6 Roles for Local Government in Building Resilient Communities

27 February 2024Development, Governmentbusiness strategy, community, culture, Data, growth mindset, innovation, land bank, local government, municipal, permits, Sustainability



Within the dynamic backdrop of urban development, the renovation of buildings emerges as a powerful tool for local governments to foster resilient communities. This transformative process addresses economic, functional and environmental factors, paving the way for improved quality of life. As municipalities face challenges such as gentrification, market changes and community issues, local governments play a crucial role in steering redevelopment projects toward success.

nine people sitting at conference table with one person standing in front of whiteboard explaining something using hands, local government, resilient communities

Market-Responsive Strategies:

Effective local government leaders understand the importance of aligning housing and community redevelopment strategies with market conditions. Municipal planning and funding processes should be flexible enough to adapt to changing circumstances. Historical market downturns, such as those in the early 1990s, 2001, and 2008-2009, underscore the need for adaptability. A proactive, data-based approach enables resourceful city officials to assess situations, create policies and develop sustainable programs that respond to current market dynamics.

Strategic Allocation of Resources:

Active local governments are key drivers of community redevelopment, shaping efforts through clear strategies and focused policies. By allocating general funds or creating community redevelopment grants, municipalities can spearhead initiatives that address the specific needs of their communities. Collaboration with banks, foundations, government officials, and community development corporations – nonprofits formed to support and revitalize communities – amplifies the sustainable impact of these efforts.

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Streamlining Processes for Timely Approval:

Timeliness in regulatory and administrative tasks is a known challenge in the development industry. Local governments can make a substantial impact by streamlining processes for approving zoning changes, projects and permits. Collaboration with other stakeholders in the community redevelopment system enhances speed and efficiency. This streamlined approach ensures that the positive momentum of redevelopment projects is not hindered by bureaucratic delays.

person with clipboard working with a pen on a checklist, local government, resilient communities

Mitigating Internal Conflicts:

Internal conflicts within municipal governments are common but can be particularly challenging when they involve community redevelopment – affecting an area where people already live and call home. To mitigate conflicts, high ranking officials, such as mayors, trustees or commissioners, need to champion the importance of thriving neighborhoods over personal disputes. Improving relationships within the community redevelopment system, possibly through ad-hoc committees, helps resolve issues and ensure a collaborative, focused and more sustainable approach.

Championing Redevelopment:

High ranking officials can champion community redevelopment by attracting staff with entrepreneurial mindsets, advocating for resource allocation and determining how to involve other stakeholders. Their leadership ensures that the municipality’s goals are emphasized, creating an environment conducive to successful redevelopment projects.

blue sky, white clouds above three abandoned buildings along a sidewalk, local government, resilient communities

Funding Support and Land Banking:

Funders, through financial influence and public platforms, can encourage municipalities to actively support community-based efforts in capacity building. Within communities, this process develops and strengthens skills, abilities, processes, and resources needed in order to adapt and thrive.

Additionally, cities and towns can be urged to allocate more funds for affordable housing initiatives. As described by HUD (US Department of Housing and Urban Development), there is also an option for local governments to use the strategy of land banking: acquiring, maintaining, managing, and repurposing vacant and foreclosed properties, abandoned houses, and forgotten buildings. Repurposing this inventory of properties for community redevelopment is a sustainable approach and could be more widely adopted with the right support.


The renovation of buildings, properties and neighborhoods can be a catalyst for resilient communities. Local governments, through strategic planning, streamlined processes and collaborative efforts, can overcome obstacles they face and drive successful redevelopment initiatives. By prioritizing community wellbeing over internal conflicts and embracing innovative strategies, municipalities can lay the foundation for a more vibrant, economically stable and environmentally sustainable future.

Learn more about resilient communities in the eBook, “Building Resilient Communities and Protecting Our Environment for a Sustainable Future.”



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