Rethinking Urban Design in Hurricane Sandy's Wake

Friday, November 02, 2012

Residents recovering a lost sign at Breezy Point, Queens after Hurricane Sandy. (Stephen Nessen)

With its skyscrapers, bustling population, and crowded city streets, it’s easy to forget that Manhattan is an island, and that New York City is a coastal zone.

Even though Superstorm Sandy delivered catastrophic damage to parts of the city, a 2009 panel on climate says it's not all that surprising that a event like this has occurred. In fact, climate change experts had long predicted that rising sea levels and a storm of Sandy's magnitude would produce massive flooding throughout the city.

Alan Weisman, author of "The World Without Us," explains how to rethink New York's environment to make conditions for sustainable moving forward.


Alan Weisman

Produced by:

Brad Mielke

Comments [2]

iby from n22 5hj

heres a short poem/rap for you lots about new orleans and its hurrricane kartina ....ehhhem basically:

a city weeps drowning in tears,
used to leave behind all thier fears

filling the bowl that was once a city,
with water that was just way too FREAKY:
bones,sewige and all sorts of things,
withcopters starin not a single eye stings.

thanx for listning..... :)

Jan. 23 2013 01:51 PM
David from Rochester, Mi.

Great book Alan. America is in trouble all over due to lack of urban planning, not just on the coast but in the midwest as well. New cities aren't really planned anymore, they just happen. Here in Michigan, major cities were laid out in the 1700's and 1800's. Other "cities" here just happened as winding subdivisions filled in 640 acre square miles and the population became enough that a city government needed to form. In traditional city design people live close to an urban core where farmers can bring fresh produce for people to buy. Now we live miles from grocery stores so if we are suddenly stranded without electricity or cars, we are in trouble. We are seeing how fragile our society is in the wake of the hurricane/megastorm. 100 years ago we were not yet completely dependent on cars. In the wake of a storm like this, we would rely on animals that did not run on gasoline to get around and only half of U.S. homes had electricity. Evacuation is another huge problem. In a city like New York, the population density does not allow for a smooth evacuation. In the suburbs the overcrowded roads are easily choked and in the event of a major catastrophe, an overwhelming majority of people would be stuck without food, water or a way to escape. We really need to enforce urban planning if we want to ensure the highest survival rates and lowest economic interruptions as the weather continues to worsen.

Nov. 02 2012 10:52 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.