Developing a Resiliency Framework

For communities interested in developing a resiliency framework, this section of the Resource Center provides guidance, sample documents and materials, and lessons learned about process captured from local pilot frameworks done recently. The information and processes provided in this section are meant to be a guide that communities can adapt for their needs; each community will have its own processes and way of doing business. The materials are intended to be helpful as you develop a local Framework. Throughout this section there are individual worksheets available to help guide the process of documenting existing conditions, establishing a vision and goals, etc. You can download them all as a single packet here.

Process for Developing a Resiliency Framework

The steps shown above provide an effective approach to developing local resiliency frameworks.

The steps shown above provide an effective approach to developing local resiliency frameworks.


Organize a Framework Task Force:

One of the first and most important steps for development a resiliency framework is to identify critical members of the community to engage throughout the process. Questions to ask for establishing the team should include: Who should lead the process? Who needs to be at the table? What are the most effective ways to engage stakeholders and the public? Who will take ownership for implementation? How can the process be transparent?

  • Framework stakeholders: It is important that the team represent a  wide variety of stakeholders within the community. The formality and method of meetings should be tailored to the local community incorporating consistent and transparent communication. It also makes sense to incorporate any existing momentum around resiliency (e.g. engaging community groups or organizations that are working on resiliency efforts, due to a recent shock event) and integrate/coordinate with their effort and team members into the framework team. Who has the expertise and experience in recent community planning processes? What expertise is needed to ensure a successful and integrated planning process? The University of Kansas’ Community Tool Box chapter on Identifying and Analyzing Stakeholders and Their Interests provides a potential framework for stakeholder mapping.
Example: Boulder County’s Resiliency Framework was Created by the Following Stakeholders
State and Boulder County agencies;
Cities and towns in the county;
State and federal partners;
Emergency response and recovery organizations;
Locally-based research institutions;
Non-profit and faith-based organizations; and
Private sector partners.
  • Establish leadership and a steering committee: Developing a resiliency framework relies on strong leadership to identify and convene the right team, establish goals, set timelines, and synthesize input from the framework team and the public. The leadership group will ultimately drive implementation and coordinate maintenance and updating of the framework. It is helpful to the process if leadership has prior experience facilitating a planning or stakeholder engagement process and the ability work constructively with all participants to understand and integrate community values into framework development process. The formation of a steering committee helps direct the planning process and ensure a broad spectrum of community interests are represented. Additionally, it is important to establish ownership of the plan to ensure it is a living document with identified, pre-scheduled maintenance activities.  
Example: These Stakeholders Led the Creation of the Larimer County Resiliency Framework
Larimer County Office of Emergency Management
Larimer Long-Term Recovery Group
Fort Collins Office of Emergency Management
Big Thompson Watershed Coalition
Colorado State University
Larimer County Department of Health and Environment
United Way of Larimer County
Larimer County Department of Natural Resources
Loveland Housing Authority
Larimer County Workforce Center
Larimer County Community Development
Coalition for the Poudre River Watershed
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Establish Guiding Principles:

Guiding principles are themes or ideas that reflect the values important to a community, and should be an expected outcomes of all activities. Establishing guiding principles early on in the resiliency framework development process can help define and articulate what the community hopes to achieve through the resiliency framework. The three communities that participated in the pilot local resiliency process developed the following guiding principles:

Enhance Connectivity: Community action should support connecting people to their community, jobs, services, and each other.

Build on Existing Action: A strategy for future action should honor the work that has already been conducted to build community resiliency.

Engage the Whole Community: Resiliency planning should not only engage the whole community, but be reflective of the human, economic, and geographic diversity within the community.

Support the Most Vulnerable: All resiliency action should be viewed through the lens of how it supports those who may be disproportionately impacted by shocks and stresses.

Foster Action: The framework should drive action and empower communities to push a cultural shift in thinking about resiliency through concerted and collaborative efforts.

As strategies and projects are identified in the resiliency framework process, communities should reflect back on their guiding principles to make sure they’re represented throughout. The 9 Resiliency Prioritization Criteria the Colorado Resiliency Framework, used in conjunction with established guiding principles, can help to identify those strategies that have the greatest opportunity for success and positive impact.


Document Community Conditions: 

Inclusion of a broad range of stakeholders can help to identify the resiliency related strengths and challenges across the community. One option is to hold visioning and strategic planning meetings. Another could be to conduct surveys, interviews, focus groups and small-group engagement sessions as was done as a part of the Colorado Resiliency Framework process.

