Skip to main content

Bloomberg says NYC will rebuild with climate change in mind

By Steve Almasy, CNN
December 7, 2012 -- Updated 1811 GMT (0211 HKT)
David McCue stands near the roof of his beach house, which was completely demolished by Superstorm Sandy, in Ortley Beach, New Jersey, on Sunday, November 25. <strong><a href='http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/30/us/gallery/sandy-damage/index.html' target='_blank'>See photos of the immediate aftermath of Sandy.</a></strong> David McCue stands near the roof of his beach house, which was completely demolished by Superstorm Sandy, in Ortley Beach, New Jersey, on Sunday, November 25. See photos of the immediate aftermath of Sandy.
HIDE CAPTION
Long, slow recovery from Superstorm Sandy
Long, slow recovery from Superstorm Sandy
Long, slow recovery from Superstorm Sandy
Long, slow recovery from Superstorm Sandy
Long, slow recovery from Superstorm Sandy
Long, slow recovery from Superstorm Sandy
Long, slow recovery from Superstorm Sandy
Long, slow recovery from Superstorm Sandy
Long, slow recovery from Superstorm Sandy
Long, slow recovery from Superstorm Sandy
Long, slow recovery from Superstorm Sandy
Long, slow recovery from Superstorm Sandy
Long, slow recovery from Superstorm Sandy
Long, slow recovery from Superstorm Sandy
Long, slow recovery from Superstorm Sandy
Long, slow recovery from Superstorm Sandy
Long, slow recovery from Superstorm Sandy
Long, slow recovery from Superstorm Sandy
Long, slow recovery from Superstorm Sandy
Long, slow recovery from Superstorm Sandy
Long, slow recovery from Superstorm Sandy
Long, slow recovery from Superstorm Sandy
Long, slow recovery from Superstorm Sandy
Long, slow recovery from Superstorm Sandy
Long, slow recovery from Superstorm Sandy
Long, slow recovery from Superstorm Sandy
Long, slow recovery from Superstorm Sandy
Long, slow recovery from Superstorm Sandy
Long, slow recovery from Superstorm Sandy
Long, slow recovery from Superstorm Sandy
Long, slow recovery from Superstorm Sandy
Long, slow recovery from Superstorm Sandy
Long, slow recovery from Superstorm Sandy
Long, slow recovery from Superstorm Sandy
Long, slow recovery from Superstorm Sandy
Long, slow recovery from Superstorm Sandy
Long, slow recovery from Superstorm Sandy
Long, slow recovery from Superstorm Sandy
Long, slow recovery from Superstorm Sandy
Long, slow recovery from Superstorm Sandy
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: New York will look at levees, dunes and other options for protection
  • Mayor says New York has to be able to better defend itself against extreme weather
  • City will revise building codes, zoning and improve infrastructure, Bloomberg says
  • Groups will focus on addressing climate change and examine city's Sandy response

(CNN) -- With his city still trying to bounce back from the damage caused by Superstorm Sandy, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said New York must rebuild "smarter and stronger and more sustainably."

Bloomberg told reporters New York will prepare for natural disasters better by revising building codes, changing zoning requirements in some low-lying areas and making sure infrastructure can withstand a Category 2 hurricane or a heat wave.

"Whether or not one storm is related to climate change or is not, we have to manage for risks, and we have to be able to better defend ourselves against extreme weather and natural disasters," he said.

Global Public Square: Cities key to beating climate change

Bloomberg said that New York, which has more than 500 miles of shoreline, will consider building berms, dunes, jetties and levees to protect against surging seawater during bad storms.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks on Thursday about long-term challenges facing the city after Sandy.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks on Thursday about long-term challenges facing the city after Sandy.

Such a system could be expensive. Improvements to the New Orleans' flood protection system, which is 130 miles long and includes sea gates and flood walls, cost $14 billion.

New York doesn't have unlimited funds, the mayor said.

"We have to live in the real world and make tough decisions based on the costs and benefits of risk-avoidance investments," he said. "Saying we're going to spend whatever it takes just is not realistic."

The mayor compared post-Sandy New York to the one that faced security challenges after the September 11, 2001, attacks. The city quickly built the largest counterterrorism operation of any city in the world, he said.

Drought-stressed trees face race to adapt

The Economic Development Corporation of New York will take the lead on drawing up "concrete recovery plans for the communities Sandy hit hardest as well as a specific and comprehensive action plan to prepare our city for the climate risks we face," Bloomberg said.

The mayor said the city has already strengthened building codes and will have to do so again. At the same time, he wants residents who rebuild to do so without being penalized if they build homes higher than current height restrictions.

He said the city also needs to look at communications and energy infrastructure.

The city should replace copper wiring for phones with fiber optics, he said, and cell phone towers need to have more than eight hours of backup power.

Uncovering the secrets of Greenland's ice

Deputy Mayors Linda Gibbs and Cas Holloway will look at how well the city was prepared logistically and how it reacted after Sandy hit, he said. Their report is due by the end of February, Bloomberg said.

"We may or may not see another storm like Sandy in our lifetimes, but I don't think it's fair to say that we should leave it to our children to prepare for the possibility," he said.

Sandy slammed ashore near Atlantic City, New Jersey, on October 29 after forming in the Caribbean and sweeping northward, killing a total of 182 people from Haiti to Canada.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Superstorm Sandy
November 5, 2012 -- Updated 1317 GMT (2117 HKT)
A mother learns that her newborn is part of a hospital evacuation. Facebook posts from a member of the HMS Bounty turn ominous. A man worries about the wind and rain, but another force of nature hits home.
November 29, 2012 -- Updated 1953 GMT (0353 HKT)
Tourists become volunteer rescue workers. The connected provide power outlets and Wi-Fi. Performers lift spirits. Photographers preserve images. Doctors work overtime to keep hospitals running and patients alive.
Get to know the victims of Superstorm Sandy through our interactive feature.
November 30, 2012 -- Updated 1542 GMT (2342 HKT)
It has been in operation only since October 30, but the Facebook page for "Giving back to those affected by Sandy" has a longer timeline than most Facebook members.
November 25, 2012 -- Updated 2007 GMT (0407 HKT)
It's important to remember that even as the effect of Superstorm Sandy recedes from the news, there are still devastated areas that are without electricity, heat or hot water.
November 24, 2012 -- Updated 1646 GMT (0046 HKT)
The rapper 50 Cent brought a little holiday cheer and Thanksgiving food to New Yorkers hit hard by Superstorm Sandy.
November 21, 2012 -- Updated 1710 GMT (0110 HKT)
Our AmeriCares "Operation Muck-Out" team immediately got to work, ripping out the interior walls and removing the insulation until only wooden beams were standing.
November 20, 2012 -- Updated 1719 GMT (0119 HKT)
Ashley Murray became the first female president of Liberty Industrial Gases and Welding Supplies Inc. in Brooklyn. But now the family history Murray was charged with preserving is at risk of ending after Superstorm Sandy.
Truckloads of donations from across the country, carrying everything from bottled water to diapers, are arriving at places of worship.
November 20, 2012 -- Updated 1716 GMT (0116 HKT)
The adage says "a picture is worth a thousand words," but when Leeann Lewandowski happened upon a photograph of her late mother on Facebook after her home was destroyed in Superstorm Sandy, she was speechless.
November 2, 2012 -- Updated 1652 GMT (0052 HKT)
Roots ripped out of the ground as a large oak tree fell toward Olga Raymond's front door. With it came a power line.
iReporters share their photos, videos and stories of living in the path of the superstorm.
ADVERTISEMENT