In response to the Superstorm Sandy, which devastated New York City and countless other communities at the end of October, 2012, the Institute for Public Knowledge has established the Superstorm Sandy Research Initiative, which supports ongoing efforts to better understand the impact of Sandy specifically, and climate change and cities more generally.
Current IPK projects include:
Superstorm Research Lab
Max Besbris, Jessica Coffey, Daniel Aladana Cohen, Ned Crowley, Michael Gould- Wartofsky, Max Liboiron, Adam Murphree, Shelly Ronen, and David Wachsmuth
The Superstorm Research Lab (SRL) is a research collective working to understand the changes in how New York City policy actors, NGO leaders, activists, volunteers, and residents are thinking about social, economic and environmental issues following Hurricane Sandy. SRL is researching discourses concerning climate change, inequity, resilience, and governance coming out of the Superstorm. We produce traditional academic articles, but we are also pushing the boundaries of what it means to do scholarly work founded on the desire to create change.
Rebuild Rockaway: Sustainability and Resilience after Sandy
D. Ofelia Mangen
Superstorm Sandy has revealed an imperative to examine the dynamic interplay of the natural landscape and the built environment on the Rockaway peninsula, and to consider the role of sustainability and resilience in the ideation, design, and rebuilding of this urban coastal community. In this early stage of the process, my personal experience and that of my neighbors has revealed a dearth of governmental, informational, and economic resources for rebuilding our community sustainably and resiliently. How Rockaway rebuilds will be both a reflection of our community's priorities and capabilities, and a literal, physical foundation for what Rockaway can and will become. Understanding how these values are (and are not) included in this post-disaster recovery process has the potential to reveal avenues for future research; identify nodes for potential intervention (education, policy, urban planning, etc.); and inform formative assessments and summative evaluations of rebuilding efforts at the local, city, state, and national levels.
Sandy Social Impact Analysis
Hurricane Sandy was the largest Atlantic hurricane on record and resulted in an unprecedented weather event for New York City, in particular. The city's transportation infrastructure was shut down, tens of thousands were left homeless due to flooding, and more were left without power for days. Dozens were killed. Previous research has shown previously-marginalized populations (e.g. the poor, the elderly, and people of color) were particularly vulnerable to the consequences of severe weather events (Klinenberg 2002; Sharkey 2007). Initial reports corroborate this research, suggesting a disproportionate number of New York City deaths caused by the storm were among the elderly (Keller 2012).This project is a geostatistical analysis of the measureable aspects of Hurricane Sandy's impact, with a focus on flooding in New York City neighborhoods. The project is interested in the social characteristics of the people who lived in neighborhoods in New York City most-severely affected by the storm surge and flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy. Specifically, how does the race, class, and age makeup of those who live in flooded neighborhoods compare to the rest of New York City? This project also hopes to expand the scope beyond Hurricane Sandy and examine which communities are at risk of damage and/or disruption from a more severe weather event. In the case of either a storm of Sandy's magnitude that hits New York City directly or a more severe storm, which neighborhoods and demographic groups would be most affected? How well did the models of flooding reflect what actually happened?
Please contact IPK Assistant Director Sam Carter with any questions regarding this research initiative.