Author ORCID Identifier

George Homsy:

Mildred E. Warner:

Document Type


Publication Date



sustainability, disaster planning, local government


In this paper, we examine the connections between resiliency and sustainability by asking: can disaster planning lead to more sustainability actions? In a survey we conducted of 1,899 cities, towns, and counties across the United States in 2015, we found that disaster plans are three times more common than sustainability plans. Our regression models find both types of plans lead to sustainability action as does regional collaboration across the rural-urban interface. However, we find that hazard mitigation planning may be done without including sustainability staff, citizens, and other officials. After controlling for motivations, capacity, and cooperation, we find rural communities are more likely to have sustainability plans than suburbs, though their level of sustainability action is lower due to capacity constraints. Our models of multilevel governance find local motivations balance sustainability’s concept of environment, economic development, and social equity – and are more important drivers of action than grassroots or higher level government funding and policy. This bodes well in a context where federal government leadership on sustainability is absent.

Publisher Attribution

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Homsy, G. C., Liao, L. and Warner, M. E. (2019), Sustainability and Disaster Planning: What Are the Connections?. Rural Sociology. doi:10.1111/ruso.12262, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.



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