From the NY Times:
...as city officials and real estate developers ponder a landscape of devastation from the South Street Seaport in Lower Manhattan to the Rockaways in Queens to Midland Beach on Staten Island, new flood protections for all building types suddenly seem inevitable, whether voluntary or mandated by new laws.
Last week, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Ms. Quinn convened a new “building resiliency” task force to study potential changes in the building code and to make recommendations by the summer. Ms. Quinn said she anticipated that the city would require retrofits to reinforce existing structures and more floodproofing for new projects.
The chairman of the task force, Russell Unger, is executive director of the Urban Green Council, which advises the city on sustainable building issues. He said the new group would need to address both direct impacts from the storm, like structure collapse and flooding, and secondary ones, like power losses from utility failures. Levels of protection will have to vary according to location, building use and other variables, he said.
Speaking of the different expectations for different buildings, for example, Mr. Unger said, “we probably expect elevators at senior centers to work, no matter what happens.”
Some of the potential measures are relatively simple, like keeping sandbags handy and installing floodgates at building entrances. Others are more complicated, like relocating critical equipment like boilers above ground level or encasing them in watertight enclosures and rebuilding houses on concrete piles.
The storm’s aftermath also revealed a need for emergency generators to run at least one elevator in tall residential buildings and to pump water to high floors so the buildings remain habitable after a severe storm, some owners said.
What does not seem to be getting consideration, at least for now, is banning development altogether in the city’s flood zones, humble or affluent.
“This is not a viable policy option in New York City, and to be honest, nor is it in any other major coastal city I’ve been working,” said Jeroen Aerts, a water risk expert from the Free University in Amsterdam who has been hired by the mayor’s office to assess flood protections. “The stakes of developers and general economic activities in the waterfront are too high.”
But we're still going to be expected to bail them out when they get wiped out by storms they knew were inevitable?