Coastal Smart Growth Home: Getting Started: Community Vulnerability Assessment


A vulnerability assessment can serve as the basis for developing strategies for reducing the risks from disasters. The assessment helps a community estimate the number of people at risk, including people with special needs; identify the number and location of buildings at risk, including critical facilities such as hospitals and schools; and examine the communication links and networks vulnerable to disruption during and after a disaster, including informal networks of communication such as church groups.

How to Get Started

Adaptation Planning for Coastal Communities

Attend this training to gain skills for incorporating adaptation strategies into planning processes. This course is designed for planners; coastal resource, floodplain, and emergency managers; and members of community groups and civic organizations. Provided by NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management.

Coastal Inundation Mapping

Attend this training to learn various methods for mapping current flooding and potential inundation scenarios using a GIS. Students connect to web map services, access elevation and water level data, create and manage digital elevation models, and map and develop inundation zones. Provided by NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management.

Risk and Vulnerability Assessment Checklist

Use this checklist to identify stakeholders to include in planning discussions for risk and vulnerability assessments. This checklist helps leaders consider a cross-section of local stakeholders, along with representatives from state, county, and regional entities. Available on NOAA’s Digital Coast.

Coastal Flood Exposure Mapper

This online visualization tool supports communities that are assessing their coastal hazard risks and vulnerabilities. The tool creates a collection of user-defined maps that show the people, places, and natural resources exposed to coastal flooding. The maps can be saved, downloaded, or shared. The current geography includes the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico. Available on NOAA’s Digital Coast.