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Designing for Risk and Resilience: Lessons from Hurricane Sandy for a COVID World
12:00pm - 1:15pm EDT
Virtual Event


Hurricane Sandy, the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season, struck New York City on October 29, 2012. Forty-four New Yorkers perished, with $19 billion in economic impact to New York City alone due to the14-foot storm surge. The storm revealed existing weaknesses in the city’s infrastructure and inequalities between its neighborhoods, and put city officials on notice to invest in more robust systems to prepare for future storms. In response, the city launched one of the most ambitious and substantial locally-led resilience projects seen anywhere in the world to date.

Join us for this panel with Anthony E. Shorris and Cas Holloway, two of New York City’s former deputy mayors, spanning mayoral administrations during Hurricane Sandy and the recovery process; Marc Ricks and Lolita Jackson, the Chief Operating Officer and Outreach Director who spearheaded New York City’s Special Initiative for Rebuilding & Resiliency; and Billy Fleming, who has written extensively on the work of cities in disaster recovery and climate in general.

They will discuss the lessons learned from the response and recovery efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, how lessons learned from that experience can guide other cities in recovery from disasters, and how city networks can help share these best practices both domestically and globally. This event is sponsored by Penn’s Perry World House, the Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center, the Weitzman School of Design’s McHarg Center, and the Penn Institute for Urban Research.

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Headshot of Billy FlemingBilly Fleming is the Wilks Family Director of the Ian L. McHarg Center in the Weitzman School of Design and a senior fellow with Data for Progress. His fellowship with Data for Progress has focused on the built environment impacts of climate change, and resulted most prominently in the publication of low-carbon public housing policy briefs tied to the “Green New Deal for Public Housing Act” introduced in 2019. Prior to joining Penn, he worked as a landscape architect, city planner, organizer, and, later, in the Obama Administration’s White House Domestic Policy Council. He holds a bachelor of landscape architecture from the University of Arkansas, a master of community and regional planning from the University of Texas, and a doctorate of city and regional planning from the University of Pennsylvania.

Headshot of Caswell HollowayCaswell Holloway served as the Deputy Mayor for Operations of New York City for Mayor Michael Bloomberg from 2011-13, with oversight over eleven mayoral agencies and offices. He assisted the Mayor in overseeing the Police Department, Fire Department, Office of Emergency Management, Office of Management and Budget, and the Office of Labor Relations. Prior to his appointment as Deputy Mayor, Cas served as the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, working to implement the Mayor’s blueprint for a sustainable New York City. Cas is Head of Public Enterprise for Unqork, a no-code software development platform. The Unqork platform enables enterprise businesses and government agencies to build complex software applications without writing code. Cas is focused on bringing Unqork to the Public, Healthcare and Not-for-Profit sectors. He graduated cum laude from Harvard College and with honors from the University of Chicago Law School.

Headshot of Lolita JacksonLolita Jackson was the Outreach Director of the Special Initiative for Rebuilding & Resiliency, the post-Hurricane Sandy resilience plan; and the Deputy Director of External Affairs for the Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery Operations. She is now the Special Advisor for Climate Policy & Programs in the NYC Mayor’s Office and a Visiting Fellow at Perry World House. She is currently the climate diplomat for NYC, and is also lead for the administration regarding global work on divestment and climate finance. Prior to her appointment to this role, she held numerous positions within the NYC Mayor’s Office over the past 14 years, including lead for operational city agencies on Second Avenue Subway and Barclays Center projects, and Manhattan Director of Community Affairs. Prior to her tenure in the NYC Mayor’s Office, Jackson worked for Morgan Stanley Investment Management for 12 years. She is a1989 alumna of the Penn School of Engineering, majoring in Applied Science with a concentration in Chemical Engineering, is co-President of the Penn Class of 1989, and is a 2007 winner of the Penn Alumni Award of Merit.

Headshot of Marc RicksMarc Ricks served as the Chief Operating Officer of New York City’s Special Initiative for Rebuilding & Resiliency (SIRR) in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, from 2012-13. SIRR was a landmark plan to protect New York City from the impacts of extreme weather events and climate change, as well as other shocks and stresses such as urban heat. Previously, he was senior policy advisor and chief of staff to New York City’s Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding from 2001-03, where he played an active role in major projects such as the rebirth of the High Line and the transformation of the Far West Side of Manhattan into a modern commercial district known as Hudson Yards. He is now the President and Chief Operating Officer of Sidewalk Labs, an Alphabet company tackling the challenges of urban growth, where he also oversees the Corporate Development function. Marc is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Business School.

Headshot of Anthony ShorrisAnthony E. Shorris served as the First Deputy Mayor of New York City for Mayor Bill de Blasio from 2014-18 where he was responsible for the day to day work of New York's 375,000 public employees and its $88 billion annual operating budget. Prior to that, he was Vice Dean, Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff of the New York University Langone Medical Center, including its hospitals and medical school. From 2003 to 2007, he taught at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs where he also directed the Policy Research Institute for the Region. He has also served as New York City’s Deputy Chancellor for Operations and Policy at the Board of Education (2000-03), First Deputy Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (1991-95), NYC Commissioner of Finance (1987-89), and NYC Deputy Budget Director (1984-88). He received an A.B .in Government from Harvard College and an M.P.A. from Princeton University.