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Rebuilding for Resilience

The devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy forced an important conversation among stakeholders involved in every aspect of development in diverse areas in New Jersey, about how to focus our shared efforts on rebuilding in a more resilient, sustainable way, so that we can support the full range of lifestyles, livelihoods and recreation opportunities that have made New Jersey unique.

In Deep cover graphicFor three years, New Jersey Future was involved in a pilot project, inspired by recommendations in FEMA’s National Disaster Recovery Framework, that has placed local recovery planning managers (LRPMs) in six Sandy-affected communities, to assist them with long-term resiliency planning. Three years after the storm, we released a report assessing the program’s successes and challenges, including lessons learned and recommendations for future implementation of the program.

Download In Deep: Helping Sandy-Affected Communities Address Vulnerability and Confront Risk.

The question of where and how to rebuild various areas of New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy has been a complex and nuanced one, involving urban density, property values, lifestyles, employment opportunities and significant tourism revenues, weighed against the risk and costs of similar severe weather events in the future. In addition, local development is governed by a dense network of plans and regulations: municipal zoning and master plans; the state’s environmental regulations, including those dedicated to water resources and to guiding coastal development; and the ways in which we’ve directed investments in water, transportation and power infrastructure.

New Jersey Future has been involved in several significant initiatives as it works with other key stakeholders to identify paths forward to rebuilding a vibrant, resilient New Jersey:

  • Local Recovery Planning Managers: We have placed three local recovery planning managers in six Sandy-affected communities to bring them the additional capacity they need as they rebuild after the storm. Local recovery planning managers have been working in Highlands, Sea Bright, Little Egg Harbor, Tuckerton, Commercial, Maurice River.For each town, the recovery manager has:
    • Prepared a Strategic Recovery Planning Report. All participating towns have adopted their reports;
    • Led the establishment of a recovery planning and implementation steering committee;
    • Facilitated public outreach/community engagement involving a wide cross-section of residents to discuss future sea-level rise, flood risks, and adaptation/mitigation strategies;
    • Worked to secure Sandy recovery grants to address specific needs in each community;
    • Continued to work to achieve FEMA Community Rating System certification.
  • Health Impact Assessment: New Jersey Future conducted a Health Impact Assessment to evaluate the effects of buyout strategies on personal and municipal health in the Mystic Island section of Little Egg Harbor. Read more. Download the full report.
  • Development of Coastal Resilience Strategies: As part of the Sustainable and Resilient Communities project, funded by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Office of Coastal and Land Use Planning, we have developed a report outlining various strategies to make people and property less vulnerable to sea-level rise and extreme weather. At the local level, those strategies include:
    • Enacting more resilient building codes and standards;
    • Refocusing development;
    • Protecting and restoring marshes and wetlands;
    • Disclosing hazards;
    • Realigning capital investment priorities.

The report also describes actions the state should take to support communities that want to implement risk reduction strategies.

  • State Policy Advocacy: With a variety of partners, we have been working to develop a national model for disaster recovery that improves equity, resiliency and sustainability outcomes and that provides a template for other states to use in their disaster-resiliency efforts. Among our desired outcomes:
    • Land use decisions seek to enable people and property to withstand future storms.
    • All levels of government adopt comprehensive risk assessments that consider long-range sea-level rise and other factors.
    • Governments use the risk analyses as a driving factor in their hazard mitigation plans, land use plans, land preservation efforts and capital investment decisions.
    • Strong land-use planning elements are incorporated into local and regional hazard mitigation plans.



New Jersey Future Blog
All Boats Rise: Investing in Climate Resilience & Communities

The science is clear: climate change is here, and its threats are only going to grow more pronounced. But, carefully coordinated efforts can not only protect New Jerseyans from these threats, but can help spur economic activity, as well, making our state that much stronger. That was the message from four senior-level officials from Governor Murphy’s administration at the 2021 Planning and Redevelopment Conference, hosted by New Jersey Future and the NJ Chapter of the American Planning Association.

New Jersey Future to work with regional campaign for resilience

New Jersey Future is proud to be an inaugural member of the important and growing Rise to Resilience coalition, a group of New Jersey and New York residents, leaders in the business, labor, and justice communities, volunteer organizations, scientists, and environmental advocates.

report cover
New Jersey Future and NJDEP release report of local options and actions for resilience

New Jersey Future analyzed 350 innovative strategies applied in 76 cities or regions that could serve as model initiatives to develop the 15 strategies detailed in the Local Options/Local Actions: Resilience Strategies Case Studies report for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP). 

New Jersey Future Executive Director To Co-Chair Waterfront Alliance Coastal Resilience Task Force

New Jersey Future Executive Director Peter Kasabach has been named a co-chair of the Waterfront Alliance’s new Coastal Resiliency Task Force. The task force will work to build consensus around needed resiliency measures, and issue a recommendations report.

Planning Manager David Kutner To Retire

Planning Manager David Kutner will become a senior adviser to New Jersey Future after retiring in March.

Articles and Stories
Webinar: Understanding Coastal Vulnerability

A one-hour webinar explaining a new, parcel-based tool that assesses financial vulnerability to coastal flooding and sea-level rise. Friday, May 15, 2015, noon – 1:00 pm.

In Deep: Helping Sandy-Affected Communities Address Vulnerability and Confront Risk

An interim report, three years after Hurricane Sandy, on New Jersey Future’s groundbreaking local recovery planning manager program, including lessons learned and recommendations. October 2015.

New Jersey Future Op-Ed Button
Preparing for the Next Sandy Requires Facing Hard Facts

Oct. 28, 2014 — Two years after the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy, many of New Jersey’s coastal communities continue to struggle with recovery and rebuilding efforts. The highest community priority is to get people back into their homes, re-establish business operations and return to life as close to normal as possible. The elected officials who have led these efforts are hardworking heroes. But it’s also clear that recovery decisions made without a clear understanding of future risks can move people back into harm’s way, build infrastructure that will be damaged again, and waste taxpayer dollars.

Time for New Jersey to be Smarter than the Storm

Sept. 4, 2013 — Of all the recommendations that came out of President Obama’s Sandy Rebuilding Task Force Strategy, there is one that will help inform much of the other recovery planning that is currently being done: Incorporate projected sea-level rise into all decision-making.

New Jersey Future Op-Ed Button
Planning Where the State Will Grow Must Take Into Account the Weather

Nov. 20, 2012: The State Strategic Plan is a framework, a guiding document of only 41 pages that promotes sound planning but doesn’t attempt to do the actual planning work. Any changes in it to address the need for resiliency should remain high-level and provide the parameters within which to make changes, but not prescribe the actual changes.

See all New Jersey Future Blog posts and articles in this category »

Reports, Presentations and Testimony

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