Planning can make communities safer. Techniques range from avoiding floodways and areas likely to be hit by landslides to designing around other natural hazards and creating human-built environments that discourage criminal activity. This chapter provides a broad introduction to planning to deal with floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires and landslides, and to applying principles of Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) to neighborhoods and entire communities.

Weblinks from Chapter


  1. What natural hazards are potential threats to your community?   Does your community have appropriate warning and evacuation plans for those threats?
  2. Take a walk through a downtown area near your home. Is most of the route subject to easy natural surveillance?  Is it closely associated with buildings whose occupants are likely to have a sense of guardianship?  If the answer to either question is “no”, how hard would it be to make that walking route more defensible?
  3. Look at road maps for newly developed areas of your community. Are there multiple points of access to new neighborhoods?  How difficult would it be to add points of access those that appear to need more?
  4. Go on-line and find the floodplain maps for your community. Is there much development in the floodplain?

Discussion Questions

  1. How should elected officials in your community balance the desire of some people to live on cul-de-sacs with the need for multiple access routes to and from neighborhoods – both for emergency vehicles entering and for residents leaving during an evacuation?


Supplemental Resources

See “Weblinks from Chapter” for extensive list of supplemental resources.

Common Search Terms

Use these terms in search engines to find additional examples and other resources:

evacuation plan, floodplain map, wildfire hazard area or maps, landslide hazard areas or maps, earthquakes, tornado safety, CPTED, crime prevention through environmental design, disaster planning