I don’t really talk about my professional or academic life that often on this venue. Most of what you hear from me is about the music I make or about cats. However, there’s an exciting project that I’m working on in a course I’m taking at NYU called GovLab3.0. The project I’m working on is a response to much of the post-Hurricane Sandy recovery and discussion about resilience. If you’re feeling like this little guy, please read on.
Whether you live in the Northeast region or not, cities will be impacted by climate change and the science is clear that more intense weather will become the “new normal”. Much of the preparation for the next big storm in the New York region is focused on infrastructure. These projects are much needed, beneficial things such as better emergency systems, smarter placement of electrical equipment, and better drainage systems to redirect floodwaters. The wisdom behind these plans come from a wide range of experts who can think big. However, this is only capturing one perspective of the problem. Just as important as it is to think big, we also need to consider resilience on a smaller scale.
Walk down a street in New York and, on a nice summer day, you’ll find people parked out on the stoops. On my block, Jeannie & Joe hang out on my stoop. On my way to the train in the morning, they’ll rap to me about the new developments coming into my neighborhood. Admittedly, they know more about the block than I do as an urban planner. And they should know the neighborhood well; they’ve lived there since the 80s. My project aims to draw out this neighborly wisdom within a disaster context. I believe there’s a huge sharing potential to be had when a hurricane is coming. After Sandy, one of the most effective aid organizations was Occupy Sandy. It was powerful because it coordinated volunteers quickly and was able to share resources among those impacted the most. But Occupy is just one example and I’m sure that there are many other untold stories and wisdom to be heard. My project is an attempt to refocus the resilience lens back on the community level.
This is still a project in its iterative phases. I appreciate any feedback, advice, or collaborative ideas you may have.