Stakeholder engagement through this process led to meaningful and substantive community input. The Resiliency Sectors Worksheet allows stakeholders to consider community resiliency in the six sectors identified in the Colorado Resiliency Framework and provide project ideas to address potential shocks and stresses. Though the State identified six sectors around which it would focus its resiliency efforts, other communities should not feel required to do the same, and are encouraged to explore how they may categorize areas for resiliency.

Through this process, stakeholders in the pilot local resiliency process were asked the following questions:

  1. What does resiliency mean for the sector? What does this look like in action?
  2. What are the shocks and stresses most often associated with this sector?
  3. What potential strategies could enhance resiliency in this sector?
Resiliency Sectors Worksheet:
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Confirm Existing Conditions:

Profiling the community through the lens of resiliency sectors can identify areas of strength and challenges which could aid or impede resiliency efforts. It can also help to better understand potential interdependencies. A first step in this process can be to work with local stakeholders to identify the existing conditions they most concretely recognize. Local stakeholders may not have all of the relevant information to fully establish existing conditions, which may require outside research using census data, academic analyses, and other tools. The Existing Conditions Guide helps to identify data and information needed to effectively analyze existing conditions within the community.

Identify Shocks and Stresses: 

Risks by Region of Colorado, as Perceived by Coloradans through CRRO Outreach

Perceived Risks Resize.png

Every community has specific conditions that can strengthen or challenge the development of a resilient community. In addition, shocks and stresses vary from one community to the next and play a key role in identifying the objectives of the resiliency planning process. The stakeholders within participating communities are best suited  identify and analyze the major shocks and stresses in your community. The Shocks and Stresses Worksheet will help to identify applicable shocks and stresses (within the planning area), the interdependencies between shocks and stresses that magnify vulnerability, and to understand how those vulnerabilities affect the community’s ability to adapt to changing conditions or recover after a disruptive event.

Establish Vision, Goals, and Strategies:

Visions, goals, and strategies provide a framework for the plan to harness community values and support implementation efforts. This step is essential in developing ideas and bringing them to fruition.

The outcome of a resiliency framework is a series of projects and/or actions that collectively support achieving the goals set in the framework. Those goals in turn jointly support achieving the vision originally set by the participants in the framework development process.

The outcome of a resiliency framework is a series of projects and/or actions that collectively support achieving the goals set in the framework. Those goals in turn jointly support achieving the vision originally set by the participants in the framework development process.

Existing Conditions:
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Shocks and Stresses Worksheet:
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Resiliency Vision Statement: The community’s vision statement defines what the community wants to become and establishes the means to get there. Identify key community values and what it means to be a part of the community. Questions to ask  could include: What is your community known for, and more importantly, what would you like your community to be known for? What vision statements has the community established in other planning documents? What time period should the framework address (10, 20, 30 years?) These aspects should be closely linked to the existing conditions, and shocks and stresses of your community.

Resiliency Goals: Goals establish observable and measurable end results that will help shape the overall vision the community foresees.The Visioning and Goals Worksheet can provide guidance on the creation of a community vision and goals.

Visioning and Goals Worksheet:
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Example Vision and Goal from a Local Resiliency Framework:
Vision: "Boulder County communities will exemplify a culture of resilience and personal responsibility, which is supported by inclusive, collaborative partnerships between the public, non-profit and private sector that serve as an efficient conduit to accessible programs and resources for all residents."
Goal: Housing. Develop a robust housing safety net for the most vulnerable populations.

Resiliency Strategies: Strategies form plans and methods to reach the community’s specified goals and align with the overall vision. Strategies are a good way to link the six resiliency sectors to project ideas. Creating implementable strategies may require revisions and further stakeholder engagement. The Strategy Review Worksheet provides a template to revise draft strategies into polished products. Below are examples of  strategies identified in local resiliency frameworks in Colorado:

Resilient Strategies Worksheet:
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Example Strategies From Current Resiliency Frameworks in Colorado:
Community Strategy: Create innovative development that integrates housing, transportation, and employment to create a diversity of options.
Economic Strategy: Encourage businesses, including healthcare and senior services, to participate in resiliency planning that results in continuity plans to withstand shocks and stresses associated with natural and human-caused hazards.
Health and Social Strategy: Increase individual and community preparedness by enhancing training and education opportunities for emergency preparedness and resilience education, identifying vulnerable populations, empowering local leaders, and promoting resiliency conversations with the public.
Housing Strategy: Ensure that future affordable housing projects are located in areas that are least susceptible to future shocks, and design housing developments and individual units to withstand shocks.
Infastructure Strategy Strategy: Leverage technological advances to continuously update databases of asset inventories and their vulnerabilities, and accept updated information from a variety of sources to ensure that databases are comprehensive.
Watershed Strategy: Assess how policy and local regulations can guide the integration of stormwater management plans with existing floodplain management processes.