The loss of life and destruction of properties and infrastructure resulting from Hurricane Sandy is almost impossible to comprehend. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, and to those from around the nation who are responding with rescue and relief assistance. All of us who love our communities feel a deep sense of loss over the devastation throughout the region.
As this terrible event continues to unfold, many in the affected areas are still without such basics as electricity and easy access to food and water. What they need first and foremost is recovery aid. I encourage you to give generously to the Red Cross and other organizations involved in this relief effort.
Ultimately, there will be a massive rebuilding effort that will take place in the months and years to come. ULI is monitoring the situation and we will be working closely with our members throughout the region to determine where and how we can have the most beneficial impact. We are planning a coordinated effort that will draw upon the best thinking from our land use and urban development experts, our vast reservoir of best practices in redevelopment, and our past work in the restoration and revival of communities around the world.
ULI has a long history of providing community rebuilding assistance through our Advisory Services Panel program, which includes strategic guidance to communities hit by natural and man-made disasters. These advisory efforts have assisted numerous urban areas in crisis, including New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina; Lower Manhattan after 9-11; Cedar Rapids, Iowa following flooding; and Minneapolis after a major bridge collapse.
It is possible that ULI might conduct a similar effort in New York City, and in communities in New Jersey and Connecticut at the appropriate time, when the focus shifts from relief and recovery to long-term rebuilding. This process will take many years and a rock-solid public-private commitment that can withstand changes in political office, as well as economic, social and cultural shifts.
ULI’s strength lies in its ability to help communities as they prepare to rebuild, and we stand ready to contribute decades of land use expertise to the revival of this wonderful part of our nation.