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Sandy taught us region must change land use approach to survive

10/26/2013 | Real Estate Blog

In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, the Philadelphia, New York City and Northern New Jersey district councils of the Urban Land Institute asked the national organization for help. This part of the Atlantic Seaboard was hit hard by the storm and was, many believe, unprepared for the devastation it wrought. With both local and federal governments working on rebuilding, the region needed advice on how to coordinate the various policies and programs to achieve the best result.

The best result would be more than building communities that could survive or quickly bounce back from major storms or communities that could adapt to the rising sea levels caused by climate change. The best result would be a framework that this region and the rest of the country could use to achieve those results, a framework that would balance the preservation of communities with environmental protection, a framework that would result in approaches flexible enough to adapt to the changing needs of each community.

ULI, a land use research and education organization, took on the task by assembling a panel of experts to evaluate existing plans and to formulate that framework. The final report, “After Sandy: Advancing Strategies for Long-term Resilience and Adaptability,” includes a list of recommendations for the region that officials must now digest.

The recommendations fall into four major categories: land use and development; infrastructure, technology and capacity; finance, investment and insurance; and leadership and governance. In our next few posts, we will discuss some of the recommendations in each category. As always, we reserve the right to interrupt the discussion with any major real estate news for the Philadelphia region.

Sources:, “Report: Build differently for climate change,” Kellie Patrick Gates, Oct. 10, 2013

Urban Land Institute, “After Sandy: Advancing Strategies for Long-term Resilience and Adaptability,” October 2013 at