The words of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who noted that “[t]here have been a series of extreme weather events. That is not a political statement; that is a factual statement. Anyone who says there is not a change in weather patterns is denying reality” hold far more sway now in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
Not only was Sandy the worst ever recorded storm in the history of the US, it was an alarming wake up call for climate change naysayers across the entire country, and while many will continue to mark the events of these ever increasing ‘worst ever’ natural disasters as natural fluctuations in weather patterns, there is simply no refuting the facts.
Weather extremes are becoming increasingly severe. Current architecture and infrastructure is simply not resilient enough.
The response to devastation in New York has been swift. Recovery efforts are well underway, with the city now considering the incorporation of levees and other such resilience infrastructure.
“It is something we’re going to have to start thinking about,” says Cuomo. “The construction of this city did not anticipate these kinds of situations. We are only a few feet above sea level.”
However, New York is not alone in its newfound awareness of a necessity of resilience architecture, with major cities worldwide gearing up for the unknown in an effort to protect their people and built environments.
“Being more resilient and less vulnerable helps you be better off regardless of what the future throws at you and regardless of the cause,” says University of Colorado environmental studies professor Roger Pielke, Jr.
Cities around the world have for a long time dabbled in the field of resilience design. Dubai’s new airport will boast earthquake resistant features, as will Turkey’s Sabiha Gokcen International Airport Terminal.
Ted Givens of 10 Designs wowed the world with his forward thinking when he designed the Tornado Proof home, complete with an in-ground retractable form.
While these developments are singular in their nature, governmental and industry leaders alike are coming to terms with a new state of the environmental and the realities that engenders. If Hurricane Sandy has reminded us of anything, it is that resilience architecture is no longer a ‘future’ concept for forward-thinking designers.
Current urban planning discussions are already centering on a basis of resilience infrastructure, but even these measures come much too late. Just as Cuomo notes that is no question regarding changed weather patterns, there is also no question regarding the need for an action plan.
Resilience architecture is fast becoming a must when planning our cities of the future. To disregard this ever increasing notion is to disregard blunt facts, putting many at risk.