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RECOVERY

&
RESILIENCE
MILLENNIAL IDEAS ON DISASTER RELIEF AND PREPAREDNESS AFTER HURRICANE SANDY

NORTHEAST REGIONAL LEADERSHIP TEAM 2012-2013 Regional Coordinator

Melia Ungson - Yale University

Jessica Morris - Mount Holyoke College

New Chapters Coordinator Policy Coordinator

Tahsin Chowdhury - City College of New York

Michael Wodka - Cornell University

Communications Coordinator New York City Coordinator

Angela Choi - City College of New York

Dear Reader,
Millennials, who will be left to address climate change, public health, economic challenges, housing problems, coastal development, and other issues associated with storms and other disasters in the years to come. This journal is a collection of policy pieces written by undergraduates who experienced Superstorm Sandy and its lasting impact, and who are also determined to find ways to better strengthen and prepare their communities. Many of the pieces are a result of the Recovery and Resilience conference hosted by the Northeast Region of the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network earlier this year. The conference gathered Millennials from schools along the East Coast for discussion and policy development focused on how to move forward after Superstorm Sandy. You can read more about the motivations for this project here and more about the conference here. This journal reflects a strong belief that young people can and must have a role in shaping the discussion and decisions around how we prepare for disasters, how we address the basic vulnerabilities that are compounded when disasters strike, and how we develop and plan moving forward. We hope that you will enjoy the journal, pass it along to others who may be interested, and seriously consider the ideas presented. --The Northeast Regional Team

Superstorm Sandy underscored the challenges of disaster relief, the existing vulnerabilities of our communities, and the need to plan for a more resilient future. These issues particularly hit home for

We would like to thank the following people for their support...


The staff of the Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network: Taylor Jo Isenberg Winston Lofton Joelle Gamble Alan Smith Lydia Bowers Dante Barry The speakers at the Recovery and Resilience conference: Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro Mary Casey-Lockyer Carol Duh Nathan Kleinman Ethan Porter James Rausse Lisa Schreibman Robert Smuts Editors from the Roosevelt Institute | Pipeline: Alex Lessin and Jeanne Tilley Naomi Rothwell, David Weinberger, and Cecille Bernstein for offering guidance.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
RETROFITTING FOR THE FUTURE IN SANDYS WAKE...................................................................5
Ryan Conroy Ian Grotton Andrew Kingsley | Fordham University & The Concourse Fund

CLIMATE-PROOFING ROAD INFRASTRUCTURE..............................................................................8


Kristine Choi | Amherst College

COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEM FOR NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY RESIDENTS.........11


Ebony Johnson | Hunter College

SOLAR-POWERED CELL TOWERS...................................................................................................13


Angela Choi Syeda Sundus Mujahid | City College of New York

CONSIDERING CLIMATE CHANGE IN THE REDEVELOPMENT OF AREAS DESTROYED BY SUPERSTORM SANDY..................................................................................................................16


Jennifer Lu | New York University

BRIDGING THE GAP: PROVIDING GRANTS BEFORE DISASTERS...............................................19


Erika Larsen Priyanka Jaisinghani | Macaulay Honors College & Hofstra University

FUNDING THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICES WEATHER TECHNOLIGIES............................21


Sarah Estrela | Wheaton College

RETROFITTING FOR THE FUTURE IN SANDYS WAKE

Ryan Conroy Ian Grotton Andrew Kingsley | Fordham University & The Concourse Fund Finance the green retrofitting of existing building stock through the creation of a multilateral web-based exchange. HISTORY Hurricane Sandy destroyed livelihoods KEYFACTS 1. The greenest thing done in construction is to reuse and throughout New York City and the surretrofit existing building stock. rounding area. Those living in under2. 85 percent of all buildings existing today will still be served communities were hit especially standing in 2030.IX hard. As the victims rebuild their lives and 3. The retrofitting of all residential building stock would create 2,957,000 new jobs, save 1774 trillion BTUs annually, their homes in the storms wake, they must comply with the new building codes and reduce 372 metric tons of carbon emissions annually. 4. Since 1985, the number of community financial institudetailed in Mayor Bloombergs plaNYC, tions in the United States has dropped from 18,033 to 7,658 which aims to reduce carbon emissions in 2010, seriously compromising the availability of small i by 30 percent by the year 2030. Although business loans in areas that desperately need them. tragic, Hurricane Sandys destruction is an 5. There are 30 community development credit unions in New York City with an aggregate capital size of opportunity to retrofit buildings, especially $100,000,000 at risk of failure. in underserved communities plagued by already dilapidated housing. The greenest thing done in construction is to reuse and retrofit existing building stock, and it has many benefits.ii Retrofitting all residential building stock in the U.S. would cost approximately $177 billion, create 2,957,000 new jobs, save 1774 trillion BTUs annually, and reduce 372 metric tons of carbon emissions annually.iii Access to affordable financing is the main hurdle in expanding retrofit initiatives nationwide.iv Evaluating retrofits is made difficult to the individualistic nature of the projects, opaque payback periods, and an inability to quantify social benefits.v Historically, small community lenders have financed building improvements. Asking community lenders to independently underwrite and commit the entirety of their limited assets to building retrofits is unsustainable. An online exchange where all the parties involved in the retrofitting process could communicate with each other - from community banks to energy auditors to local construction companies - would make the retrofit process more efficient and scalable. ANALYSIS The local underwriting practices of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) makes them ideal for financing retrofit projects. Since 1985, the number of community financial institutions in the United States has dropped from 18,033 to 7,658.vi Independent community lenders cannot efficiently fund retrofit projects, while larger institutions avoid tying themselves up in small, time-consuming loans. Recovery and Resilience | 5

The demand for retrofits in New York City is highest in underserved neighborhoods where the supply of capital is limited. The roughly thirty small community development credit unions situated within these neighborhoods desperately need investment and diversification opportunities. PROCEDURE The online exchange proposed here benefits all parties. First off, it helps credit unions pool their assets. By banding together with other financial institutions, a credit union of any size can underwrite and originate a loan as if it were a $100,000,000 institution while maintaining the strong community ties that are crucial to banking in low-income communities. This syndication of CDFIs would create a market for buying and selling retrofit project debt: 1. Lender 1 makes a loan to borrower. 2. Lender 1 sells parts (or participations) of the loan to lenders 2, 3, 4, etc. 3. Borrower pays lender 1 back. 4. Lender 1 sends payment to lenders 2,3,4, etc. During the underwriting process loan guarantees would be issued by a government guarantor, whether it is by the SBA, HUD, or Fannie Mae. Loan guarantees like the SBAs 7(a) program incentivize private investment to make more loans by offering a form of insurance. Secondly, the exchange matches contractors and regulatory agencies with individual projects prior to the distribution of funds. A social bond is created by involving more parties in the underwriting process, reducing credit risk of retrofits and accelerating project completion. Moreover, an exchange encourages people to rate the services they receive, increasing the accountability of service providers.vii STAKEHOLDERS A multilateral exchange has massive implications for debtors, CDFIs, contractors, and governments. Each aspect of the retrofit process financing, contracting, regulating, and informing could be implemented more efficiently. This would allow CDFIs to diversify and publicize their services, provide a deluge of new business for contractors, and create a highly visible loan underwriting process that is more conducive to government regulation. Though this form of exchange will initially be limited to New York City residential retrofits, its success could lead to the capitalization of multiple types of credit that drive community development. Furthermore, if successful on a local level, the exchange could be expanded to cover communities on a national scale. NEXT STEPS The Concourse Fund is a microfinance institution based out of the Bronx, New York that maintains relationships with various New York City community development credit unions and communities. Concourse currently monitors the inter-organizational sale of debt, and is thus uniquely positioned to launch an online exchange.VIII Recovery and Resilience | 6

This could be done in five steps. 1. Organize the back-end accounting that accompanies underwriting and selling retrofit loans. 2. Launch a beta website consisting of only CDFIs and one prospective borrower. The first transaction would form the basis for inviting contractors into the fold. 3. Market the service to prospective borrowers, lenders, contractors, and government regulators. 4. Construct a base of relevant participants and measure the programs success to determine if individual investors should have access to the market. 5. Ultimately scale the exchange regionally and nationally.

The City of New York. PlaNYC 2030 - About - Greener, Greater Buildings Plan. http://www.nyc.gov/html/planyc2030/. Gregory R. Kingsley (K&LA Engineering). Personal Interview by Andrew Kingsley. Boulder, CO. 2013. 3. Onyeagoro et al. Building Retrofit Industry and Market (BRIM) Market Research Scan. The Rockefeller Foundation. 2011. Accessed May 22, 2013 4. Middle Class Task Force. Council on Environmental Quality. 2009. Recovery Through Retrofit. Washington, DC: Office of the Vice President of the United States, Executive Office of the President of the United States. 5. Steven Winter & Associates. Recognizing the Benefits of Energy Efficiency in Multifamily Underwriting. Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation/Living Cities. 2012. Accessed April 20, 2013 <https://www.db.com/usa/img/DBLC_Recognizing_the_Benefits_of_Energy_Efficiency_01_12.pdf> 6. FDIC. Community Banking by the Numbers. FDIC Future of Community Banking Conference. 2012. 7. Mackres, Eric. The Role of Local Governments and Community Organizations as Energy Efficiency Implementation Partners: Case Studies and a Review of Trends. American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, 2012. <aceee.org/files/pdf/white-paper/Local-EE-Implementation.pdf> 8. Kingsley, Andrew. Programs. The Concourse Fund. Accessed May 22, 2013 <http://concoursefund.org/programs.html> 9. Harak et al. An Action Guide for Advancing Utility Energy Efficiency Funding for Multifamily Rental Housing National Housing Trust. 2013. Accessed April 20, 2013 <http://www.chapa.org/housing-policy/research-reports/partnering-success-action-guide-advancing-utility-energy-efficiency>
1. 2.

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CLIMATE-PROOFING ROAD INFRASTRUCTURE


Kristine Choi | Amherst College Climate change is one of the most serious challenges of the 21st Century, causing sea level rise, more frequent flooding, and increased natural disasters. Climate-proofing the transportation system, specifically road infrastructure, is a key strategy that will help communities prepare for climate change by (1) improving emergency management, (2) minimizing flood damage, and (3) decreasing surface run-off while restoring aquifers. BACKGROUND Increased sea level and sea surface temperaKEYFACTS 1. In the U.S., coastal areas are less than 20% of tures have shown close correlation with the inthe countrys total land area, but are home to more crease in frequency and destructive potential of than half the population.1 Atlantic tropical storms and hurricanes like San2. The Northeast region is especially vulnerable dy. According to the Fourth Assessment Report because of its geographic orientation and its high done by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate population density, especially in Boston and New Change (IPCC), sea levels will rise from 18-59 York City. Preliminary Federal Emergency Managecentimeters by 2100 mostly as a result of thermal ment Agency (FEMA) flood zone maps have added around 35,000 buildings and homes to flood zones expansion in the ocean.4 In the Northeast, an2 nual average temperature has increased by two in New York alone. degrees Fahrenheit since 1970, resulting in substantial increases of storm surge, coastal flooding, erosion and property damage.5 1. EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT It is important to manage emergencies created by extreme weather events as swiftly and efficiently as possible. Roads play a critical role in both evacuation and aid delivery. Hurricane Katrina was a natural event that only spiraled into a disaster because of preventable planning and management failures, like a lack of an effective evacuation plan for those dependent on public transit and no plan to address excessive flooding.6 Elevating roads, enhancing protective measures (e.g., sea walls, buffers, or wetlands) and establishing drainage systems are the main climate-proofing strategies. Keeping highways and other key roads out of the water ensures quick evacuation for those with access to cars and speedy delivery of aid for those who lack mobility. In Louisiana, people are pressuring the government to elevate Highway 1, a road that connects critical oil and gas resources from Port Fourchon to the rest of the nation, in order to minimize the risk of inundation. Windell Curole, the manager of the South Lafourche Levee District believes that Elevation is the salvation from inundation.7 2. MINIMIZING FLOOD DAMAGES Road infrastructure including bicycle lanes, sidewalks, and parking lots are the foundation for public and private commercial mobility, especially in urbanized areas. Adopting permeable roads and comprehensive drainage systems will reduce the damage due to floods from weather events and changes in precipitation levels, proving to be a good investment for the future. Recovery and Resilience | 8

Permeable roads have become increasingly popular in the Northwest, where materials like pervious concrete and porous asphalt have been used for roads, sidewalks, parking lots, and driveways. The permeable surfaces reduce storm water runoff and prevents it from damaging homes, streams and lakes, and instead absorb the water so that pollutants are trapped inside or beneath the road, or consumed by organisms living below. Instead of laying down completely solid concrete or asphalt, the rock and liquid mix of permeable roads creates small pockets of air that allow floodwater to trickle through. Some porous streets have a thick layer of gravel, or may include geotextile fabric between the gravel and native soil to help trap pollutants from infiltrating the groundwater. This fabric also prevents gravel from settling and depressing the roads.8 Additionally, experienced engineers affirm that using permeable pavement for high traffic areas does not compromise the integrity of the road. Because permeable roads are built with a thicker sub-base of gravel and asphalt, Palmer says that it creates a stronger pavement that is more durable and lasting. An example of how permeable roads can work in high-traffic areas is Arizonas porous highway, which has been running in good condition for twenty years.9
TALKING POINTS 1. Addressing the transportation system is critical because sea level rise has already been affecting transportation activities, and the lifetime of most transportation infrastructure is long enough to require consideration of long-term environmental changes. 2. More importantly, transportation routes guide development patterns for centuries, and so coastal adaptation capacity may be affected by the decisions made today.3

Climate-proofing roads can also be a good long-term investment. In Kosrae, Federated States of Micronesia, analysis showed that proactively incorporating drainage systems for roads would have high initial costs, but accumulated costs for repairs and maintenance would be lower after 15 years due to avoided damages.10 3. DECREASING SURFACE-RUNOFF AND RESTORING AQUIFERS As was mentioned earlier, permeable roads are especially well known for decreasing surface-runoff and thus reducing pollution in neighboring regions, rivers and lakes. After Hurricane Sandy, the oil, pesticides, and PCBs that had been absorbed into New York Citys streets were carried away by floodwaters. Hurricane Katrinas floodwaters had turned up high levels of bacteria, lead, and other chemicals including phosphorous and arsenic.11 Furthermore, floodwaters after Hurricane Sandy carried everything from pesticides, fertilizers, and physical material like ropes, drums and plastic bottles into Hudson Bay, posing a threat to marine life. Permeable roads will drastically reduce the impact of floods by absorbing the water and preventing floodwaters from draining into the rivers and coasts. Over the long-term, permeable roads also help restore aquifers by capturing floodwater instead of diverting it from the surface. This is important especially for urban areas, where streets, parking lots, and buildings have covered most of the land area that had allowed for natural recharge.

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The 32-acre Pringle Creek community in Oregon, home to over 150 families, demonstrates the advantages of having full-scale porous pavements. According to developer Don Myers of Sustainable Development Inc., 90% of the rainwater falling on Pringle Creek is returned to the aquifer, and in November 2006, Pringle Creek experienced substantially less flooding compared to its neighboring Portland metro area and Salem.12 NEXT STEPS By climate-proofing road infrastructure, we will be able to respond more effectively to emergencies, save costs by preventing perpetual damage caused by frequent flooding, and decrease surface run-off while at the same time restoring aquifers. However, it should be noted that climate-proofing road infrastructure is only an adaptive strategy that doesnt address the core of the problem. Along with short-term adaptation strategies, long-term mitigation strategies like green-roofing, energy-saving policies, and investment in renewable energies are needed. Together, individual adaptation measures and long-term strategies are critical for managing the risks and impacts associated with climate change.

1. Nash, P. M. 2010. Climate Refugees [Documentary]. 2. Leitsinger, M. Preliminary FEMA flood zone maps add 35,000 NYC buildings to flood zones. NBC News. Jan 28, 2013. 3. Titus, Jim. 2002. Does Sea Level Rise Matter to Transportation Along the Atlantic Coast? DOT Center for Climate Change and Environmental Forecasting. Oct 2002. 4. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (full report). 2007. 5. Karl, T. R., Jerry M. M., and T. C. Peterson, (eds.). 2009. Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States. Cambridge University Press, New York, USA 6. Litman, T. 2006. Lessons from Katrina and Rita: What Major Disasters Can Teach Transportation Planners. Victoria Transport Policy Institute. April 13, 2006. 7. Eilperin, J. 2012. As climate changes, Louisiana seeks to lift a highway. The Washington Post. Mar 18, 2012. 8. Stiffler, L. 2012. The Porous Road Less Traveled. Sightline Daily. Jan 3, 2012. 9. ibid 10. GTZ Transport Policy Advisory Services. 2004. Sustainable Transport: A Sourcebook for Policy-Makers in Developing Cities. Sustainable Urban Transport Project. Oct 2004. 11. Oskin, B. 2012. Pollution & debris stirred by Sandy threaten coastal waters. CBS news. Nov 1, 2012. 12. Casper, B. 2006. Green Streets are Designed to Reduce Water Runoff. Statesman Journal. July 28, 2006. Spring, Maryland. 2001.

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COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEM FOR NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY RESIDENTS


Ebony Johnson | Hunter College New York City Housing Authority should create a communications database to notify residents of potential emergency situations before mandating evacuations, as well as providing ongoing updates, through a medium chosen by the residents. BACKGROUND KEYFACTS Buildings managed by New York City Housing Au- 1. NYCHA residents and Section 8 voucher holdthority (NYCHA), the largest public housing com- ers combined occupy 12.4% of the Citys rental plex in North America, are home for over 400,000 apartments3 and comprise 7.6% of New York Citys population. New Yorkers.1 Currently, the city agency utilizes 2. The full damage of Superstorm Sandy was refliers and phone calls to communicate with its res- corded three days after hitting New York City. Over idents. However, this did not prove to be effective four hundred buildings with 35,476 apartments housing nearly 80,000 residents had lost power. in notifying residents on Super Storm Sandy. In The flood had extended far into Zone B, which had fact, NYCHA began shutting down elevators, boil- not been evacuated.4 ers and electrical systems before telling residents in Zone A locations to evacuate.2 This created confusion, anger and stress for tenants living in the 26 developments labeled as high flood risk. ANALYSIS Creating a communications database where NYCHA informs residents of incoming storms and updates them on developing storm conditions via telephone calls, text messages, and emails will educate the public and allow them to make informed decisions. Many residents stayed in their apartments, unaware of the storms full potential. An active communications database would give thousands of individuals and families the pertinent information they need. A similar communications system that exists in New York is the City University of New York (CUNY) A!ert (Alert) System. The emergency notification system enables the Universitys campuses to instruct students, faculty and staff of an emergency, such as a hurricane or snowstorm.7 One of its goals is to provide timely information to protect lives and minimize campus disruption.8 For the alert system CUNY has partnered with the State Emergency Management Office to employ the states all-hazards alert and notification system, NYAlert, for use by the CUNY campuses.9 The way that the CUNY A!ert system operates is that it sends messages ranging from specific instructions to general warnings. These notifications are sent to members of the campus community who have signed up for CUNY A!ert. Notifications can be received via cell phone (text and/or voice), land line telephone and e-mail. In order to receive these notifications, one must opt in to receive alerts by signing up online. Upon signing up, faculty, staff and students are asked to choose their preferred format or formats to receive the messages.10 NYCHA could utilize a similar process by administering a mandatory opt in process during the application process for new residents and contacting residents who already reside in NYCHA developments. Recovery and Resilience | 11

AUDIENCE The stakeholders most interested in this matter are NYCHA Board Members and NYCHA residents. City Council and New York Citys Public Advocate may also be interested.
TALKING POINTS NEXT STEPS The communications database would essentially be 1. Several residents were vocal about their frustration on how NYCHA responded to the a spreadsheet account for each apartment in each hurricane at a community district meeting in development describing the best way to get in conRed Hook in November of 2012. Some argued that no one notified them of the mandatact. The contact information should include phone 4 numbers, cell phone numbers, e-mail addresses and tory evacuations. 2. During the community district meeting, social media. In addition to reaching out to the com- NYCHA General Manager Cecil House stated, munity via the stated mediums, NYCHA should also I agree that we definitely could have commu5 monitor whose duty it is to place fliers in the buildings nicated better. and knock on doors to notify residents. The list should also keep a record of residents they have been unable to reach. Utilizing the initial contact information, NYCHA should inform residents of the progression of the natural disaster, information to find out about public transportation, and news on organizations coming to developments to assist with food, clean water and heat.

The process of getting the database set up and active can take place immediately. It is necessary for the Board Members of NYCHA to be supportive in this initiative. The process in implementing this database involves NYCHA employees reaching out to the community to record contact information and constantly updating this list if any changes occur. Similar to the CUNY A!ert System, stakeholders should work with the States Emergency Management Office to utilize their NY-Alert model. Other organizations or agencies already utilizing NY-Alert include the State University of New York, New York State Department of Transportation and New York State Division of Transportation.11

1. About NYCHA. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.nyc.gov/html/nycha/html/about/about.shtml 2. Timeline of the New York City Housing Authoritys Response. (2012, December 9). The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/10/nyregion/timeline-of-the-new-york-city-housing-authoritys-response.html?pagewanted=all 3. About NYCHA: Fact sheet. (2013). l. Retrieved from http://www.nyc.gov/html/nycha/html/about/factsheet.shtml 4. Timeline of the New York City Housing Authoritys response. (2012, December 9). The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/10/nyregion/timeline-of-the-new-york-city-housing-authoritys-response.html?pagewanted=all 5. Smith, G. (2012, November 19). NYCHA Under Fire For Abandoning Tenants in Hurricane Sandy Aftermath. New York Daily News. Retrieved from http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nycha-fire-abandoning-tenants-hurricane-sandy-aftermath-article-1.1204866 6. Ibid., 7. City University of New York. (2013). What is Cuny A!ert?. Retrieved from https://www.cuny.edu/news/alert/faqs.html 8. Ibid., 9. Ibid., 10. Ibid., 11. NY-Alert. (n.d.). Ny-alert affiliations. Retrieved from http://www.nyalert.gov/HelpIndex/Index.aspx?index=Affiliations

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SOLAR-POWERED CELL TOWERS

Angela Choi Syeda Sundus Mujahid | City College of New York To prevent future cell phone outages during hurricanes we should invest in solar-powered cell towers. BACKGROUND KEYFACTS In late October of 2012, Hurricane Sandy not only 1. Solar powered cell phone towers in India are brought havoc to homes, beaches, and businesses, expected to reduce 5 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions, which will save $1.4 billion every year.13 but also disrupted telecommunications throughout 2. According to The Federal Communications Comthe Northeast, especially in New York and New mission, at one point, 25% of cell towers in Hurricane Sandys path were affected by the storm. Jersey. The hurricanes heavy winds and precipitation caused flooding and power outages that dis- 3. As landlines are disappearing, more than 30 percent of American households exclusively rely on abled cell phone towers, causing service failures cell phones.14 for all of the broadband and cell phone networks in 4. The percentage of cell phone-only households has risen from 18 percent in 2008 to 34 percent several cities. According to the U.S. Department today, according to the National Center for Health of Energy, 8.5 million homes and businesses lost Statistics. 15 power.1 Widespread cell phone service interrup5. Base stations actually make up 70 to 80 percent tion left numerous people without communication in of the energy consumption from cellular networks.16 communities that needed help the most, such as in 6. According to Pike Research, 4.5 percent of the worlds cellular base stations will run off of solar areas that were isolated and nearby water sources and wind by 2014, up from 0.11 percent in 2010.17 like Staten Island and the Rockaways. Solar-powered cell phone towers could help prevent future cell phone outages and enable effective communication during storms. In 2010, T-Mobile was the first telecommunications company in the United States to build a solar powered cell tower in Chalfont, Pennsylvania.2 Verizon also has solar powered base stations and both companies are hoping to expand the practice in the coming years. DC Solar supplies solar generators to these carriers and they state that solar generators are becoming more attractive since they cost around 30 percent less than diesel-powered generators.3 Solar panels may be expensive at the onset but there are numerous tax incentives as well as other savings gleaned overtime. Additionally, India has used solar panels that have proven to be more cost-effective. The India model would be ideal for implementation in the United States. ANALYSIS The town of Broad Channel, Queens was flooded, telephone lines were shut down, and the residents had no way of communicating with emergency response. The emergency response team had to go door-by-door to see how the residents were doing and if they needed any help. The emergency teams cell phones did not work either, which made it difficult for an emergency team in Northeast Queens to communicate with an emergency team in Southeast Queens. Many towers lost power and their backup battery systems were nearly lost. These carriers produced power through generators. However, generators require more fuel, which was a limited resource at the time of the storm. It took several days for the carriers to restore most of their service and for some areas this took weeks. Recovery and Resilience | 13

According to the IHS Global Insight, Hurricane Sandys infrastructural damage cost is estimated between $30 and $50 billion.4 The Federal Communications Commission indicated that the hurricane had downed one out of every four cell towers in 10 states.5 If telecommunication companies transformed their cell phone towers from being operated by diesel generation to solar panels, many of these communication problems could be avoided. India is currently using solar-powered cell towers. The Indian government heavily subsidizes diesel and hopes to lessen the nations reliance on foreign oil, as well as reduce their carbon footprint, by switching to renewables.6 The current annual cost for Indias solar with battery backup is $8,215.7 During Hurricane Sandy, shortage of gas hindered cell phone companies from operating generators for cell phone towers to function because generators require fuel. It is imperative that the United States begins to invest in solar power and batteries because by 2020, the annual cost of using diesel is expected to be more than $20,000 whereas the cost of solar power and batteries will likely fall to less than $5,500.8 Having solar-powered cell phone towers will be cost effective, energy efficient, and reduce carbon emissions. Solar panels have easy maintenance and last for 25 years or more. Solar panels can be hermetically sealed, which prevents damage from the Figure 1: Solar power generation in India9 weather. The panels just need to be cleaned of dust periodically to ensure maximum power generation.10 The mobile industry could save up to 2.5 billion liters of diesel per annum if 5% of the total tower sites is converted to renewable energies.11 Solar powered cell phone towers operate off the grid, do not rely on fossil fuels, and could bring cellular networks to areas that currently do not have them. Solar power generates energy even on cloudy days. Telecommunication companies can receive tax breaks for installing solar panel for their cell phone towers. Many tax breaks are already in place, such as Recycling Tax Credit and Solar Sales Tax Exemption. The United States Environmental Protection Agency offers property, sales and income tax incentives for businesses in 25 states that acquire recycling equipment.12 Additionally, Solar Sales Tax Exemption exempts the purchase and installation of solar component from sales tax. NEXT STEPS 1. Telecommunication companies should look into solar and energy state grants. The cell phone companies in New York should partner with the New York State Energy Research Development Authority (NYSERDA). NYSERDA provides grants to eligible installers of new grid connected solar electric systems in urban cities such as New York City. Recovery and Resilience | 14

NYSERDAs Power Naturally Program pays up to 40 percent of the installed cost of a solar system. 2. Telecommunication companies in rural areas should partner with organizations like Groupe Speciale Mobile (GSM) whose Green Power for Mobile initiative installs solar panels in impoverished rural areas. 3. Telecommunication companies that buy and install solar energy are eligible for Solar Sales Tax Exemption which exempts the purchase and installation of solar component from sales tax.
TALKING POINTS 1. In some cities in New York, it took almost four months to restore power following Hurricane Sandy. 2. Solar powered cellphone towers operate off the grid, do not rely upon fossil fuels, and could bring cellular networks to remote areas that currently do not have them.18 3. According to The Federal Communications Commission, at one point, 25% of cell towers in Hurricane Sandys path were affected by the storm.19 4. Solar powered cell phone towers operate off the grid, do not rely upon fossil fuels, and could bring cellular networks to remote areas that currently do not have them.20

1. Disaster Recovery: 10 Lessons from Hurricane Sandy - Deloitte CIO - WSJ. Wall Street Journal, 29 Nov. 2012. 2. Constantinescu, Stefan. T-Mobile USA Launches Their First Solar Powered Cell Tower [100% Renewable]. IntoMobile. 24 Sept. 2010. 3. Tweed, Katherine. Why Cellular Towers in Developing Nations Are Making the Move to Solar Power. Scientific American, 15 Jan. 2013. 4. Daco, Gregory, and Nigel Gault. Hurricane Sandy: Monster Storm Just In Time for Halloween. IHS Global Insight. 30 Oct. 2012. 5. Svensson, Peter. Hurricane Sandy Takes Out 25 Percent Of Cell Towers. The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 30 Oct. 2012. 6.Tweed, Katherine. Why Cellular Towers in Developing Nations Are Making the Move to Solar Power. Scientific American, 15 Jan. 2013. 7. Tweed, Katherine. Why Cellular Towers in Developing Nations Are Making the Move to Solar Power. Scientific American, 15 Jan. 2013. 8. Tweed, Katherine. Why Cellular Towers in Developing Nations Are Making the Move to Solar Power. Scientific American, 15 Jan. 2013. 9. Solar Power Industry in India Part 1. OcSPad. 24 Mar. 2013. 10. Andromeda Energy Technologies. Andromeda Energy Technologies. <http://www.andromedasolar.com/faq.htm>. 11. GPM Focus Areas Mobile for Development. GSMA. <http://www.gsma.com/mobilefordevelopment/programmes/greenpower-for-mobile/focus-areas>. 12. Evans, Michael, and Demand Media. Recycling Tax Credit for Businesses. Houston Chronicle. 13. Chadha, Mridul. Solar Powered Cellphone Towers in India to Reduce 5 Million Tons CO2 Emissions, Save $1.4 Billion Every Year. CleanTechnica. CleanTechnica, 24 Mar. 2010. 14. Blumberg, Stephen J., and Julian V. Luke. Wireless Substitution: Early Release of Estimates From the National Health Interview Survey, JulyDecember 2011. National Center for Health Statistics, June 2012. 15. Blumberg, Stephen J., and Julian V. Luke. Wireless Substitution: Early Release of Estimates From the National Health Interview Survey, JulyDecember 2011. National Center for Health Statistics, June 2012. 16. Fehrenbacher, Katie. T-Mobile Cell Site Now Powered by the Sun. Gigaom, 16 Sept. 2010. 17. Fehrenbacher, Katie. T-Mobile Cell Site Now Powered by the Sun. Gigaom, 16 Sept. 2010. 18. Singh, Timom. India to Install Solar-Powered Cell Phone Towers This Year. Inhabitat. N.p., 30 Jan. 2011. 19. Winter, Michael. FCC: 25% of Cell Towers, Broadband down in 10 States. USA Today. Gannett, 30 Oct. 2012. 20. Tweed, Katherine. Why Cellular Towers in Developing Nations Are Making the Move to Solar Power. Scientific American, 15 Jan. 2013.

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CONSIDERING CLIMATE CHANGE IN THE REDEVELOPMENT OF AREAS DESTROYED BY SUPERSTORM SANDY


Jennifer Lu | New York University Climate change is a vital concern that has to be included in the long-term redevelopment of the parts of NYC destroyed by Superstorm Sandy, and a way to accomplish this is to turn the destroyed land into wetlands and parkland. BACKGROUND Directly after a natural disaster like Superstorm Sandy strikes, national government organizations such as FEMA and non-profit groups like the American Red Cross should attend to the immediate needs of those displaced by the storm. Long term planning needs to take into consideration how to prevent disasters from happening again. At the very least, redevelopment for the long term should ensure that an area receives the least amount of damage should a natural disaster hit again. In New York City, the places that endured the most damage were the Rockaways, Long Island City, and other places along the shoreline. Now, with the climate changing, there will be more hurricanes and natural disasters along the East Coast. ANALYSIS Rather than using money to reconstruct the houses and buildings that are already destroyed, it should be used to create some sort of natural barrier between the Atlantic and the city. Trends in weather patterns have shown that the East Coast has always been in the path of powerful storms, and it will be prone to having more intense natural disasters hit in the next few decades. Because the atmosphere has been heating up, climate change has also been heating up the oceans, which translates into a very large increase in the destructive potential of hurricanes, according to Kerry Emanuel, professor of atmospheric science at MIT.1 Therefore, if the land where homes and businesses are already dilapidated gets turned into a wetland or park, there will be a natural cushion if seawaters rise high again and cause flooding. Governor Cuomo is already beginning to start on a similar path, as he has said that he wants to spend $400 million to buy some of the destructed homes and turn the land permanently to wetlands.2 Especially because the areas that were the hardest hit were barrier islands like the Rockaways, where laws should have been enacted to prevent homes from being built there in the first place, the most logical approach is to turn them into wetland edges, parkland, or have some sort of protecting natural barrier such as dune fields. This is a better solution than constructing a seawall for economic and preservation reasons. To build a seawall just along lower Manhattan and along the Manhattan-Brooklyn subway lines would cost $15 billion. This would cause the neighborhoods outside the seawall, including the Rockaways, Long Island, and Queens, to experience even higher floodwaters if a storm were to occur again, as all the water has to go someplace after all.3

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Incentives: Tax Reduction On the other hand, turning land into a park or wetland is already a strategy that Mayor Bloomberg has begun to implement as an investment that serves to preserve and sustain. In May 2012, the Bloomberg Administration planned to invest $56 million to create more than 146 acres of wetlands; if the areas destroyed by Sandy were turned into wetlands as well, the restoration would merely be an addition to the already existing economically and structurally feasible plan.4 In regards to having homeowners relocate, the government can provide tax incentives in another part of the city in the areas they move to. Granting money to the residents to undo the damage in their homes does not necessarily mean the houses will actually be rebuilt. Instead, tax incentives or reductions will serve as an encouragement for homeowners to relocate. For example, there should be zones in the city where the homeowners pay reduced property taxes. In areas where cities are undergoing urban planning and development, the government forces the residents living in the area that is undergoing the reconstruction to leave, and in return, they give them free housing and a sum of money. This could be another technique that the city of New York can try with the victims of Sandy. Things to Consider: Homeowners Compliance There are complications that arise though with readjustment and relocation. However many grants or incentives are proposed to the homeowners, they may not want to move to a community where the only other members are victims of the storm. Also, they may value the networks and relationships they have in their current community, a value that could be stronger than any economic incentive could provide. This has to be taken into consideration when policy pieces are created because despite the practicality of the proposal, ultimately, the decision it is up to the individuals for whom the policy is made for that make the final decision. NEXT STEPS In Australia, the mantra for battling climate change is as follows: Protect, Redesign, Rebuild, Elevate, Relocate, and Retreat; New York City can use a similar model in creating a policy for the redevelopment after Superstorm Sandy.5 Protect and Redesign would be the creation of natural barriers such as dunes, wetlands, or parkland from the land where there are now destroyed homes and buildings. The correct vegetation needs to be planted to hold the dunes in place and removed when the dunes can build back themselves.6 The next steps, Rebuild and Elevate in Australia would typically refer to the rebuilding of homes and raising them off the ground to combat flooding in the event of another natural disaster. At any rate, New York City could skip this step, as the destroyed areas would be turned into wetlands. The Educate step would then consist of letting homeowners know that they do have the option of going back to their own homes and elevating them, but this comes at the risk of potential flooding and destruction if another storm hits. In this step, educators, policymakers, and other instructors should also be informing others as to why creating wetlands is the best approach in dealing with the Sandy Aftermath. Finally, Relocate and Retreat would consist of providing tax incentives or reductions for those homeowners who chose to sell their homes and relocate to parts of the city that are not in flood areas. Recovery and Resilience | 17

1. Cimons, Marlene. Perfect Storm: Climate Change and Hurricanes. LiveScience. Web: 05 Apr. 2013. http://www.livescience. com/28489-sandy-after-six-months.html 2. Mr. Cuomos Sandy Plan. New York Times: The Opinion Pages. Web: 05 Feb. 2013. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/06/opinion/gov-andrew-cuomos-sandy-plan.html?_r=0 3. Walsh, Bryan. Sandy: What a Coastal U.S. Can Learn from Other Threatened Cities. Times: Science and Spa. Web: 05. Nov. 2012. http://science.time.com/2012/11/05/sandy-what-a-coastal-u-s-can-learn-from-other-threatened-cities/#ixzz2USbTPdsB 4. New York City Wetlands Strategy. The City of New York: Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. May 2012. http://www.nyc.gov/html/ planyc2030/downloads/pdf/nyc_wetlands_strategy.pdf 5. Kimmelman, Michael. Vetoing Business as Usual After the Storm. New York Times: Art & Design. Web: 19 Nov. 2012. http:// www.nytimes.com/2012/11/20/arts/design/ changes-needed-after-hurricane-sandy-include-politics.html?_r=0&adxnnl=1&page wanted=all&adxnnlx= 1368502251-40MF2cThE61Y1ewocBO3DQ 6. Frazier, Ian. The Toll: Sandy and the future. The New Yorker. Web: 11 Feb. 2013. http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2013/02/11/130211fa_fact_frazier#ixzz2MMhch2kc

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BRIDGING THE GAP: PROVIDING GRANTS BEFORE DISASTERS


Erika Larsen Priyanka Jaisinghani | Macaulay Honors College & Hofstra University During the first few days after a disaster, it takes time for federal aid to arrive to communities in need. Consequently, this leaves a short time gap during which people may not be able to meet their immediate needs for food, water, and shelter unless the community rallies together to help one another. The government should provide grants to the community in order for it to support itself during the first few days after a disaster has occurred. HISTORY When Hurricane Sandy hit, Staten Island faced extraordinary damage. Many Staten Islanders were in dire need of assistance, and the first response to these needs came from the community itself. People joined together, donating supplies, clothing, and time to one another. One pastor mentioned in an interview that it was relatively easy for the church to mobilize because its members were already familiar with the area. In one church alone, over 700 volunteers assisted within the course of 2 months; 500 of these 700 were volunteering during the first two weeks after the storm. The massive amount of volunteers, not only in this church but also from a multitude of other organizations, signifies that they were providing for unmet needs. ANALYSIS National disaster relief, in its present state, is not adequately meeting the needs of communities in crisis. In order for a state to receive FEMA funding, the state and FEMA must jointly assess the damage after a national disaster has occurred. This can be done through methods such as pictures and surveys. After surveying the area, the Governor determines whether or not to request assistance. Finally, when the President determines that the state needs federal assistance, a disaster declaration is made. FEMA is a massive government organization, and as such, must pass through all these steps and others before giving assistance in order to function properly. Unfortunately, when disasters first hit, damaged communities need assistance immediately. When interviewed about their experiences with Hurricane Sandy, local community leaders on Staten Island emphasized that members of the community themselves must be the first responders to natural disasters. After a natural disaster, each location will have its own unique problems, and those already familiar with the area are most equipped to manage adverse situations. In post-Sandy Staten Island, for instance, a major gas crisis left the vast majority of the residents immobile. Some volunteers, however, recognized that short trips into New Jersey during a late hour would provide them with the fuel they needed to continue serving those in need. The most effective way to alleviate the effects of disasters immediately after they occur seems to be an individual, case-by-case approach for each community, but doing so through a large government organization is not feasible. Instead, government grants given to private community organizations could fund immediate relief within the community to eliminate the gap between the disaster and the arrival of federal assistance. Recovery and Resilience | 19

When a major disaster is declared, FEMA is responsible for giving grant money for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help recover from the effects of the disaster. Hurricane Sandy resulted in approximately 1.5 million claims overall, in which 92% were completed within four months.1 During Hurricane Katrina and Rita, roughly 70% of faith based and community organizations provided immediate relief services such as food, water, clothing and temporary shelter.2 For most responders, donations from individuals were the most abundant sources of financial support. NEXT STEPS FEMA has implemented the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program, in which funds up to $2 million are provided to state and local governments for hazard mitigation prior to a disaster.3 These grants are allocated based on pre-determined factors. Using a model similar to the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program, immediate post-disaster services can best be provided by creating a new grant to provide select organizations with the means to give food, water, clothing, and shelter to their communities. In this new grant, organizations chosen by local elected officials would undergo a FEMA pre-certification after being chosen. A pre-determined amount of money would be allocated to the organization for a specific purpose such as food provision or serving as a shelter. After a disaster strikes, FEMA could provide relief by sending representatives to act as advisors to a group of community organizations on how to manage the disaster most productively. The joint effort would provide efficiency in meeting the immediate needs of the community and accountability as to how the funds are used. Since all applications and certification would take place before a disaster strikes, the wait time for assistance would be virtually eliminated. Disasters such as Hurricane Sandy are devastating, but the willingness and incredible ability of a community to come together and reestablish themselves afterwards is astonishing. Still, while communities are able to rebuild in an incredible way, it is imperative that they are provided with the funds for the tools to do so. According to interviews, one organization in Staten Island received $19,400 in donations that were used to directly help Sandy victims. However, if the proper systems are in place, organizations can be equipped to provide emergency services within hours after a disaster rather than waiting for donations to arrive. The unmet gap left by current federal disaster relief must be bridged in a new way.

