Rapid Vulnerability & Adaptation Tool for Climate-Informed Community Planning

Posted on: 7/07/2021 - Updated on: 8/03/2022

Posted by

Kathryn Braddock


The Rapid Vulnerability and Adaptation Tool for Climate-Informed Community Planning (RVAT) was developed to make climate adaptation planning a simple, direct, and feasible process for communities. The purpose of the tool is to improve understanding of community vulnerability to climate impacts and to develop implementable solutions that reduce vulnerability and/or increase resilience.

The RVAT is designed to cover the major steps of a basic climate adaptation planning process, which include:

  1. Project Scoping
  2. Vulnerability Assessment
  3. Adaptation Strategy Development
  4. Adaptation Implementation

This guide provides step-by-step coaching on the use of the RVAT by communities, including background information, worksheets, and instructions for filling out those worksheets.

This RVAT is a simple, four-step process designed for communities to evaluate their vulnerabilities to climate change and identify adaptation strategies to reduce those vulnerabilities. The RVAT starts with a community selecting one or more topics, such as comprehensive or hazard mitigation plan elements, sectors, or agencies, and considering how the selected topics are likely to be affected by climate change in addition to existing stressors. Once those vulnerabilities are identified, the community develops solutions to reduce vulnerabilities as well as the steps needed to put those solutions into practice.


Anyone can undertake the RVAT, although it is typically initiated by cities, counties, or other regional planning authorities. Because the RVAT is not conducted for a community but by a community, it is important to invite diverse stakeholders to participate in the process. Collaborative, multi-stakeholder efforts help to ensure diverse perspectives are heard and incorporated, build buy-in into the process and solutions, and can identify alternative avenues by which solutions can be implemented to maximize benefits and avoid harms.


Lara Hansen Jessi Kershner Eric Mielbrecht

Managing Organizations

EcoAdapt is at the center of climate change adaptation innovation. We provide support, training, and assistance to make conservation and management less vulnerable and more Climate Savvy. Over the past 200 years, great strides have been made in the world of conservation and now all of that is at risk because of climate change. EcoAdapt is working to ensure the success of these past efforts by delivering a framework for climate adaptation.