How Cities Are Preparing for the Next Big Disaster

BY Rebecca Jacobson  May 15, 2013 at 5:39 PM EST


Homes in the Rockaways, N.Y., were severely damaged during Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. Photo by Spencer Platt/ Getty Images.

Last fall Hurricane Sandy crippled sections of the East Coast of North America. It left New York City and cities in New Jersey with damages totaling in the billions of dollars. And the fallout from that super storm continues, as displaced residents are still looking for housing, according to a recent report from The Huffington Post.

Wednesday on the PBS NewsHour, Judith Rodin of the Rockefeller Foundation and Tomas Regalado, mayor of Miami, discuss how major cities are preparing for future disasters — not just hurricanes, but floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, snowstorms, droughts and even blackouts.

Recently the Rockefeller Foundation announced a $35 million grant program to help cities develop disaster preparedness plans and to ensure resilient cities that can bounce back.

As part of the NewsHour’s Coping with Climate Change series, we’ve followed how extreme weather events are already affecting communities. Here’s a look at some of those reports:

Protecting New York From Future Superstorms as Sea Levels Rise

When Hurricane Sandy barreled through New York, the city had no protective barriers to keep the water out. Engineers are going back to the drawing board, looking at plans to prevent another flood.

Battleground Dispatches -Norfolk, Va Prepares for Rising Seas

Hurricane Sandy left the city of Norfolk, Va., wondering, is rebuilding worth it? NewsHour’s Mike Melia asks Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim about how the city should rebuild, keeping an eye on the rising sea levels on the Virginia coast.

Will Your City Be Underwater? There’s a Map for That

Climate Central drew a map of the United States, looking at where rising sea levels and extreme flooding put communities at risk. You can explore the map here or view the report below:

Louisiana Fishermen Pioneer Floating Architecture

Fishermen on the vulnerable Louisiana coast are designing homes to keep on top of rising sea levels.

From Rooftop to Alleyway, Chicago Fights Extreme Urban Heat With Greener Ideas

After coping with deadly heat waves, Chicago is designing green roofs to cool the city and prepare for intense summers in the future. You can also check out our conversation with urban planner Peter Calthorpe on how trees are the key to keeping cities cool: