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Title: In the Wake of the Storm: Accelerated Gentrification after Natural Disasters and Protecting Vulnerable Populations in New York City During Post Storm Recovery
Authors: Coke, Kristen
Advisors: Kinsey, David
Department: Woodrow Wilson School
Class Year: 2016
Abstract: When a natural disaster occurs, the world changes for those who live in its wake. Natural disaster, especially hurricanes, can wreck devastating damage damage on a neighborhood, especially the homes in a neighborhood. As a result of the sweeping damage to housing, widespread displacement occurs. The hurricane then creates a need for recovery, during which rebuilding homes becomes an option or an imperative for local government and policy stakeholders. However, often post-storm recovery can lead to the implementation of policies and decisions that can adversely affect the low-income and minority residents, or vulnerable population, in a neighborhood. Considering that most neighborhoods undergo a process of steady change prior to being hit by a hurricane, we can theorize that a natural disaster can then accelerate this change, and as a result, impact vulnerable populations negatively. This thesis examines the ways in which natural disasters accelerate neighborhood change, and how that change often takes place in ways that are inimical to vulnerable populations. This thesis first develops a working understanding of the processes of neighborhood change, identifies the many ways cities utilize neighborhood redevelopment policies to facilitate gentrification, such as through including rehabilitating and integrating affordable housing projects; creating incentives to entice new homebuyers and facilitate homeownership; as well as encouraging private public partnerships to stimulate community development. This thesis also identifies different post-storm recovery policies typically employed by cities in the wake of a storm. These include but are not limited to addressing which neighborhoods (and homes) need to be repaired and rebuilt; how to repair and rebuild said neighborhoods and homes; providing funds for rebuilding and repair; providing rental subsidies or rental assistance to those who need it; and rehabilitate low-income public housing. This thesis then recognized that in order discusses what to do in the wake of a natural disaster, both neighborhood development policies and post-storm recovery policies must meet and interact. This tension holds significance because it leads way to analysis of how these policies work against vulnerable populations, and continue to inherently perpetuate or create disadvantages for vulnerable populations, as opposed to their more economically affluent and/or non-minority counterparts. This thesis then analyzes two case studies, the case of Hurricane Andrew in Miami, FL and the case of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, LA. These case studies address the post-storm recovery methods utilized by two different cities and how the policies in the respective cities affected the ability of each city’s population to return or remain in their original neighborhoods what actions they took or did not take to protect displaced people after the storm, and to ensure that displacement was minimized and return was expedited for the original residents who occupied those neighborhoods. This thesis then explores the current post-storm housing recovery strategies being implemented in New York City to determine what policies have been effective or ineffective in protecting the vulnerable populations of the neighborhoods affected by Sandy.
Extent: 90 pages
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Woodrow Wilson School, 1929-2016

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