The world as we know it is beginning to change.
Climate is changing. Temperatures are escalating. Ice is melting. Sea level is rising.
The idea of global warming has been pushed off to the side for years now. Some people don’t even believe global warming is an actual problem. All of a sudden the world is starting to notice how hot our summers are, how brutally cold the winters are, and how rapid the ice is melting and how sea level is rising.
All of these elements of global warming are going to make the world’s natural disasters such as tropical storms, hurricanes, tornados, and earthquakes even more traumatic.
Natural disasters have gotten increasingly worse over the years with the effects of global warming and they aren’t going to get any better.
If the melting of the ice caps continues to escalate, sea levels will continue to rise and certain towns and cities will be flooded out.
Preservation of our environment is not a liberal or conservative challenge, its common sense.
With New Jersey being on the east coast, it is much more susceptible to flooding. The people of New Jersey must be aware of the fact that their state can and will be directly affected by the sea level rising. If planning is not implemented now, New Jersey might not be a viable state in the future.
How do we plan?
Planning for natural disasters has only recently become a subject of interest in the past years.
It wasn’t until 2005, when Hurricane Katrina hit, that we as a country fully realized how unprepared we were to deal with such events.
For New Jersey particularly, Hurricane Sandy was an extreme eye opener. New Jersey was completely blind sided by this tropical storm that resulted in destruction of homes and entire cities. The death toll for the state of New Jersey after this natural disaster was 37, the second highest out of the states of New York being the highest, Long Island and Connecticut.
To this day there are still parts of New Jersey that have not been fully rehabilitated after this traumatic event. The city of Mantoloking is still currently trying to revitalize their town and redevelop it simultaneously.
Planning for natural disasters is not an easy task, but there are three rules for adequate planning for natural disasters: be fair, be safe and go green.
- The first item, be safe, illustrates that disaster planning and safety considerations must be put into action when implementing a plan for a city.
- The second item, be fair, refers to the fact that in a mass amount of people some are going to suffer more than others during natural disasters depending on location.
- The last item, go green, means that we must work with nature, not against it. If we do so this will help reduce the magnitude of possible disasters.
In order for towns to be planned effectively and ready for anything that comes their way, the masterplan must capture the city’s development vision, priorities of the city, and the vulnerabilities of the city. Especially now with sea levels rising, flood plans must be re-evaluated in order to secure the safety for the residence of the town.
Where do we start?
Not only is the Jersey shore line susceptible to floods, but Hoboken and Sayreville are two of the most vulnerable cities to flood based off of their location and elevation levels.
According to hobokennj.gov “Hoboken is the first New Jersey municipality to conduct a fully comprehensive evaluation of its plans and codes to ensure that its residents and first responders are safer, the City can perform continuous operations, that businesses can function without substantial interruption, and that neighborhoods suffer less property damage and emotional toll from flooding.”
In April of 2016, the city of Hoboken hosted three workshops to discuss a finalized plan as part of the $230 million federally-funded Rebuild by Design Hudson River project. The final result of the design is intended to reflect the communities’ opinion and the projected completed construction is set for the year 2022.
Contrasting immensely with the city of Hoboken, Sayreville New Jersey has no plan implemented. The only plan that has been created was designed by Rutgers Urban Planning Majors of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy. Although this is a start to the redevelopment of flood planning, it is no where close to where it should be.
The state of New Jersey must get a move on for planning of the future and replicate the efficiency of the city of Hoboken. If the world as a whole, not even just New Jersey, doesn’t open their eyes to the problems and situations our planet is beginning to face, future generations better be ready to live with the fish!
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