State Directives, Local Plans

The Role of Federal and State Government in Planning

a foggy marina with a row of ships

Image Courtesy of Bill Harvey

A growing body of evidence suggests that hazard mitigation plans do not happen without some serious guidance from state and/or federal government. Higher levels of government are able to take a longer view of things, and are in a better position to require proper plans of local governments. Federal and State authority is in a position to provide funding, technical assistance, research, and guidance on disaster management.  State authorities can play a role in helping facilitate State Plans at a local level, while at the same time act as liasons at the Federal to ensure local and regional plans receive the resources they need to get off the ground.

The Role of Regional and Local Government in Planning

Good plans, can’t simply be dictated from above. There is no onesize-fits-all for the difficult process of land use planning that incorporates hazard mitigation.  Land use is an inherently local issue, and it is at the local level where effective plans will have to be developed. Only the locals have good on-the-ground knowledge of specific hazards, and perhaps more importantly, a living memory of specific catastrophes and the areas that were impacted. Good plans must be based on detailed local knowledge, not generalized information extracted from afar. It would appear that the best plans are developed by fairly  autonomous communities that have significant discretion in how plans are developed, with strong mandates to plan imposed by the state.

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