Rebuilding New Jersey: How Science and Community Engagement Improve Hazard Preparedness

Authors: Jennifer Whytlaw*, Rutgers University
Topics: Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Spatial Analysis & Modeling, Coupled Human and Natural Systems
Keywords: New Jersey, Hazard Preparedness, Risk Reduction
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Cleveland 1, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The combination of Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy over such a short period of time was a game changer for many New Jersey communities. Prior to the two storms, the concept of sustainability to many New Jersey municipalities meant decisions on land use planning with regard to open space, redevelopment of existing brownfield sites or the highly contentious affordable housing debate. Few at the local level were concerned about the impact of climate change and what sea level rise in 2050 or 2100 meant for the coastal communities in the State. Historic inland flooding throughout the State had prompted planners and water resource managers working in riparian areas to pay focused attention on measures that could be implemented to mitigate high impact flooding from regularly occurring storm events. Yet, even in these cases, projections of future conditions were rarely involved in those planning efforts and were often dismissed as being hard to scientifically calculate. Following Irene and Sandy, the concept of resilience became a pressing and operative priority for many New Jersey municipalities. Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy provided a mechanism to begin the tough conversations with communities in New Jersey about how to understand their risks to future storm events.

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