Livable Communities Disaster Recovery Tool Kit

How to rebuild a town, city or neighborhood to be a great place for people of all ages

FEMA Toolkit for Rebuilding Communities

The calm after the storm can lead to greater livability. — Getty Images

No town or city wants to experience the devastation and loss caused by a natural disaster (such as a hurricane, earthquake or tornado) or similarly destructive event.

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However, when such tragedies do occur, the recovery work can provide an opportunity to reenvision the community and rebuild it to provide the features and services that enable people of all ages, physical abilities and life stages to comfortably call the community home.

The AARP Livable Communities Disaster Recovery Tool Kit is designed to support the mission of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as it works to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate hazards nationwide.

The tool kit describes the elements and features of a livable community and aligns the specific categories of work under the strategic framework of the “8 Domains of Livability” (a rubric used by the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities to identify needs, goals and successes) with FEMA’s Recovery Support Functions. Additionally, the tool kit provides policy information, tools and resources to support the types of recovery work that lead to greater community resiliency and future preparedness. 


“The goal of building resilience during long-term recovery is to restore the relevance and competitiveness of a community in order to improve quality of life for all residents.

Long-term recovery and resilience is not about rebuilding exactly what was in place before a disaster; instead, achieving resilience requires a community to think about future plans that change the community’s trajectory and restore it as an asset within the national or regional constellation of urban environments.”

— From “Envirenew Resilience: Creating Resilient Communities” (March 2011)

DON'T MISS! The next pages include "photovision" examples of real locations and how smart "renvisioning" can turn uninviting, unwalkable streets and communities into lively, useful spaces and places. Post-disaster recovery efforts can do the same by both restoring and improving damaged areas.

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