Building resilience through land use planning

Australia has a history of high consequence natural hazards such as bushfires, cyclones, floods, storms and extreme heat. Land use planning that considers natural hazard risk is the single most important mitigation measure in minimising the increase in future disaster losses in areas of new development. The new handbook focuses on land use planning for new development and its role in supporting disaster resilient communities.

AIDR is pleased to announce the publication of the highly anticipated handbook Land Use Planning for Disaster Resilient Communities.

The new handbook presents the national principles for good practice in land use planning to build disaster resilient communities. It establishes community wellbeing and disaster resilience as the overarching aim of land use planning and presents a procedural framework which can be applied across the decision-making process at different levels of land use planning.

Incorporating contemporary understanding and information on the nature of risks and natural hazards, technology and information sharing, risk assessment techniques, risk treatments and scenario modelling, the handbook summarises significant natural hazards and their impacts in Australia, providing background information about the key concepts such as vulnerability, exposure and risk.

The handbook focusses on how land use planning for new developments can be undertaken collaboratively and highlights that effective land use planning requires input from a broad range of stakeholders including:

  • urban and regional planners
  • hazard leaders
  • developers
  • communities
  • businesses
  • local government
  • emergency services
  • state and territory government agencies.

The handbook is intended to guide and assist stakeholders to build capability in and understanding of the role of land use planning in natural hazard risk management to:

  • build awareness of and capability in planners engaging with natural hazard and emergency managers
  • integrate consideration of the risks of natural hazards into the planning process
  • provide understanding of the reasons for and main mechanisms of risk management in land use planning in communities
  • provide understanding on how decisions of different stakeholders in planning affect communities’ natural hazard risks.

The handbook fulfils a critical role in national resilience under the policy framework established by the National Strategy for Disaster Resilience and reflects increasing national and international focus on the need to reduce disaster risk and build disaster resilience, as considered in the National Disaster Risk Reduction Framework, Profiling Australia’s Vulnerability and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

The new Land Use Planning for Disaster Resilient Communities Handbook is now freely available online on the AIDR Knowledge Hub. Hard copies are also available to order via the AIDR shop.