National Disaster Resilience Competition Overview

Dec 30, 2014

Northeastern Illinois Resilience Partnership

In partnership with CMAP and several non-profit groups, the City of Chicago, Cook County, DuPage County, and the State of Illinois are leading a coordinated effort to build resilience to flooding and climate impacts. This initiatve was catalyzed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) National Disaster Resilience Competition (NDRC), which was held for eligible communities that have experienced recent natural disasters. The competition aims to leave a legacy of resilience planning around the country by supporting innovative projects and institutional and policy changes to increase community resilience to the impacts of extreme weather and climate change. The investments resulting from this process will not only rebuild disaster-affected areas, but also better build the adaptive capacity of these regions in the long run. The NDRC awards are expected to be announced in December 2015.

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Resiliency in the Chicago Region

During the record-breaking floods in the spring of 2013, cumulative smaller rainstorms followed by a major storm of more than 5 inches of rain in 24 hours left the region in a state of emergency thousands of residents lacking power and many neighborhoods several feet underwater. The impacts of flooding extend beyond the April 2013 event: the region experienced significant property damage, business closures, utility outages, and environmental degradation. Many communities have not fully recovered from the damages to their infrastructure, housing, and ecosystems.

Taking advantage of this national competition, local decision-makers across the Chicago region are leading a coordinated effort to collect data, engage residents and local businesses, test pilot projects, and develop a region-wide plan for improving our resiliency to flooding and other climate impacts. 

These remaining recovery needs from recent disaster not only qualified the City of Chicago, Cook County, DuPage County, and the State of Illinois to be eligible for the NDRC, but also underscore the need to integrate long-term planning in disaster recovery investments. Building back damaged infrastructure is not enough; the region needs to be more resilient to growing impacts in the future.  Broader changes to the climate are expected to exacerbate current impacts of flooding. In addition to a projected increase in the frequency and magnitude of storms, more severe drought periods between rains and more frequent extreme heat days will have significant implications for the human, ecological, and economic health of the Chicago region.

Preparing communities for both unexpected natural disasters and anticipated future climate impacts along requires effective planning, flexibility, and long-lasting change. Initial efforts will be prioritized in communities that are most vulnerable to flooding. These geographies will be priority areas to focus initial resiliency efforts, and will serve as models for flood resilience planning in other communities. 

Upcoming Events

CMAP will be participating on an panel on Defining and Measuring Resilience at the American Evaluation Association Annual Conference. The panel, which will focus on approaches, tools, and trade-offs in resilience monitoring and evaluation, will be held on Friday, November 13, 2015 at 8:00 am at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, 151 E. Upper Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL 60601.

Recent Events

Cook County Public Meetings

  • Feb. 12 Blue Island City Hall East Annex 2434 W. Vermont Street, Blue Island, IL
  • Feb. 19 Downey Park 300 Jeffery Avenue, Calumet City, IL
  • Feb. 23 Robbins Community Center 13800 S Trumbull Ave, Robbins, IL

City of Chicago Public Meetings

  • Feb. 9 Austin Town Hall Park 5610 W. Lake St. Chicago
  • Feb. 10 North Lawndale Homan Sq. Park 3517 W. Arthington Chicago
  • Feb. 11 Humboldt Park Humboldt Park 1400 N. Sacramento Chicago
  • Feb. 17 Little Village St. Agnes of Bohemia Bishop Manz Hall 2658 S. Central Park Chicago
  • Feb. 18 Garfield Park Conservatory Community Room 300 N. Central Park Chicago

DuPage County Public Meeting

Thursday, Feb. 5 from 7:00 - 8:00 pm
Wheaton City Hall
303 West Wesley Street
Wheaton, IL 60187

Building Resilience Roundtable Series 
Mega-Storms, Mega-Regions, Mega-Plans
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
12:00-1:30 p.m.
Metropolitan Planning Council
140 S. Dearborn St. Suite 1400
Chicago, IL 


Contact Information

For more information on resiliency planning in your area, please contact the following people:

City of Chicago: Karen Weigert, Chief Sustainability Officer, Office of the Mayor,

Cook County: Jennifer Miller, Cook County Department of Planning and Development,

DuPage County: Mary Mitros, DuPage County Stormwater Management, 

Get Involved

There are many opportunities for regional partners to get involved in regional resilience planning.
We welcome the involvement of non-profit and community-based organizations, architects and
designers, engineers, landscape architects, researchers, and more to help build a more resilient region.

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