Coders are the new superheroes of natural disasters

Sydney ‘scores badly’ for climate resilience compared to global cities

Sydney ‘scores badly’ for climate resilience compared to global cities. Sprawling housing estates, like in Oran Park on Sydney’s south-west fringe, are having a large impact on total energy usage. Credit: Getty Images

Sydney is poorly prepared for the impacts of climate change and related disasters compared to other global cities, with a growing chunk of the population at risk from high urban heat and the city falling behind on green space.

Those findings by the Committee for Sydney have prompted a leading urban geographer to call for stricter building standards to shield Sydneysiders from rising heat and reduce energy usage. University of Sydney associate professor Kurt Iveson warned the city risked “locking in even higher energy consumption” in the race to tackle housing affordability with poorly-designed housing stock on the suburban fringe and closer to the city.

For example, development controls should require the use of roofing materials that reflect heat away from homes. “We know that climate change heat stress is only going to get worse and we’re still letting that be a matter for individual consumers,” he said….


13 Proposals to Boost Resilience in Vieques, Puerto Rico

A new report details 13 student proposals to assist the Puerto Rican island of Vieques with its recovery after Hurricane Maria. The proposals, published by Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation (GSAPP), range from hurricane-resistant housing options to localized food production, innovative waste management solutions, education initiatives, and more.

Eight miles east of Puerto Rico’s main island, Vieques is perhaps most known for the naval base that once terrorized residents with its live bombing and missile exercises. After the Navy left in 2003, the island began attracting tourists with its white sand beaches, tropical forests, and bioluminescent bay. But in September 2017, Vieques was ravaged once again — not by missiles and bombs, but by powerful winds and flooding from Hurricane Maria…


Coders are the new superheroes of natural disasters

A new documentary, Code and Response, reminds viewers that 2018 was one of the worst years on record for natural disasters, taxing governments, straining relief organizations, and overwhelming communities attempting to rebuild. It reveals a new, surprising, type of disaster responders: coders.

The film, produced by IBM and directed by Austin Peck, centers on the increasing incidents of the devastation of natural disasters, and a cadre of coders who’ve dedicated their attentions and tech talent to help facilitate and expedite the responders’ response to natural disasters. The social-activist developers serve as a frontline defense against some of the society-at-large greatest dangers…

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