top of page


For over three decades of practice, Laurie Johnson has worked to improve the urban environment and help reduce, manage, and communicate natural and man-made risks.
Urban Planning

A member of the American Institute of Certified Planners since 1991, Laurie Johnson began her planning career providing consulting services to communities in the San Francisco Bay Area that included preparation of general plan elements, specific plans, and environment impact reports, and the processing of land use planning applications.

She now combines her expertise in urban planning, earth science, and risk management to help cities and counties address complex challenges, particularly mitigating hazards and regulating land use in hazardous areas, including landslide-prone hillsides, earthquake fault zones, and liquefaction and flood-prone areas along rivers and coasts. Notable projects include:

  • Advisor on the implementation of probabilistic tsunami hazard mapping into land use and development planning and policies for the State of California

  • Research on different planning, funding, and governance arrangements for the adaptive reuse of underutilized and vacant lands for Regenerate Christchurch and Waimakariri District Council, New Zealand, and New Orleans Redevelopment Agency

  • Land use planning specialist in the development of a manual for local governments with strategies for managing seismic and (current and future) flooding risk in urban and urbanizing areas of the San Francisco Bay Area

  • Urban planning and risk management consultant on a slope stabilization study for the community of La Conchita in Ventura County, California, including stakeholder analyses, risk/loss estimations, and development of a decision framework to evaluate risk management options, including potential large-scale engineering and land buyout projects ​

  • Lead author of Planning for the Unexpected, a Planning Advisory Service report of the American Planning Association on the application of risk management in land-use development​

  • Assessment of local governments’ use of geologic hazards information in general planning, public works, and the review of site development and building construction projects for the California and U.S. geological surveys​​

Disaster Recovery


Laurie Johnson has developed an extensive portfolio of disaster recovery expertise since beginning her career in the San Francisco Bay Area shortly before the M6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake struck in1989. She has worked with both public and private sector clients in planning for and responding to earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, and man-made disasters across the U.S. and the world. Specific projects include:


  • Advisor on post-disaster recovery management for the City of Christchurch, New Zealand following the 2010-2011 earthquake series and the Borough of Sea Bright, New Jersey, impacted by Hurricane Sandy

  • Advisor on pre-disaster recovery planning and governance policies and procedures for the City of Oakland and City and County of San Francisco, California and the Wellington Regional Civil Defence Emergency Management Group, New Zealand

  • Research on communities at risk of long-term recovery from a scenario M7 earthquake on the Hayward fault in the San Francisco Bay Area as part of the U.S. Geological Survey's HayWired scenario project

  • Lead author on long-term recovery planning processes and implementation,for an update to the American Planning Association’s guidebook on Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery, funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency

  • Lead disaster recovery planner on the citywide recovery and rebuilding plan and comprehensive recovery framework for the Unified New Orleans Plan following Hurricane Katrina.

  • Recovery management member of the Post-Disaster Technical Assistance Team funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the City of Grand Forks, North Dakota following the devastating 1997 flood. Lead author on the city's recovery action plan and work program

  • Developer and facilitator of a training exercise for local officials on recovery and rebuilding after earthquakes with exercises in cities across California and the U.S.

Risk Management


Laurie Johnson has extensive expertise in catastrophe insurance, risk management, and loss estimation. She has been responsible for the business planning and product management of both proprietary and publicly-available risk modeling software, that model natural catastrophe perils around the world. 

She also developed and led a 24/7 reporting service for the re/insurance industry on global disasters, including loss estimation, real-time web-based communications with clients and the media, field reconnaissance, and post-event analyses. Reactions Magazine named her one of the global insurance industry's 50 rising stars in December 2005, in large part for her risk communications and outreach following the devastating 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons in the U.S.

She now applies her expertise to advise both public entities, as well as property and casualty insurers, in understanding catastrophe science, catastrophe models, and managing their exposure to natural catastrophe risk. Notable projects include:


  • Enterprise and strategic risk advisor to the California Earthquake Authority--the state's residential earthquake insurance program--assisting with enterprise risk management, post-earthquake planning, and community seismic resilience initiatives

  • Executive Strategic Advisor for the New Zealand Earthquake Commission on development and implementation of its resilience strategy

  • Public policy advisor on the U.S. Geological Survey's HayWired (M7 Hayward fault earthquake), SAFFR California tsunami, and ARkStorm (California catastrophic winter storm flood) scenarios

  • Project director and technical editor on a critical assessment of lifeline system performance and understanding societal considerations in post-disaster recovery for the National Institute of Standards and Technoloy's Community Disaster Resilience planning program

  • Project manager for the study of lifelines interdependencies for the City and County of San Francisco Lifelines Council

© Laurie Johnson Consulting | Research 2024

bottom of page