September 13, 2022 | Main Spotlight: Four Steps Towards More Resilient Main Streets | By: Hannah Mira Friedland, Associate Manager of Strategic Projects at Main Street America, and Marta Olmos, Communications Coordinator at Main Street America |
September is National Preparedness Month!
The past few years have illustrated the increasing urgency of creating more resilient communities, and Main Streets can play a critical role in supporting these efforts. Climate change is an unprecedented threat, and it can often seem daunting to try and tackle the changes we need to make, so we are sharing four actionable steps that Main Streets can quickly implement to improve their disaster resiliency today.
Research Your Region
Connect with State and Tribal Partners
Climate change has been settled science for decades, and there are already strong networks of dedicated scientists, communications professionals, nonprofits, and governmental groups who are working on resiliency in and around your community. Reach out to them, introduce them to the Main Street Movement, and brainstorm ways that you can support their existing efforts. Now is the time to prepare in considering what will be needed to preserve your community’s historic, cultural, and archeological resources.
The following state and tribal agencies can also support you in this process:
- State emergency management agencies: You can locate your state or territory’s state emergency management agency here.
- State Historic Preservation Officers (SHPOs) and Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (THPOs) are also helpful resources. To find SHPO contacts, you can visit the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers’ website. To find THPO contacts, you can visit the National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers’ website. Note that THPOs are not state-level agencies; rather, they are sovereign national-level agencies.
- Main Street Coordinating Programs are able to serve as an information sharing hub and provide downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts with funding or information about any available grant programs, technical assistance, educational workshops, and other hands-on support. They are especially helpful in helping to ensure that historic and cultural resources are brought up in state-level resilience and response conversations. They can also help connect downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts to the city planning process.
Incorporate Disaster Resiliency into your DEI Plan
- Will your region be subject to climate emigration or immigration?
- What infrastructure can you invest in to support communities fleeing climate disasters?
- How is climate change already impacting marginalized people in your community?
- What role can your organization play in mitigating these impacts?
Start Building Resiliency into your Design Projects
The best time to upgrade your buildings is today! From façade improvements to renovations and transformations, make sure every capital project integrates disaster preparedness standards. The nature of this work will depend on the research you do on what impacts your region is facing. For example, if your area will be prone to increasing flooding in the coming years, check out these flood adaptation guidelines for historic buildings from the National Park Service.
The National Alliance of Preservation Commission’s CAMP Resilience and Disaster Planning
initiative has created this collection
of preservation planning resources and sample city disaster preparedness plan. They have also gathered resources on preparedness funding options
, standards for building adaptations
, and risk assessment surveys
Main Street Community Disaster Preparedness and Resiliency Project