A new community-based service focused on disaster preparedness for NYC neighborhoods most impacted by climate change.

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Using a co-design process, we created a model for a new community-based service focused on disaster preparedness. The project is designed to bridge the gap between isolated, medically fragile residents and advanced care/services. 

During climate related emergencies, many of NYC’s residents, such as seniors and those with illnesses and/or disabilities, become isolated in their homes, without a preexisting mechanism to identify or treat them. This problem was acute in Red Hook Brooklyn during Hurricane Sandy. Geographically isolated, Red Hook has a 45% poverty rate, high levels of asthma and diabetes, and Brooklyn’s largest public housing development. The storm’s damage left the neighborhood without access to medical care. If it wasn’t for a medical student’s efforts going door to door with intake forms, over 350 people would not have received greatly needed medical care. This project grew directly out of that grassroots effort.

400,000 NYC residents live in the floodplain. The frequency of climate-related events is projected to intensify, including hurricanes, and of primary concern, heat waves. Yet, there is no citywide mechanism or strategy in place to meet this particular need. Climate Change is a socio-spatial issue—not everyone is impacted equally. The problem of climate, equity, and access to care is complex, and each community has unique needs, so universal, one size fits all solutions do not work.


Service proposal and vision
Using Red Hook as a case study, we envision a neighborhood-wide support network. Our goals are to 1) bridge the gap between isolated residents and first response, and 2) embed disaster preparedness and climate change knowledge into everyday life and build social cohesion. Although what we are proposing is entirely new, we seek to integrate with and build off of existing social networks and local organizations. Learn more by reading the DNA info article.

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Aran Baker