One year ago today Hurricane Sandy slammed into the New York metropolitan region after devastating many islands in the Caribbean. Nearly three hundred people died in the New York area as a result of the storm, and an estimated $68 billion of damage was done to communities in the region. In addition to this terrible toll, Sandy raised troubling questions about the future of cities in general and New York City in particular in the face of climate change. Today, one year later, questions about how to build urban resilience in the face of the multifarious challenges of climate change are much debated. What can we learn from post-Sandy reconstruction efforts about how to build more resilient cities? Contributors to this dossier, edited by Ashley Dawson, weigh in about the legacy of Hurricane Sandy.

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  New York City has nearly six hundred miles of coastline. Four of the city’s five boroughs are built on islands, and New York is linked together by a network of bridges and tunnels that soar over and plunge under the waters of our maritime home. We live, as May Joseph recently reminded us, in a fluid city. We turn our backs on the dangerous waters that surround us to our great peril. Yet for many years this is precisely what we have done. This is the story of how we forgot the sea. For many years, experts of various… >>

  Approaching Broad Channel en route to Far Rockaway, flotillas of ducks frolic, planes take off from John F. Kennedy Airport, and in the distance, the Rockaways loom, surrounded by a placid expansive bay. It is a flawless, sunny October a year since Hurricane Sandy ravaged this region of New York, paralyzing its residents and severing it from the mainland for seven months. Storm damage had destroyed the A train and S train tracks extensively, buckling them like playthings to be disposed. Without the subway connections, Far Rockaway was unmoored like a giant ship sinking gradually, its misery too far… >>

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  When Sandy’s waters finally receded, they left behind the devastation of lost lives and a mountain of debris. And they also exposed how a system of historic inequity perpetuates itself in real life, real time and real suffering. A network of people from all walks of life who identified as members of Occupy Wall Street came together quickly and organically to intervene. Organizers set out to practice the anarchist principle of mutual aid on the ground. By bringing the best of Zuccotti Park to people that mostly had no interest in an anti-capitalist movement, and in some cases even… >>

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  Governments make disaster plans. Between municipal, state, and federal level agencies, the amount of planning for potential disasters is enormous. But during Hurricane Sandy, plans that took several years and millions of dollars to produce were thrown out almost immediately. In fact, discarding disaster plans is entirely normal, and may even be desirable. Based on interviews with officials across city and state governments as well as first responders on the ground, our research reveals that New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg marginalized the city’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) from the first moments of the storm’s arrival, and relocated city… >>

  Nearly a year after Hurricane Sandy struck New York City, housing-related problems persist even in areas where repairs and rebuilding have taken place. The signs of ongoing crisis are often hard to see: mold grows underneath hastily replaced flooring and drywall, damaged homes go into foreclosure as displaced owners struggle to pay rent elsewhere, and residents begin to experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While the latter example may not immediately appear to be a housing-related problem, research on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy reveals a complex relationship between housing damage and emotional distress. Visible… >>

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  Mayor Bloomberg’s appointment of Marc Ricks, a vice-president at Goldman Sachs, to the team overseeing the Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts was an early indication that the crisis might be used, in classic disaster capitalist fashion, to promote deregulation, reduce public services, and reward entrepreneurial business development. Studies of economic reconstruction after Katrina and 9/11 showed how market-centered policies focusing on tax breaks and private sector subsidies were systematically favored over direct government outlays, allowing developers to prosper at the expense of the public benefit. In the wake of Sandy, the face-off about the future of the city’s waterfront offers… >>


After Sandy

By on October 29th, 2013 0 Comments »
  The memories are very clear. I remember the transformer exploding. A flash of white. Purple, green and a neon pink. Then the lights go out. Cut.   I am on Rockaway Beach, beloved title of The Ramones for the first time. Only I am 150 yards from the shore. Cut.   I am at 520 Clinton, a church turned into Zuccotti Park indoors. The energy is palpable, the numbers substantial and only a few are old OWS types.   Cut. Staten Island, weeks after the storm. It’s still a mess. A Uniqlo truck turns up to dispense free stuff… >>

  Photographer Erica Lansner traveled by bicycle from her home in Morningside Heights to Staten Island the week after Hurricane Sandy hit New York. During the course of a week, she visited and photographed the people and neighborhoods near New Dorp Beach, the area which suffered the most devastation from the storm. One of her photos from Staten Island is included in the exhibit: Rising Waters: Photographs of Sandy, at the Museum of the City of New York from October 29 — March 2, 2014. [slideshow_deploy id='3995'] >>

  Anne McClintock is the Simone de Beauvoir Professor of English and Women’s and Gender Studies at University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has been the recipient of many awards, including two MacArthur-SSRC Fellowships. She is the author of Imperial Leather: Race, Gender and Sexuality in the Colonial Contest. She took these photographs in the Far Rockaways, NYC. [slideshow_deploy id='3901'] >>

  As we wound down this dossier on Hurricane Sandy and NYC, Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda struck the Philippines a devastating blow. The still-unfolding tragedy is a stark reminder of the fact that climate change is not experienced evenly. While Hurricane Sandy did billions of dollars of damage to the New York region and has left many struggling, this impact pales in comparison to the scale and extent of human suffering induced in the Philippines. We are witnessing what might, to appropriate a phrase of Trotsky's, be called combined and uneven disaster. No disaster is natural, and events like Sandy and Haiyan make… >>