I’d just moved in to the East Village when Hurricane Sandy hit. The blackout seemed to dissect the center of the universe in two. My roommate and I went from being new residents of the East Village to new residents of the area South of Power, otherwise known as SoPo, before our boxes were even unpacked.
A unique and detailed survey funded by the Rockefeller Foundation confirms the important role that social and community bonds play vis-à-vis disaster resilience. The new study, which focuses on resilience and social capital in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, reveals how disaster-affected communities self-organized, “with reports of many people sharing access to power, food and water, and providing shelter.” This mutual aid was primarily coordinated face-to-face. This may not always be possible, however. So the “Share Economy” can also play an important role in coordinating self-help during disasters.
In a share economy, “asset owners use digital clearinghouses to capitalize the unused capacity of things they already have, and consumers rent from their peers rather than rent or buy from a company” (1). During disasters, these asset owners can use the same digital clearinghouses to offer what they have at no cost. For example, more than 1,400 kindhearted New Yorkers offered free housing to people heavily affected by the hurricane. They did this using AirBnB, as shown in the short video above. Meanwhile, on the West Coast, the City of San Francisco has just launched a partnership with BayShare, a sharing economy advocacy group in the Bay Area. The partnership’s goal is to “harness the power of sharing to ensure the best response to future disasters in San Francisco” (2).
There's plenty of 'pop-up' architecture out there, but that usually just means a building's in a spot temporarily, rather than physically popping up. This is a little different. Buenos Aires architects Matías Alter and Matías Carrizo have designed disaster relief housing that can be folded flat when it's not in use.
Really, do you need another scented candle when there are thousands of people still trying to rebuild their lives after Hurricane Sandy? In lieu of a traditional gift exchange, host your own “Secret Sandy” gift swap in your office or with your family this year. Just follow this DIY guide to get started, and choose from these different “gift” options:\n
When Hurricane Sandy made landfall, I started receiving text messages from the staff at our HandsOn Network affiliates New York Cares and the Long Island Volunteer Center. Despite being personally impacted by the storm, they were already thinking of how they could help others.