Hurricane Sandy reminded us all that we need to be prepared for extreme weather events. Currently New York, New Jersey and many states along the east coast are doing some hard thinking about how to make us less vulnerable to storms. But another thing that Sandy reminded us of is the importance of neighborhood cohesion during and after natural disasters. We at ioby saw this in action, we were amazed and inspired about the work being done to help neighbors in need.
This is why, in the weeks after Hurricane Sandy, ioby wanted to bring together citizens to talk about how we can make our neighborhoods stronger and more resilient. We believe that people know their own neighborhoods best and put all of the ideas together in a report, “Building A More Resilient City, Block by Block.” The report summarizes the ideas across all five boroughs, New Jersey and “everywhere else.” Over 380 people participated including, engineers, architects, energy experts, policy makers, artists, lawyers, business owners, nurses, activists, planners, academics, media and more.
We were thrilled with the result. The ideas were diverse–some practical, some not, some cost-effective, some not –but they all were thoughtful and specific to making our neighborhoods stronger. Some people thought big (modernizing the electricity grid) and others were more specific (e.g. stronger doc in Coney Island). We categorized the ideas into eight groups.
Imagine what the NYC Metro Area could look like if we had oyster shoals around lower Manhattan to blunt tidal surges, rainwater harvest systems in Brooklyn’s Red Hook, better systems to collect and recycle building materials in Western Queens, more walkability in the South Bronx, solar panels on the rooftops of industrial buildings in North Shore in Staten Island, or systems for businesses to partner with each other for recovery in Bay Shore, New Jersey. This would not only make our communities stronger in right now, but also more resilient to any future storms that come our way.
We hope that this report will contribute to the many other important conversations about increasing the resilience of NYC-area neighborhoods. We’re hosting one of the discussions today at the Municipal Arts Society’s “Charting the Road to Resilience” event, where we’ll talk more about the report and how we can bring ideas to life. You can download the ioby Report After Hurricane Sandy here.
Help Us Keep the Conversation Going
If you have ideas to make your neighborhood more resilient, we would love to hear them. Please submit your ideas here. All other information and projects related to Hurricane Sandy’s aftermath can be found at ioby.org/sandy.