Informed, Prepared, Connected, Adaptive: A Vision for a More Resilient Lower East Side

Year_Semester: 2013 Fall 

Course Number: PLAN-600

Course Name: Studio – Fundamentals of Planning

Department(s) : GCPE (PSPD)

Location: Lower East Side, Manhattan, New York City

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After the devastating effects of Superstorm Sandy exposed numerous gaps in the ability of the Lower East Side to withstand disasters, executive director of GOLES approached the instructors of Fundamentals of Planning class of the Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment (GCPE) to organize another studio class in the Lower East Side, this time on disaster preparedness and community resilience. During the first part of the semester, students surveyed the area, worked in teams to conduct a SWOT analysis of the physical, socio-economic, and environmental conditions in CD3. They also interviewed residents, CBOs and government representatives and reviewed case studies to develop a series of short, middle, and long-term recommendations for different phases of disaster resilience– preparedness & planning, pre-storm, response and long-term recovery. These recommendations that built on the existing assets of the Lower East Side to enable a comprehensive approach and inclusive process towards resilience were grouped under the following six objectives:

  • Ensure efficient and Effective Disaster- related Communication 
  • Incorporate Vulnerable Populations 
  • Strengthen CBOs and Businesses 
  • Improve Infrastructure Networks 
  • Fortify the Built Environment 
  • Ensure Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice in Future Planning 

In addition to existing conditions and a final recommendations report and slide sets, students also compiled several guides, communication materials, and Flood-proofing Education Pamphlets in English, Spanish and Chinese for GOLES to distribute to the community. 

The work of the studio contributed to the LESReady! coalition’s final planning report.


Community Partner(s)/Collaboration(s): Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES)

Student Participants (Last, First):  

Ampudia, Jose Valdes Grande

Balarezo, Rodrigo

Boet-Whitaker, Sonja  

Carey, Dylan 

Chou, Christine 

Douglas, John

Freeman, Asher 

Garrett, Adam 

Kelley, Chelsea 

Kelly, Rosa 

Tiarachristie, Giovania

Uy, Casey 

Wallen, Benjamin 

Zimolka, Jordan 

Zwibel, Lennie 


Faculty (Last, First): 

Osorio, Juan Camilo 

Narciso, Mercedes 

Yonder, Ayse