Characteristics of a Sustainable Community
Some U.S. communities, devastated by hurricanes and other hazard events in the first 5 years of the millennium, have demonstrated that developed, populated hazard areas may not be as sustainable as they should be. This is why it is important that communities are knowledgeable about what makes a community sustainable and what a community should pursue in order to achieve sustainability.

An essential characteristic of sustainable communities is resilience to disasters. A disaster-resilient community is one in which significant steps and actions have been taken to reduce the community's vulnerability to potential hazard events. When an event does occur, the rewards of these steps and actions include:

  • Saved lives.
  • Reduced damage to property.
  • Reduced economic losses.
  • Minimized social disruption.
  • Ability of local government to resume operations quickly.
  • Shorter recovery period for the community.
  • Improved attractiveness to individuals and businesses by demonstrating effectiveness in dealing with a disaster.

Communities pursue disaster resilience through one or all of the following:

  • Reducing risk to future development through location (planning), better codes, and implementation and enforcement of codes.
  • Taking steps to protect existing development.
  • Preparing people, property, critical infrastructure, and the economy to withstand and rebound from the impacts of disasters.