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Post-Disaster Urban Design

In 2012, NYC Emergency Management and the NYC Department of City Planning developed a guide, or "playbook," for post-disaster site selection with design principles for keeping residents in their own communities and providing them the ability to live and work in their neighborhoods.
View the playbook

Urban Design Site Analysis for the Prototype Site

The Urban Design Site Analysis uses the method developed for site analysis shown in the Urban Interim Neighborhood Design Playbook to provide an overview of the prototype site, including information about land use, livability, constructability, and flooding.
View the site analysis

Planning and Premises

Keeping in mind lessons learned from past disasters, here are some guiding principles the City is following for the planning of interim housing:

  • Respect the community. Interim housing should be considerate of the needs of both the existing community as well as the displaced. It should be built to integrate into the life of the community without interrupting it.
  • Keep people close to home. New Yorkers should have the opportunity to maintain their social and economic networks. Residents should be close to home so that they can be a part of the plan for the permanent rebuilding of their neighborhoods. Access to schools, clubs, religious groups, and daily routines should be kept as intact as possible.
  • Avoid haste. In some regions, the best thing is to rebuild quickly after a disaster. However, in complex dense urban areas such as New York City, citizens should take some time to determine the healthiest path to recovery. By providing interim housing, people will have more time to allow well-established planning processes to unfold.
  • Avoid precluding the best development of a site. New York City has limited land and limited resources that have to be put to the best possible use over the coming decades. A solution that works for a few months or a few years may not necessarily be the ideal long-term solution.
  • Coordinate with a citywide recovery strategy. Housing is critical to post-disaster recovery; however, housing recovery should be carefully coordinated with the broader recovery effort.
  • Improve beyond the standard. In many areas of the United States, manufactured modular homes and trailers have become the standard for interim housing after disasters because they are readily available. They are also relatively affordable, easy to transport and install, and offer a degree of psychological comfort because they are a widely-recognized housing type in much of the country. However, the allowable density for groups of trailers or manufactured homes is too low to be generally useful for urban areas like New York.
  • Respect the city's unique character. New York City's density, the lack of vacant housing and land, the complexity of our housing market, the intricacy of infrastructure, and the carefully choreographed routines of daily life all play a part in the complexity of a recovery strategy.

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