For example, ORLI, Operation Resilient Long Island, was formed after Sandy by a group of young architects looking for architectural solutions – designing streetscapes that include landscaping, facade and zoning – for waterfront communities in this new era of more frequent and powerful storms.
“Planning must play a central role,” said Mr. Beyer “and remember to look at the usual in unusual ways.”
For example, even during minor coastal storms, water infiltration and flooding occurs in low lying areas and streetscapes act as catch basins for storm water runoff and bay water collection.
“The ocean does what it wants. You have to respect that kind of power. It moves things like pebbles,” said panelist Rob Weltner, Executive Director of SPLASH [Stop Polluting, Littering and Save Harbors]. He suggested that planting more sea grasses aids in abating flooding. “We must improve the state of our wetlands.”
And while salt water in itself is not a problem, “it’s corrosive. So you have to think about the power grid. All the wires need to be replaced,” he said.
The power grid is also susceptible to damage by high winds. During Sandy, neighborhood fires erupted as a result of wire masts being broken off homes by these heavy winds.
“That’s why we need to build in redundancy into our plans,” said Mr. Weltner.
David Berg, an associate of Cameron Engineering, said that Long Islanders should consider studying how other nations are preparing for climate change.
“The Dutch have been thinking about this for 800 years. They have used dikes and levees, re-evaluated spatial planning and redesigned urban centers for better water management,” he said.
Mr. Berg suggested that “roads can be raised to act as levees as they have done in Amsterdam.”
Furthermore, in “Scheveningen, a community a lot like Long Beach, they have built up their beaches by adding sand and rock and geo-textiles to add to the width of the seashore,” said Mr. Berg.