Resilience in Tempe, AZ

Tempe's sustainability and resilience initiatives were typically housed within the Department of Public Works. To broaden the city's mission and commitment to sustainability, Tempe created a citizens' Sustainability Commission, and the city manager established a quarterly meeting with City Council. The updates are intended to promote a more deliberate cross-department collaboration and while reviewing and integrating a set of 87 sustainability initiatives identified across all operating departments.  

To aid in this effort, the Leadership in Community Resilience program led an internal executive-level Resiliency Workshop in coordination with the city's first Sustainability Manager. This workshop achieved the following goals: 

  • Provide the necessary departmental leadership to their operational areas of responsibilities;
  • Engage colleague Directors on an ongoing basis to provide a holistic approach as the city continues to develop sustainable best practices and align them with the city managers' strategic initiative;
  • Ensure that the concepts live past the tenure of individuals.  

The workshop was hosted in partnership with the ASU Global Institute of Sustainability, and will seek to identify shared initiatives and common performance metrics for city departments to better implement resilience strategies and to foster a productive relationship with the Sustainability Commission. Department leadership throughout the city will be challenged to identify ways that their programs align with the recently adopted strategic performance program initiated by the city manager and adopted by City Council. The city has also joined the Compact of Mayors, committing to benchmark and reduce local greenhouse gas emissions.

Threats and Hazards

State of Arizona natural hazards include tornadoes and flash flooding. According to the National Climate Assessment, there are significant increases in the number of consecutive frost-free days per year and as a result is projected to lead to further heat stress on plants and increased water demands for crops. Additional changes to the climate "Reduced (high-value specialty crop) yields from increasing temperatures and increasing competition for scarce water supplies will displace jobs in some rural communities." 


  • Staff Training & Capacity Building
  • Disaster Mitigation
Program Area