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AARP Disaster Recovery Tool Kit

How to rebuild a town, city or neighborhood to be a livable community for people of all ages

Road Closed, Signs, Man On Bike, Fallen Telephone Pole Across Street, Damage, Disaster Recovery Toolkit, Livable Communities

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The calm after the storm (or similar natural or man-made disaster) can, over time , lead to greater livability.


"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"

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.

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. 

Follow the links in the bulleted list below to access each part of the tool kit and see "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.


Disaster Recovery Tool Kit Contents

This tool kit is a collaboration of the Federal Emergency Management Administration and AARP Livable Communities, represented by senior program advisor Jeanne Anthony. The tool kit was published in January 2015 with portions updated in September 2017.

Each issue of the award-winning AARP Livable Communities e-Newsletter contains a mix of inspiring examples, community resources and information about livability efforts from places near and far. Subscribe today!

Four examples of the AARP Livable Communities eNewsletter