On the Waterfront in Post-Sandy New York

On Places, Tom Vanderbilt surveys the landscape and politics of New York City after Hurricane Sandy, focusing on both early response and long-range planning.

Read Time: 1 minute

June 1, 2013, 5:00 AM PDT

By Places Journal


For several years New York City has been exploring how to plan for climate change, but last fall Hurricane Sandy exposed the many vulnerabilities of the coastal metropolis. As Tom Vanderbilt writes: "The sea will not be forgotten."

On Places, Vanderbilt surveys the landscape and politics of both early response and long-range efforts, and he explores the persistent challenges — political, economic, cultural — that make it hard to transform a centuries-old settlement.

From the East River Esplanade (one of the few places on Manhattan where you can “get down and touch the water”) to the South Ferry Station where a bundle of construction timber caused $1 billion in damages, from the Red Hook IKEA that became a federal disaster recovery center to the ambitious plans for Cornell's Tech Campus on Roosevelt Island, Vanderbilt gets on the ground with experts facing the new reality of planning for storm surges and rising seas.

Thursday, May 30, 2013 in Places Journal

Chicago Commute

The Right to Mobility

As we consider how to decarbonize transportation, preserving mobility, especially for lower- and middle-income people, must be a priority.

January 26, 2023 - Angie Schmitt

Sharrow bike markings on black asphalt two-lane road with snowy trees

Early Sharrow Booster: ‘I Was Wrong’

The lane marking was meant to raise awareness and instill shared respect among drivers and cyclists. But their inefficiency has led supporters to denounce sharrows, pushing instead for more robust bike infrastructure that truly protects riders.

January 26, 2023 - Streetsblog USA

View of stone-paved street with pedestrians and "Farmers Market" neon sign on left and old buildings on right in Seattle, Washington

Push and Pull: The Link Between Walkability and Affordability

The increased demand for walkable urban spaces could make them more and more exclusionary if cities don’t pursue policies to limit displacement and boost affordability.

January 27, 2023 - Smart Cities Dive

View of Tacoma, Washington with Mount Rainier in background

Tacoma Developing New Housing Policy

The city’s Home in Tacoma plan is designed to address the region’s growth and rising housing prices, but faces local backlash over density and affordability concerns.

February 2 - The Urbanist

Green alley under construction

Green Alleys: A New Paradigm for Stormwater Management

Rather than shuttling stormwater away from the city and into the ocean as quickly as possible, Los Angeles is now—slowly—moving toward a ‘city-as-sponge’ approach that would capture and reclaim more water to recharge crucial reservoirs.

February 2 - Curbed

Aerial view of residential neighborhood in La Habra, California at sunset

Orange County Project Could Go Forward Under ‘Builder’s Remedy’

The nation’s largest home builder could receive approval for a 530-unit development under an obscure state law as the city of La Habra’s zoning laws hang in limbo after the state rejected its proposed housing plan.

February 2 - Orange County Register