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The Globe and Mail

4 key areas New York needs to rethink to prevent another disaster

As the Big Apple slowly returns to its comforting routine of normalcy, it’s clear the city needs safeguards against natural disaster, ones that go far beyond the adaptive capacity of its residents

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LOW-LYING AREAS: The Problem: Flooding of low-lying areas in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island. Possible solution: Build tidal gates and barriers. Consider restoration of barrier dunes and wetlands in less densely populated areas. Elevate homes and other structures. Have governments buy most vulnerable properties. Overhaul land-use policies to discourage building in areas at risk.

Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg

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POWER: The Problem: Widespread power outages. Possible solutions: Relocate power generators and transmission facilities to elevated ground. Reduce dependence on overhead lines. Develop more distributed energy network in order to maintain power even when central distribution system is damaged. Source: Regional Plan Association

Karly Domb Sadof/AP

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SUBWAYS AND ROAD TUNNELS: The Problem: Flooding of subways and road tunnels. Possible solutions: Install better seals to tunnel entrances. Install more powerful pumps. Raise subway entrances and ventilation stacks. Redesign subway grates and station stairwells. Target expansion of bus and rail routes within transportation network.


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WATERFRONT PROPERTY: The Problem: Destruction of waterfront property. Possible solutions: New York could start buying back some of this flood-prone land. New Jersey already has such a program, called Coastal Blue Acres, which has $15-million for grants and loans to municipalities and counties to acquire lands in coastal areas that may be prone to storm damage, and target this land for recreation and conservation purposes.

Scott Eells/Bloomberg

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