address a wide range of risks facing cities and towns.

About 325 million people live in the United States today, and about eight out of ten live in or near a city or town. Extreme events that hit these areas — heat waves, heavy downpours, floods, and storm surges — often come with devastating and lasting impacts to  property, lives, and livelihoods. Economic inequality, environmental degradation, and deteriorating public infrastructure can make some communities more vulnerable to weather and climate extremes than others.

The Toolkit’s new Built Environment topic provides authoritative information, real-world case studies, science-based decision-support tools, planning guides, training courses, reports, action plans, and links to regional experts — all freely available to the public. The new section can help cities and towns learn how to harness the benefits of trees, wetlands, and other natural resources to strengthen the health, wellbeing, and sustainability of our cities and towns. Subtopics addressed in the new section cover Buildings and Structures, Communications, Community Resilience, Disaster Planning, Economics, Energy, Environment and Natural Resources, Social Equity, Transportation, and Water and Wastewater.

Experts from NOAA, the U.S. Forest Service, and Harvard University led the development of the new tool in collaboration with personnel from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Housing and Urban Development, and Department of Homeland Security.

Banner image by m01229, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr.