Equitable Climate Resilience for US Local Governments

Research effort will help understand the intersection of equity and climate resilience for cities

IBTS was recently awarded a grant from The Kresge Foundation to lead a project exploring obstacles and opportunities that local governments face in addressing social equity and climate resilience.

The project includes multiple phases, starting with a survey of elected and non-elected officials and staff from medium and large cities. The survey will be the first large-scale data collection effort on the intersection of these topics among US cities.

The survey will identify how issues related to equity and resilience affect cities and their residents, the extent to which cities are able to address these issues, the challenges and barriers they face, and actions they have taken and solutions they have developed.

The new-to-the world data resulting from this survey will:

  • Help cities better understand how other cities address these issues.
  • Allow cities to better identify and address these issues during their resilience assessments and planning efforts.
  • Help those in the equitable climate resilience field address city needs and develop solutions.

IBTS will update its Community Resilience Framework and Tools (CRAFT) using results from the survey, then test these revisions with pilot CRAFT assessments conducted in three cities. This update will enable communities that use CRAFT to better understand and address social equity in their resilience assessment and planning efforts.

Participate in the Survey!

Elected and non-elected officials, including mayors, city council members, city managers, sustainability officers, planners, and others who represent US cities with populations of 50,000 or more are strongly encouraged to participate!

Take the survey now at https://bit.ly/ecr-survey or contact Patrick Howell, phowell@ibts.org for more information.

Want us to contact you? Enter your information in the form below.

Meet our Advisory Panel

Questions & Answers

Who is funding this project?

This research is funded by a grant from the Kresge Foundation.

This study is being conducted by the Institute for Building Technology and Safety (IBTS), a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening communities. It is supported by the National League of Cities (NLC) and the National Forum for Black Public Administrators (NFBPA).

Efforts are supported by an advisory panel comprised of national leaders in the nonprofit, government, philanthropic, private, and academic sectors with specific experience in social equity, city governance, climate resilience and/or social-equity climate-related communication.

What are the goals of this study?

The goal of this research is to develop a better understanding of and solutions for city governments on the intersection of climate resilience and social equity.

This study has its origins in research [link] demonstrating that socially vulnerable populations are at increased risk from the effects of climate and major weather events, such as hurricanes, floods, heat events, and wildfires.

Both climate resilience and social equity are issues of concern for many cities. Yet little is known about the extent to which cities are addressing social equity and climate resilience together.

Who can take this survey

This survey is open to elected and non-elected city officials and staff in U.S. cities with populations of 50,000 or more.

If you do not qualify to take the survey but are interested in receiving the report, please contact us.

What types of questions will the survey ask?

This survey seeks to gather input from officials and staff in medium and large U.S. cities to learn what cities are doing to address these topics together; as well as the related considerations, actions, needs, challenges, barriers, and successes cities encounter.

How will results from the research be used?

Results from this research will be shared with cities across the U.S., as well as with related organizations, academics, and other professionals. Recipients may use results to help identify ideas, solutions, and tools to help cities; likewise, results may be used to identify new areas of study and research.

How will I/my city be identified? Will you sell my contact information?

Results from this survey will be reported in aggregate. No findings will be attributed directly to you or to your city.

The survey will ask for your name and email address for tracking and verification purposes only. Your contact information will not sold or distributed to any third parties.


The survey will refer to several key concepts. As terminology used for these concepts can vary by region, city, department, or individual, the next three screens will provide definitions to avoid any confusion.

Please take a quick moment to familiarize yourself with these before proceeding to the survey.

Climate Resilience

This term describes efforts to successfully withstand impacts from future climate conditions and extreme weather events, such as flooding, hurricanes, sea-level rise, extreme heat events, and wildfires. Your city may refer to these efforts as climate action planning, resilience planning, disaster planning, etc.

Social Equity

This term describes fair, just, and equitable management and distribution of all public institutions and services, as well as the formation and implementation of public policy. Your city may refer to these efforts as social justice, racial equity, social inclusion, etc.

Social vulnerability/socially vulnerable populations

We use these terms to describe populations at increased health and economic risk due to having less or no access to various rights, opportunities, and resources than members of different groups. For the purposes of this survey, our focus is on racial/ethnic minorities and low-income households. Your city may also use terms such as social exclusion or marginalization to describe these populations’ conditions.