As communities, businesses, and government begin the long process of rebuilding in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and planning for long-term resiliency, it’s imperative that they have comprehensive information on the storm’s impacts to determine zoning, building code, construction, remediation and funding priorities. Unfortunately, there is still limited public information on the extent of the damage done, or other key data, such as the number of people living in the flood zone.
Pratt Center has begun to document the impact of the storm through a series of maps focusing on residential areas and Industrial Business Zones (IBZs) devastated by Sandy. The residential maps document the number of homes directly affected in Coney Island and the Rockaways, and show how vulnerable many residential neighborhoods remain to future storms. The NYCHA map, in particular, illustrates the storm’s disparate impacts on low-income New Yorkers. The IBZ map demonstrates that many industrial areas, including those which use or store toxic materials, are also located in low-lying waterfront areas. There is a concern that toxics were carried by the floodwaters into surrounding residential areas and deposited in the soil.
These maps are just a start. We need more comprehensive data that accounts for the damage done to residential and industrial communities to enable all New Yorkers to understand the challenges we face, as well as to inform the equitable allocation of rebuilding funds.