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Hurricane Sandy Recovery: Lessons Learned

    Seaside Heights, New Jersey, USA – December 5, 2012: Hurricane Sandy left the Jetstar roller coaster in the Atlantic Ocean. The town’s boardwalk was destroyed in the storm.

    Hurricane Sandy devastated the East Coast in 2012, causing an estimated $65 billion in damages to New York and the surrounding region. The official response was equally unprecedented: a design competition, called Rebuild by Design, that identified several demonstration projects to promote economic, environmental, and social resilience in the affected communities. The competition was organized by U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Municipal Art Society, the Regional Plan AssociationNYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge, and The Van Alen Institute, with support from The Rockefeller Foundation, and a new report [PDF] is itemizing lessons learned from the process and its outcomes. The report names ten key takeaways to help guide future efforts:

    • Design for and encourage projects that provide multiple benefits
    • Achieving comprehensive resilience will require a long-term approach
    • Align multiple streams of funding & administrative requirements
    • Create more flexibility in disaster recovery
    • Identify additional funding sources to support long-term monitoring and maintenance
    • Use lessons learned from project implementation to reform permitting
    • Encourage coordination across agencies and levels of government
    • In addition to infrastructure projects, pursue legal and policy mechanisms
    • Encourage better pre-disaster planning and mitigation
    • Encourage robust public engagement and partnerships