Responding To Hurricane Sandy
Since 1999, Architecture for Humanity has responded to nine major disasters throughout the world and has spearheaded reconstruction programs to support communities most in need. In this work, every disaster zone delivers a unique set of challenges. New York is a dense coastal city with a complex network of uniquely affected communities. It is also the first disaster zone that Architecture for Humanity has responded to where a local chapter was already established. As a result, the New York City chapter has played an integral role in Architecture for Humanity’s collective response, collaborating closely with the Reconstruction and Resiliency Studio based in the Architecture for Humanity Headquarters in San Francisco.
About The Project
After the landfall of Hurricane Sandy, the New York City Chapter developed a project to establish meaningful local engagement, investigating each of the diverse communities that were affected in order to carefully direct our resources, especially the time and expertise of our volunteer network. We modeled The Neighborhood Assessment Project, the initial phase of our post-disaster recovery program, after Architecture for Humanity’s initial response in Biloxi, Mississippi. With careful consideration of past project tool kits, our project was adapted and expanded to address the unique characteristics of New York City’s coastal communities.
During the months after Sandy, field teams spent time in each neighborhood. Through field visits with community partners, they collected information and stories, focusing on the experiences of residents during and after the storm, the damage patterns, needs, and challenges that materialized. This data set helped our team to understand the strengths and capacity for rebuilding within each community. Through this process, the gaps in support that our chapter and Architecture for Humanity’s New York Regional Office could fill would become apparent and we could collectively create a series of effective, community-centric projects that would address the post-disaster conditions in the field.
This work has been published in a report, highlighting the situation and recovery process in each neighborhood we visited. The New York Chapter of Architecture for Humanity released this report on October 29, 2013, and it can be downloaded here.