Resiliency in cultural resource planning
Wildfires in the West. Hurricanes on the coasts and Puerto Rico. Drought in Montana and North Dakota. Hail storms. Tornados. Freezing orchards. These are some of the natural disasters that occurred in 2017 in the United States. Last year the cost of weather and climate disasters in our country topped $300 billion, with 16 individual events each reaching a billion-dollar price tag.
Resiliency is the capacity of individuals, communities, and businesses to survive, adapt and grow in the face of natural disasters. It focuses on improving these systems to address long-term stresses or acute shocks. As a profession that looks to the future, planners are responsible for incorporating resiliency strategies into projects. Resiliency planning comes in many shapes and sizes. It can apply to master plans, infrastructure systems, security, economies, societies or individual resources.
More specifically, resiliency planning applies to cultural resources. According to the National Park Service, approximately $40 billion of cultural resources are located along U.S. coastlines. These resources are at “high risk” due to sea level rise. The good news is that there is a bevvy of resources on the topic. For example:
- Assessing Historical Significance and Use Potential of Buildings within Historic Districts: An Overview of a Measurement Framework Developed for Climate Adaptation Planning by the U.S. Geological Survey shows how to move beyond traditional cultural resource assessment. This pilot project used a series of workshops to help managers make informed decisions about prioritizing cultural resources for climate adaptation. Using a range of buildings exposed to varied climate change impacts and building conditions, a framework was established to evaluate how adaptation measures would impact historic significance. In this way, cultural resource specialists could determine best practices for protection of these resources.
- Cultural Resources Climate Change Strategy and Climate Change and Stewardship of Cultural Resources by NPS provide timely guidance and best practices for incorporating resiliency strategies to maintain and protect cultural resources.
We’re addressing resiliency at Mead & Hunt. We recently developed a Climate Change Report that discusses how planners, architects and engineers can help clients be resilient. Please contact me (Jen Wolchansky) about how you can integrate resiliency in your line of work.
- Planning for natural disaster and flood hazards protects cultural resources
- Pre-disaster planning for historic properties
- Disaster plans and historic preservation
- Climate change impacts stormwater infrastructure
- Severe weather’s impact on our nation’s infrastructure
- Flash flooding could become the norm
- Hurricanes increase costs associated Corps year-end contract awards
- Helping families, helping local governments
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