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Developing a Framework for Creating a Livable and Resilient New York


Over a year ago, Superstorm Sandy struck the Northeast coast, knocking out power, flooding our homes and businesses, and dramatically changing our coastal communities. Since then, individuals and organizations from around the region have mobilized to assist their neighbors, aid impacted communities in their rebuilding efforts, and begin to consider new ways to protect New York and the surrounding region from the next disruptive event. With an active influx of volunteers, a dramatic reshaping of organizational programs and political agendas, and new opportunities for philanthropic and federal funding, professionals and volunteers across sectors are working towards creating plans for a livable and resilient New York. As we begin to transition into the next administration, the Municipal Art Society of New York believes it is necessary that this momentum not only continues, but strengthens as we enter a period of intense planning, critical decision making and implementation of new resilience strategies.

Reflecting a number of planning priorities and synthesizing the vast efforts of MAS and our partner organizations in the resilience arena, MAS has released a report outlining a policy and planning framework for creating a livable and resilient New York. All Hands on Deck: Mobilizing New Yorkers for a Livable and Resilient New York is a roll up of listening and interpreting all the voices from our resilience programs and events over the last year, our involvement in the Mayor’s Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency community workshops, and our role in supporting the management and coordination of the Rebuild by Design competition, as well as suggestions and recommendations from our many partners in the resilience field. The report, available here, proposes four key principles to guide our resilience efforts – transparency, scalability, collaboration, and inclusivity – and then these four priorities for action moving forward:

  1. Mobilize existing resources and diverse expertise;
  2. Strengthen local capabilities;
  3. Invest in flexible and adaptive infrastructure (both hard and soft); and
  4. Establish urban policies that foster resilience through innovation and provide leadership globally.

MAS first introduced the report to its partners at its December MASNYC Resilience Roundtable. Bringing together key players from post-Sandy resilience work on a monthly basis, this roundtable discussion focused on the policy priorities to carry the resilience agenda forward with the new City administration.

At this critical juncture, it is important to marshall ‘All Hands On Deck’ to create a resilience agenda that ensures the progress made thus far continues, and even accelerates. The coastal communities of New York were last disrupted by Sandy in October 2012, however, there is no saying what the next ‘shock’ may be. As we move into 2014, New Yorkers can play an active role in building the livability and resilience of New York City’s communities.