1. De Vita, C., & Kramer, F. (2008, ). ASPE. The Role of Faith- Based and Community Organizations in Post-Hurricane Human Service Relief Efforts . Retrieved from http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/08/posthurricanerelief/report.pdf 2. McCarthy , F., & Keegan, N. (2009, 10). Congressional Research Service. FEMAs Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program: Overview and Issues . Retrieved from http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/homesec/RL34537.pdf 3. Stephani, J. (2013, May 3). Historical Comparisons for Sandy Claims Coverage - Insurance Networking News. Retrieved from http://www.insurancenetworking.com/news/historical-comparisons-sandy-claims-coverage-32242-1.html

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FUNDING THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICES FORECASTING TECHNOLOGIES


Sarah Estrela (w/ Research help from Andrew Christianson) | Wheaton College The United States should prioritize updating its aging supercomputers for more accurate weather forecasts in order to properly prepare for impending natural disasters. BACKGROUND Hurricane Sandy was devastating for a number of reasons, most particularly because both its path and impact were difficult for forecasters to predict. The National Weather Service (NWS), which is operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), predicted Sandys path three days before it hit landfall.1
KEYFACTS 1.Replacing the NWS supercomputers would cost about as much as it takes to fund a single fighter jet.8 2. The supercomputers that run the U.S. global model lag behind not only that of the ECWMF and other models, but also to NOAAs weather research and climate prediction computers. Climate simulation alone has about 500 times more power available than for weather prediction and forecasts.9

The European Center for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF) known to the scientific community as the European model predicted that Sandy would hit landfall an entire week before it reached shore. This shortfall in U.S. weather prediction occurred because the computer power to which the NWS had access was disappointingly disproportionate to what it needed a problem that has sadly become a standard, and shows no signs of being resolved. Given that the U.S. has experienced increasingly devastating natural disasters, this crucial aspect of our nations infrastructure requires our immediate attention. If we want to keep our citizens, economies, and lands properly protected and prepared for disasters, we need to ensure that our prediction models are as up-to-date as possible. ANALYSIS The European model is run from a much newer IBM supercomputer that runs twice as fast as those that operate the NWS model, and covers significantly less terrain.2 In order to catch up to this model, the NWS would need 32 times more computer power at the bare minimum than it currently has.3 Preparing for weather disasters adequately requires a technological infrastructure that can account for uncertainties and probabilities.

Replacing the two severely outdated IBM supercomputers with two newer ones (which are equipped with at least 75,000 processors, sufficient enough to catch up to the European model) would cost approximately $60 million.4 The Hurricane Sandy Relief Bill allocated approximately $96 million to NOAA for improvements in weather forecasts failed to indicate precisely where the money should be spent.5 Historically, NOAA has put improvements to weather forecasting on the backburner in order to prioritize climate research, so although this money is meant to improve weather forecasting, it might be lost through the cracks of other, less crucial, research projects.6 Recovery and Resilience | 21

The Disaster Relief Appropriations Act 2013 (H.R. 152), on the other hand, allocated $25 million to NOAA specifically to improve weather forecasting and hurricane intensity forecasting capabilities, to include data assimilation from ocean observing platforms and satellites, along with an additional yet minimal amount of $8.5 million for improvements to weather forecasting equipment and supercomputer infrastructure.7 Although this is a significant amount of money headed in the right direction, focusing on hurricane intensity capabilities rather than a holistic approach to tracking storms of all varieties (which the U.S. is susceptible to) fails to address the needs of the entire country and will lead to forecasting failures in the future a risk we should not be willing to take. All in all, If we want a reliable infrastructure, Congress needs to be clear about where the funds are meant to go, and NOAA needs to prioritize weather forecasting as highly as it prioritizes climate research so we can allocate resources and necessary supplies to safe areas with more confidence, and allow us to prepare and protect our local businesses and communities accordingly. NEXT STEPS All in all, If we want a reliable infrastructure, Congress needs to be clear about where the funds are meant to be distributed. NOAA needs to prioritize weather forecasting as highly as it prioritizes climate research so we can allocate resources and necessary supplies to safe areas with more confidence, as well as help us to prepare and protect our local businesses and communities accordingly.

TALKING POINTS 1. NOAA leadership consistently prioritizes climate research over improving weather forecasting. Although climate research is extremely important, this puts the every day safety of American citizens on the backburner.10 2. Investing in proper resources for predicting the weather properly will allow NOAA to make smarter investments in expensive data-collecting weather satellites, and will even impact wind, energy, utility industries as well as U.S. aviation. 3. According to the National Science Foundation, normal weather costs alone (such as rain and cooler-than-average days) add up to about a half trillion dollars. The economic impact of the weather is very significant, and is further exacerbated by extreme natural disasters.11

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1. Johnson, Scott K., Why European Forecasters Saw Sandys Path First, in Ars Technica. Accessed March 14, 2013. http://arstechnica.com/ science/2012/12/why-european-forecasters-saw-sandys-path-first/ 2. Ibid. 3. Ibid. 4. Ibid. 5. Brewin, Bob. Sandy Bill Includes $476 Million for NOAA, in Next Gov, accessed May 20, 2013, http://www.nextgov.com/cio-briefing/2013/01/sandy-bill-includes-476-million-noaa/60969/ 6. Mass, Cliff. The U.S. Weather Prediction Gap. Cliff Mass Weather Blog. Accessed March 14, 2013. Cliffmass.blogspot.com/2013/02/ the-us-weather-prediction-computer-gap.html 7. Gov Track, H.R. 152) Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013. Accessed May 30, 2013. http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/ hr152/text 8. Mass, Cliff. Lack of Computer Power Undermines U.S. Numerical Weather Prediction (Revised). Cliff Mass Weather Blog. Accessed March 14, 2013. cliffmass.blogspot.com/2012/04/us-has-fallen-behind-in-numerical.html 9. Ibid. 10. Mass, Cliff. The U.S. Weather Prediction Computer Gap. 11. National Science Foundation. Press Release 11-124: Economic Cost of Weather May Total $485 Billion in U.S. Accessed April 19, 2013. http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=119878

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