After the devastation of Superstorm Sandy, AIA New York spearheaded a large set of collaborators to investigate the short, intermediate and long-term impacts of the storm and the escalating effects of climate change on New York City.  The precedents from other cities and regions that have suffered similar events serve as a best practices from which we can rely as we begin to build back better and smarter.

Superstorm Sandy revealed that we have created a hard-to-defend interconnected built environment consisting of fragile land-use patterns, transport systems, storm water management and existing buildings.

The goals and opportunities contained within the Post-Sandy Initiative will help reverse the vulnerability we have inherited from centuries of misguided development. Key concepts and findings include:

  • Defensive TRANSPORTATION & INFRASTRUCTURE planning with simple adaptive efforts and passive solutions.
  • Address HOUSING to define the unique needs of multi-family buildings during extreme events to affect appropriate support from centralized agencies, training and urban planning in flood zones / coastal areas that could increase community resiliency.
  • CRITICAL FACILITIES & BUILDING’S like hospitals, police and data centers must be able to withstand the effects of a disaster and remain in operation. Strategies of vulnerability assessments, technology updates and implementation plans are outlined.
  • Cultural attitudes now favor attempts to soften rather than harden WATERFRONT If we are to continue to adapt, we will need to be even more versatile in designing coastal built environments.

The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee was responsible for the development of the Transportation and Infrastructure portion of this paper, which won an AIA National Award for advocacy.

Learn more about the Post-Sandy Initiative here.