Superstorm Research Lab Launches White Paper: A Tale of Two Sandys

Superstorm Research Lab releases report on gap in understandings of Hurricane Sandy

Superstorm Research Lab has released the first in-depth report that examines a wide cross-section of post-Sandy perspectives, including policymakers in New York City Hall, individuals whose lives were acutely affected, established NGOs, and community-based organizations like Occupy Sandy. Drawing on over 70 extensive interviews, they have found that two divergent concepts of disaster have led to different types of response, definitions of recovery, and attention to justice following Hurricane Sandy’s landfall in New York City in 2012.

Superstorm Research Lab’s report, A Tale of Two Sandys, describes these competing views that emerged in initial experiences of the storm as well as subsequent relief efforts, and uses this framework to analyze the main debates in recovery taking place in New York City today. SRL research finds that on one hand, the crisis was seen as an extreme weather event that created physical and economic damage, and temporarily moved New York City away from its status quo. On the other hand, Hurricane Sandy exacerbated crises which existed before the storm, including poverty, lack of affordable housing, precarious or low employment, and unequal access to resources generally. Each view has acutely affected what kind of aid, attention to justice, and plans for recovery have been prioritized, demanded, and enacted.

While drawing on academic research, the report is aimed at a broad public audience, including a wide range of city-based stakeholders. The primary purpose of A Tale of Two Sandys is to propose a sophisticated, accurate, and useful way of understanding the inequalities entwined with Sandy’s aftermath and to enable ways to address them, particularly for several policy areas, from immediate post-storm recovery to longer-term challenges like climate change.

Read the full report here:

Superstorm Research Lab (SRL) is a mutual aid research collective based at New York University working to understand how NYC policy actors, NGO and community leaders, activists, volunteers, and residents are thinking about social, economic and environmental issues following Hurricane Sandy. They produce traditional scholarship, but also push the boundaries of what it means to do academic work founded on the need for social change.


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