On May 4, MassHousing hosted the latest in a series of "Green Corner" panel discussions entitled Proactive Planning for Resilience and Sustainability as part of an ongoing conversation about integrating sustainability values into the construction and rehabilitation of affordable housing. Panelists included Laurita Kaigler-Crawlle and Celina Barrios-Millner from the office of Boston's Chief Resiliency Officer, Atiya Martin); Alma Balonon-Rosen of Enterprise Community; and Samuel J. Bell of GZA GeoEnvironmental Inc. The event was moderated by Diane Georgopulos of MassHousing.
The panel discussed the need for multifamily housing properties to implement preventative and mitigation strategies in order build capacity to withstand the negative effects of global climate change, including increased intensity of storms or rising sea levels.
Kaigler-Crawlle and Barrior-Millner discussed the significant efforts the City of Boston has exerted to engage residents to explore how the day to day obstacles in their lives could potentially be overcome to create a more resilient community in the face of a disaster. The approach the City has taken emphasizes the existing social and economic conditions of a neighborhood as a key determinant of resiliency and builds from that understanding to establish more effective disaster planning strategies.
Bell spoke on the necessity of making the translation of how the residents' context compares with the technicians' context and the vital role such translation serves in designing mitigation strategies and delivering essential services during storm events. Bell is an urban planner working with engineers. He spoke about how necessary it is to build that bridge of understanding of the day to day context of residents in a community and impart that understanding to the professional consultants in their technical assessment of that community.
Balonon-Rosen of Enterprise Community spoke about how multi-family housing organizations can develop comprehensive disaster staffing plans to protect buildings, engage residents and continue business operations in the event of an incident such as a hurricane, earthquake, tornado, flood, fire, power outage, hazardous spill or act of terrorism.
Enterprise has developed a Disaster Staffing Toolkit based on the Incident Command System (ICS), a planning framework used by federal, state and local first responders to help with command, control and coordination of disaster response. You can read an overview of the Disaster Staffing Toolkit to understand the importance of developing a disaster staffing plan.
By using the toolkit to develop a disaster staffing plan, your organization will be able to:
- Assign an Emergency Preparedness Coordinator (EPC) to manage the plan's implementation
- Minimize building damage and ensure quick return to service
- Support the safety, preparedness and recovery of residents
- Maintain key business operations throughout a disaster
Resiliency is a popular topic these days as noted by Boston Globe Columnist Alex Beam in a recent column he wrote featuring Dr. Atyia Martin. Stay tuned for the next Green Corner panel in the fall where we will discuss micro units.