Planning for Resilience and Sustainability

HR&A applies 40 years of experience solving complex real estate and public policy problems to the mitigation and adaptation challenges faced by communities and property owners experiencing the growing risks of climate change.


Policymakers and asset holders the world over recognize the urgent need to address the causes of climate change and adapt to its effects. HR&A takes pride in having dedicated years of practice of addressing these problems using the unique, multi-disciplinary skill set that has reinforced our work for decades: we bring together public, non-profit, and private resources to create projects and develop initiatives that not only mitigate and adapt to climate change, but also build community cohesion and generate the private return that makes the projects viable.


The twin imperatives of resilience and sustainability require that climate-related problems must be considered broadly to be effectively addressed.  Climate adaptation efforts at all scales, from citywide plans to building and infrastructure hardening, must take into account the chronic stresses, such as social and economic inequity, environmental degradation, and aging infrastructure that exacerbate the impact of acute shocks such as storms and flooding.  Similarly, efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions must be grounded in the economics of feasibility, combining public and private funding sources in innovative ways to achieve viable long-term energy efficiency improvements and source reductions.


HR&A has pioneered our analytic approach to these problems by balancing our understanding of the perspectives of the private market with longstanding experience working in the public sector.  Our multidisciplinary approach combines our core expertise in financial analysis, real estate market dynamics, capital planning, public-private partnership development, stakeholder engagement, and institutional change management.


We have:

  • Developed some of the country’s most effective models of promoting energy efficiency reduction in residential and commercial property through crafting incentive programs, developing marketing strategies that deliver results, and managing community behavioral change initiatives;
  • Helped to create and implement New York City’s ambitious $20 billion plan to introduce climate change adaptation, as well as  monitor and limit greenhouse gas emissions – efforts we are now implementing across the country through the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities program and other initiatives;
  • Created an approach to financing climate change adaptation that views public capital funding, such as federal disaster recovery funding, as a catalyst, leveraging the value created through well-designed interventions that create multiple benefits; and
  • Developed a leading network capacity-building program deployed across the United States to assist communities in the process of rebuilding to address both the risks related to natural disasters and the chronic conditions that must also be addressed in these efforts.


Engagement and Capacity Building

We design, facilitate, and implement programs that build organizational capacity and prepare communities to think strategically about resilience and sustainability. HR&A works with government, not-for profit, and utility clients to design meaningful programs and public policies that incorporate diverse stakeholder perspectives, address risks and advance resilience and sustainability objectives.



Strategy Planning and Policy

We evaluate systems’ vulnerability and climate mitigation and adaptation needs at the regional, city, district, sectoral, and individual building scales to identify opportunities for implementation in strategic resilience and sustainability plans.




Funding, Design and Implementation

We test economic feasibility and design creative funding strategies for resilience and sustainability of infrastructure and the built environment through adaptation to risks of extreme climate conditions and energy efficiency interventions. These strategies respond to and leverage local context, integrating policy, urban design, engineering, and finance. We demonstrate to our clients that investments add value by diagnosing market failure, then prescribing market-based solutions.





  • In 2016, the Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded $1 billion in federal disaster recovery funding to 13 cities, counties and states across the country for the National Disaster Resilience Competition, which recognized a range programs developed through the Rockefeller Foundation’s Capacity Building Initiative program managed by HR&A.
  • American Road & Transportation Builders Association, Globe Award, First Place in Public Transit, New York Rising Community Construction Program, NY, 2014
  • American Planning Association, National Planning Achievement Award in Environmental Planning,  Arlington County’s Community Energy Plan, Arlington, VA, 2014
  • In 2013, the Department of Housing and Urban Development selected 10 of 148 teams as finalists in the Rebuild By Design HR&A led one of the finalist teams and supported two others, who received a combined $930 million in federal funds to be used towards implementation.
  • PowerGrid International Magazine Best Energy Efficiency and Demand Response Project Award,  Duke Energy’s Smart Energy Now Program Design and Management, Charlotte, NC, 2012
  • American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy Exemplary Low-Income Energy Efficiency Program, New York Energy $martSM Assisted Multifamily Program, New York, 2005