Legal & Policy Toolkits for Informed Decisionmaking


The Georgetown Climate Center has developed several legal and policy toolkits to assist states and communities working to build resilience to the impacts of climate change. A toolkit is a collection of practical legal and policy tools, best and emerging practices, and case studies on a specific subject. The toolkits are designed to help inform state and local decisionmaking by identifying policy options and tradeoffs, legal considerations, and decisionmaking frameworks. 

Each toolkit includes practical legal and policy tools, best and emerging practices, and case studies from across the U.S. In addition, each toolkit was created by GCC staff in collaboration with leading federal, state, and local policymakers, affected community members, Georgetown Law faculty and students, and other experts. The Managed Retreat, Equitable Adaptation, and Green Infrastructure toolkits are presented in an interactive online format, which allows for dynamic updating as new tools, best practices, and case studies are put into practice. For more information and to access each toolkit, use the links below. For any questions, email

GCC's Legal & Policy Toolkits

The Managed Retreat Toolkit is the nation’s first online comprehensive legal and policy resource for states and communities considering the voluntary movement of communities and transition of ecosystems away from vulnerable coastal areas as part of their adaptation strategies. It presents planning, acquisition, market-based, and other tools and provides frameworks to help decisionmakers balance social, economic, environmental, legal, and administrative costs and benefits. 

The Equitable Adaptation Legal & Policy Toolkit provides resources for policymakers and community members working to put frontline communities first in adaptation planning and implementation. The toolkit focuses on policy options for advancing procedural equity through community-driven engagement, governance and budgeting, and data tools; and substantive equitable outcomes in sectors ranging from affordable housing to public health to green space, and more. 

The Green Infrastructure Toolkit presents solutions for local governments looking to manage stormwater, reduce urban heat, and address other challenges through the use of permeable or vegetated alternatives to traditional hardscape in the built environment. The toolkit addresses options for piloting, scaling up, funding, and communicating about green infrastructure approaches, as well as integrating equity and environmental justice considerations.

The Sea Level Rise and Coastal Land Use Toolkit explores 18 different land-use tools that can be used to preemptively respond to the threats posed by sea-level rise to both public and private coastal development and infrastructure, and strives to assist governments in determining which tools to employ to meet their unique socio-economic and political contexts.

The Urban Heat Adaptation Toolkit is designed to help local governments reduce the effects of summer heatwaves – which climate change is making increasingly frequent and severe – on their communities and citizens. It provides an analytic tool for policy makers to consider a combination of four built-environment changes (cool roofs, green roofs, cool pavements, and urban forestry), providing clear criteria for selecting among these approaches.