It has only been six years since our nation learned a valuable lesson in storm preparation: Infrastructure is everything. In 2005, Katrina caused 28 levees to collapse, leaving nearly three-quarters of New Orleans inundated by storm waters.
This past August, New York City’s infrastructure was challenged. Luckily for us, the much less powerful tropical storm Irene did not make a direct hit. However, with State Farm reporting over 360 homeowner claims, 370,000 people being left without power, and politicians playing Texas Hold ‘Em over how to manage the $1.1 billion bill left for FEMA, there are clearly some structural adjustments that the city should make in order to reduce storm damages in the future. It is imperative that city governments update their infrastructure and exhaust measures to protect their residents. For New York City, this means that the city’s green infrastructure plan should emphasize the use of landscape swales and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified buildings as the best approach for dealing with storms.