When Hurricane Sandy struck the eastern seaboard of the United States in October of 2012, it caused billions of dollars in damage to New York City's buildings and infrastructure as well as endangering many of the City's inhabitants. Some buildings were damaged, while others escaped unscathed... this time. Agencies such as the NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) are now faced with the clear responsibility to rebuild and upgrade: aiming for new levels of sustainability and resilience to withstand the growing threat that climate change poses to NYC buildings and infrastructure.

In the wake of Sandy and in anticipation future natural disasters, many reports were published detailing ways in which to design for resiliency, especially along our many miles of vulnerable shoreline. These reports include:


With recommendations coming from so many different sources, along with extensive existing guidance from government sources such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and the Army Corps of Engineers, it can be hard to know where to begin when rebuilding, or building anew. The purpose of this wiki is to serve as a tool to collect and assimilate this wealth of building recommendations and data into one location where the DDC can view a "snapshot" of the most critical recommendations early in the design process. It is where designers and stakeholders can make informed decisions about the various elements they may incorporate into these newly fortified structures. It can also serve as a collective memory of projects and precedent as generations of DDC staff implement projects and learn valuable lessons that can inform future projects. It is important to note that while it may be tempting to use the recommendations gathered here as a "checklist" to achieve resiliency, modifying our buildings is only a small part of the solution. We must simultaneously dig deeper to find solutions for the root causes of environmental degradation. If these larger issues are not addressed, these smaller building-level changes will be for naught. Lastly, the education of design professionals, developers, and the public is integral to tackling these issues successfully. This wiki is but one small piece of that complex system.

How to Use This Wiki

The Home Page

The Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency (SIRR) report has identified 5 key geographic areas of NYC that are highly vulnerable to natural disasters. These 5 areas are:
  • The Brooklyn-Queens Waterfront
  • The East and South Shores of Staten Island
  • Southern Queens
  • Southern Brooklyn
  • Southern Manhattan

The interactive map that can be found on the home page has several overlaid layers:
  1. The new NYC Hurricane Evacuation Zones Map with its six color-coded zones
  2. The 5 aforementioned SIRR Areas are clearly highlighted
  3. Every building (or part of a building) that DDC is responsible for building and is located within the 5 SIRR Areas has been marked by color-coded circles and classified according to general types such are firehouses, police stations, libraries, etc.

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1. Evacuation Zones
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2. SIRR Zones

By clicking on any of the building markers, the viewer can view important information at a glance including name, address, city agency housed within, building type, scope of work (if currently under construction), and the recommended resiliency upgrades. Building types and upgrades can be clicked to view pages specifically detailing the recommendations and their sources.:

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3. Building Markers

An alternative method of finding information regarding a specific building type or recommended upgrade is to click the icons below the map:

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Links to Building Types & Upgrades

Building Type PagesEach building type has a dedicated page that conveys information regarding its use and background, resilience considerations, recommended upgrades as per the reports from FEMA, AIA, etc., and relevant precedents. Detailed information about upgrades can be accessed via the familiar icons at the top of the page or the text links at the bottom:
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Building Type Page
Resiliency Upgrade Pages
Following the links on the Building Type pages will bring you to a similar page detailing that specific upgrade and why/how it should be implemented. Each upgrade page also has its corresponding building types as icon links at the top of the page:

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Search Bar
The last method to search to relevant information is the search bar in the upper right of the home page. Through a system keyword "tagging", one can search for anything on the site that may be relevant. For example, below a search was initiated for the word "flood" and several potentially relevant upgrades were returned:

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Evolution of Information on this Site

Being a wiki, this site is meant to archive information in an easily navigable and searchable fashion, yet keep that archive "active". Each page is a living document that can be updated as new techniques are discovered and adapting. It is neither a final document, nor a blueprint for building, rather it is meant as a starting point from which designers can learn which building techniques may be appropriate to make their building safer, more resilient, and healthier for its inhabitants.

Copyright © 2013, John Druelinger & Christopher J. Sedita, all rights reserved.