NYC Studies How to Build Resiliency

In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, a new task force convened by New York's Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and City Council speaker Christine C. Quinn will look into potential changes to the city's building code, with recommendations due next summer.

The Building Resiliency Task Force, to be chaired by Russell Unger, executive director of the Urban Green Council, is being charged with taking "an in-depth look at how to prepare city buildings for future storms and infrastructure failures." As Unger told reporter Mireya Navarro, "the new group would need to address both direct impacts from the storm, like structure collapse and flooding, and secondary ones, like power losses from utility failures."

"Some of the potential measures [to be considered] are relatively simple, like keeping sandbags handy and installing floodgates at building entrances. Others are more complicated, like relocating critical equipment like boilers above ground level or encasing them in watertight enclosures and rebuilding houses on concrete piles."

"What does not seem to be getting consideration, at least for now, is banning development altogether in the city’s flood zones, humble or affluent," says Navarro.

“'This is not a viable policy option in New York City, and to be honest, nor is it in any other major coastal city I’ve been working,' said Jeroen Aerts, a water risk expert from the Free University in Amsterdam who has been hired by the mayor’s office to assess flood protections. 'The stakes of developers and general economic activities in the waterfront are too high.'”

Full Story: After Storm, Dry Floors Prove Value of Exceeding City Code

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