Including Housing in Resilient Infrastructure Policy and Planning

As it becomes more and more important to implement plans, programs, and policies to make our communities more resilient in the face of climate change, it is imperative that housing, and especially existing housing, be included. This section collects resources and examples about the intersection between resilient infrastructure and housing, with a focus on thermal control and flooding.

Policy Analysis and Recommendations

A Perfect Storm: Extreme Weather as an Affordable Housing Crisis Multiplier
For federal policymakers and advocates.
This report from the Center for American Progress details the impact of extreme weather disasters on the affordable housing and homelessness crises, and proposes a series of policy recommendations, including investing in federal programs, prioritizing equitable housing policies and just community development, and investing in resilient infrastructure. [url; CAP]

Safer and Stronger Cities: Strategies for Advocating for Federal Resilience Policy
For federal policymakers and advocates.
This report presents a series of policy recommendations for increased federal investment in city resilience and resilient infrastructure. [pdf; Rebuild by Design]

Community Resilience Toolkit
For local and state community developing and planning agencies and community-based organizations.
HUD’s toolkit is meant to help communities identify how climate risks affect them and consider actions and funding streams available to increase resilience. Actions are divided into planning, building and infrastructure, environment, and people. HUD has also marked actions that may fall under eligible uses of community and planning development funding. Issues include extreme heat (pages 7-9), sea level rise and coastal storms (pages 10-13), inland flooding (pages 14-17), and wildfire (pages 18-21). [pdf; HUD]

Building Adaptation and Design Resources

A Practical Guide to Climate-Resilient Buildings and Communities
For housing developers, builders, and planners. 
This guide from the United Nations includes a chapter on adaptation ideas for thermal regulation and comfort, which discusses site and building design, ventilation in various climates, shading and cool surfaces, cool climates, and materials. Issues include thermal regulation and comfort (starting page 39), stronger storms and flooding (starting page 61), and cyclones and wind-storms (starting page 67). [pdf; UN]

Hours of Safety in Cold Weather: A Framework for Considering Resilience in Building Envelope Design and Construction
For housing developers, builders, and providers; weatherization providers; and emergency planners and managers.
This brief from the Rocky Mountain Institute examines how homes perform during winter weather and in cases of power outages. It looks specifically at older homes, homes with Passive House building, and how weatherization efforts can help. [pdf; RMI]

Guide for Resilient Thermal Energy Systems Design in Cold and Artic Climates
For housing developers, builders, providers, and managers.
ASHRAE’s guide is meant for those involved in building planning and operation in cold and arctic climates and includes parameters for thermal energy system resilience, the building envelope, best practices for HVAC, plumbing, and heat supply, and other considerations, such as construction on permafrost. [pdf; ASHRAE]

Cold Climate Research Center
Based in Fairbanks, Alaska, the Cold Climate Housing Research Center (CCHRC) is an industry-based, nonprofit corporation created to facilitate the development, use, and testing of energy-efficient, durable, healthy, and cost-effective building technologies for people living in circumpolar regions around the globe.

  • Retrofits
    For homeowners and landlords.
    This page explains the common needs found in homes in Alaska, and how homeowners can prioritize retrofits to improve and weatherize their homes.
  • Projects
    This page collects projects, studies, and resources that the Research Center has created in the areas of building science, policy, design, and community work.

Local Examples

For local and state housing and community development and planning agencies, housing and building developers, and community-based organizations.

Resilient Oakland
This report outlines the City of Oakland’s plan for a more resilient city. Goals include promoting safe and healthy neighborhoods, increasing affordable housing stock, reducing current and future climate and seismic risks, and promoting urban greening for neighborhoods most in need. [pdf; City of Oakland]

Risk Analysis and Resilience Assessment
This report, prepared for the Delaware State Housing Authority, reviewed the housing authority’s portfolio of properties, conducted a vulnerability assessment and physical site visits, and developed recommendations for how to integrate resilience into agency standards. Climate hazards evaluated included extreme heat. The report also includes a resilience assessment toolkit and an emergency preparedness template that other agencies and property owners can use. [pdf; Delaware State Housing Authority]

Mobilizing Building Adaptation and Resilience
Mobilizing Building Adaptation and Resilience (MBAR) is a multiyear, multi-stakeholder knowledge and capacity building project led by British Columbia Housing. The project includes a series of design discussion primers, meant for building developers, that outline strategies for addressing various climate-related impacts, including heat waves. [url; BC Housing]

Guides and Case Studies for Cold and Very Cold Climates
The Department of Energy’s Building America program hosts this page which features a best practice guide for whole-house energy savings along with a series of case studies for both new construction and existing homes. [url; DOE]

Resilience Needs of Coastal Multifamily Affordable Housing
This resource summarizes LISC’s findings after evaluating hundreds of affordable housing units in coastal Massachusetts. The risks evaluated include coastal flooding and extreme heat. The report includes resilience recommendations for housing providers and building managers. [pdf; LISC]


Latest page update: August 16, 2022.