VPC President Presents at American Planning Associations National Planning Conference

Deepa Srinivasan, AICP, CFM, President and Founder of Vision Planning and Consulting, presented at the American Planning Association's National Planning Conference (April 2-5th) in Phoenix, AZ last week.

Highlights include: How to incorporate risk reduction strategies into existing local plans, policies, codes, and programs that guide development or redevelopment patterns, Plan Integration concepts and mechanisms related to planning and how to conduct them at the local and state levels to achieve safe and smart growth, Ways to introduce safety principles into various plans and ordinances through the use of a Plan Integration Guide that can be used by communities nationwide to perform plan integration Best practices from communities that are large/small, urban/rural, flood prone/tornado prone/hurricane prone, and in different parts of the United States Lessons learned, barriers, and challenges from the FEMA Plan Integration pilot programs.

Planners in the National Capital Region in the United States are in the driver's seat for developing plans and setting policies. With the influx of natural hazards including Superstorm Sandy, which sent much of the United States' Mid-Atlantic region reeling, it is imperative that planners focus on turning "smart growth" initiatives into "safe growth" policies. This can be accomplished by effectively integrating and intermingling hazard mitigation concepts into a community’s plans and ordinances to help reduce risk and in turn make these communities more disaster resilient.

The State of Maryland is unique in its recent plan integration efforts. In the last two years, plan integration was conducted at the local and state levels in Maryland. Each of these efforts involved diverse stakeholder groups and was created for different scales: state, county, and town/municipality. This session will identify best practices, gaps, and recommendations for creating a “whole community” approach.

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Integrating hazard mitigation into other community policies improves the chances of implementing hazard mitigation strategies. In 2014, FEMA Region III developed a Plan Integration report to: serve as a guide for communities of all types and locations to be able to conduct plan integration and to help communities integrate hazard mitigation into local planning mechanisms.

Following the APA Conference Ms. Srinivasan was invited to speak at the City of Phoenix Hazard Mitigation Planning Seminar at City Hall.

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