A Year After Sandy, Living Dangerously by the Sea

Interesting article, and my favorite quote from it contains something I think about a lot: if we’re going to live in harm’s way (and a lot of us will continue to do so), then we need to figure out how to build resilient communities. Here’s the quote:

“So if we’re going to keep living in harm’s way, we have to do our best to reduce the harm. That means prioritizing resilience, which has replaced adaptation as the term of choice for city planners. Resilience means understanding that disasters like storms and floods will happen — there’s no adapting them away — and what we need to do is build homes, communities, cities and countries that can take the punch of a Sandy without hitting the canvas for the count. It means being creative about the challenges we’ll face, knowing that they’ll evolve in the future. ‘Cities have a tendency to prepare for the thing they got hit by in the past,’ says Mitch Landrieu, mayor of New Orleans. ‘We have to be ready for anything that might come our way, and be flexible about what we’ll need to respond.’”

Science & Space

Earlier this month I stood outside the Babbio Center at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J., looking out over the Hudson River toward Manhattan. When Hurricane Sandy struck the New York area on Oct. 29 of last year, the storm pushed the river over its banks, and the narrow streets of the New Jersey city filled with water like a bathtub. Standing next to me that day were Alan Blumberg and Tom Herrington, ocean engineers at Stevens. Before Sandy hit, Blumberg and Herrington had predicted the massive extent of the flooding that would result from the storm and the damage that would be done to Hoboken, which at its border along the Hudson sits just 4 or 5 ft. above the river — even less at high tide, which happens to be when Sandy made landfall.

Today the scientists and their colleagues at Stevens are trying to improve…

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