Nurturing Resilience in the Wake of Hurricane Ida

Bioneers was first introduced to the work of Rebuild By Design when their Principal, Henk Ovink spoke at the 2015 Bioneers Conference. Ovink is also the first Special Envoy for International Water Affairs for the Kingdom of the Netherlands and supported the multi-billion dollar effort to rebuild and redesign parts of NYC after Hurricane Sandy. The visionary yet practical focus on resilient water infrastructure that Ovink and Rebuild by Design have led around the world over the years are truly inspiring. Their work continues to transform the way that we collectively think about society’s relationship with water – and how we can work with this essential element instead of against it.

After Hurricane Ida rolled through New York, Rebuild By Design immediately put out the call to a network of experts to understand what happened and what needs to be done moving forward. Managing Director Amy Chester wrote the following introduction and we encourage you to explore the full report that they rapidly produced.

– Teo Grossman, Bioneers Senior Director of Programs & Research

Hurricane Ida left a path of destruction and a collective head scratching –  wondering what could have been done to prepare, what can be done to help those most affected, and what should be done to prevent a similar event from happening again. 

However, we already have the answers. Experts in water management, data, transportation, parks and open space, regional planning, and emergency planning locally, nationally and internationally have been talking about the bold action we need to both prepare and respond to increasing severe climate events. We hope that the death and destruction we saw this month will never be repeated again.

Rebuild by Design asked 20 experts to offer “Concrete ideas of policies and projects that protect our communities from the flash flooding and loss of life which we experienced from Hurricane Ida.”  We know this will not comprise all the solutions, but we hope it is the start of an understanding that we know what we need to do – collaborate across government silos, sectors and communities to enact it. 

These essays will demonstrate that if we invest in green infrastructure on a large scale, changing the ways our government invests in projects, substantially increasing resources for the creation and maintenance of our green spaces, investing in data and more precise emergency alert systems which can be life-saving, building housing that is both safe and affordable, and doing with communities – from the start,  we can thrive in the face of climate change while also creating jobs, increasing physical and mental health outcomes, restoring ecology, improving neighborhoods, and building and rebuilding a City even greater than the City we live in today.

Read the full report here

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