Disaster Preparedness • Economic Recovery • Resilience

Using Community and Economic Development Strategies to Build Disaster Resilient Economies

In the wake of natural disasters, local and regional economies are extremely vulnerable.  Businesses can suffer costly damage, be cut off from supplies, lose sales, and experience disrupted operations.  In some cases, they may even be forced to close permanently.  When businesses and industries fail or falter the communities they serve can feel serious impacts, ranging from a lack of access to goods and services to the loss of income and jobs.

Building the resilience of businesses and regional economies to natural disasters calls for a creative mix of land use, hazard mitigation, capital improvement, economic development, and other approaches.  On April 8, 2014, the NADO Research Foundation hosted a webinar titled “Lessons from the Storm: Using Community and Economic Development Strategies to Build Disaster Resilient Economies.”  Leaders from east central Iowa; Longmont, Colorado; and Springfield, Massachusetts discussed how they are rebuilding and protecting their economic assets, including downtowns and key industries; targeting growth to safe locations and encouraging walkable, mixed-use design; providing recovery funding and preparedness training to businesses; upgrading infrastructure; encouraging economic diversification; and promoting regional partnerships and coordinated planning.

Presenters:
Shawn Lewis, Assistant City Manager, City of Longmont, Longmont, Colorado
Jay Minkarah, President & CEO, DevelopSpringfield, Springfield, Massachusetts
Doug Elliott, Executive Director, East Central Iowa Council of Governments, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Moderator:
Megan McConville, Program Manager, NADO Research Foundation

Click here to download the webinar slides as a PDF.

Click here to read NADO’s “Lessons from the Storm” case study series, including this case study about the East Central Iowa Council of Governments’ development of a revolving loan fund to help businesses purchase property and equipment and access working capital after the devastating floods of 2008.

The webinar was supported by the U.S. Economic Development Administration.  Contact Megan McConville at mmcconville@nado.org with any questions.