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SRL white paper released: A Tale of Two Sandys

A Tale of Two Sandys: Cover Image

Superstorm Research Lab has just released the first in-depth report aimed on Sandy’s aftermath that examines a wide cross-section of post-Sandy perspectives, including policymakers in New York City Hall, individuals whose lives were acutely affected, established NGOs, and community-based organizations like Occupy Sandy. Drawing on over 70 extensive interviews, we have found that two divergent concepts of disaster have lead to different types of response, definitions of recovery, and attention to justice following Hurricane Sandy’s landfall in New York City in 2012.

The white paper, A Tale of Two Sandys, describes these competing views that emerged in initial experiences of the storm as well as subsequent relief efforts, and uses this framework to analyze the main debates in recovery taking place in New York City today. Our research finds that on one hand, the crisis was seen as an extreme weather event that created physical and economic damage, and temporarily moved New York City away from its status quo. On the other hand, Hurricane Sandy exacerbated crises which existed before the storm, including poverty, lack of affordable housing, precarious or low employment, and unequal access to resources generally. Each view has acute effects in terms of what kind of aid, attention to justice, and plans for recovery have been prioritized, demanded, and enacted.

While drawing on academic research, the report is aimed at a broad public audience, including a wide range of city-based stakeholders. The primary purpose of A Tale of Two Sandys is to propose a sophisticated, accurate, and useful way of understanding the inequalities entwined with Sandy’s aftermath and to enable ways to address them, particularly for several policy areas, from immediate post-storm recovery to longer-term challenges like climate change.

Read the full report here.

For more information, contact SRL members Max Liboiron at max.liboiron [at] or Daniel Aldana Cohen at aldanacohen [at], 646-920-3436.