Gallery: Sociologist Eric Klinenberg Discusses How We Can Better Adapt ...

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    In the 10 weeks since Hurricane Sandy made landfall on the East Coast and claimed 131 lives, there has been much discussion about the failures in infrastructure that left New York City at a virtual standstill for days. In an article published in this week’s New Yorker, sociologist Eric Klinenberg discusses some of these concerns in a piece called “How Can Cities Be Climate-Proofed?”. Emphasizing that “[t]he fundamental threat to the human species is, of course, our collective inability to reduce our carbon emissions and slow the pace of climate change,” Klinenberg broaches Sandy from the perspective of how we might rethink a wide range of key design, infrastructure, regulatory and social components so as to adapt to rising sea levels and increase resiliency against these now inevitable extreme weather events.

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  1. gmoke January 8, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    The second panel of the Friday, December 21, 2012 Boston, MA meeting of the NE Electricity Restructuring Roundtable was on “Bracing for Storms in NE” with William Quinlan, Senior VP of Emergency Preparedness, Northeast Utilities, and Marcy Reed, President of National Grid (MA), among others. One of the things they talked about was getting quick information on downed lines and places which have lost power.

    After the meeting, I asked Mr Quinlan if he knew about crisis mapping and tools like Ushahidi. He did not, wrote down the concepts, and was very interested in these ideas. Seems to me that there is a great opportunity here to link the crisis mapping community with electrical utilities so that they can improve their emergency procedures before the next disastrous event. You can see the Roundtable presentation at http://www.raabassociates.org/main/roundtable.asp?sel=117

    Since then, I’ve contacted Joi Ito of Safecast and MIT Media Lab, Ethan Zuckerman of the Center for Civic Media, Caitria O’Neill of Recovers.org which has developed a preparedness platform for cities and towns and has been working on Hurricane Sandy relief and, InSTEDD, a nonprofit organization dedicated to innovating new responses to diseases, disasters, and emergencies. Ethan Zuckerman informed me he has passed this idea to his friends at Ushahidi.

    Would be good to connect utilities with the open source and on the ground resilience efforts of everyday people.