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Hurricane Sandy & Green Map's Home

How did Hurricane Sandy empower us at Green Map System?

Our Director writes: The floodwaters stopped just a few blocks from our office in the East Village of Manhattan on October 29, 2012. Nevertheless, both the office and my apartment lost power for the entire workweek. With my trusty bicycle, I found places to work outside the dark zone, and found ways to pitch in on the relief efforts, including cycling supplies out to a hardhit area and considering how our resources could involve more people in this critical issue.

It was stunning to see how and where the water rose, so when our electricity was restored, we decided to add the high water mark to our map of energy resources. View it at (you can even embed this interactive map in your own website or blog). We also produced "Lower East Ride Green Maps" to help introduce the then-new bikeshare program and promote cycling as an everyday climate change countermeasure (download at the bottom of this page in English, Chinese and Spanish).

Bike Ready, our preparedness for bicyclists video was produced in 2016 in 4 languages. 2017 -2018's climate actions include development of concepts for a community resiliency lab and matching the global Green Map Icons to the UN's 2030 Goals.

As you probably know, Sandy has become a broad call to action for a more resilient approach to planning for climate change. We developed a dynamic slideshow on the evolution of our own local climate-themed Green Maps, including the Creative Climate Action Award we won in fall 2013, and some of related editions by global Green Mapmakers.

As noted in our Post-Sandy newsletter, on Dec 2, 2012, we held our first "Adapting to Change" Cycling Tour. Riders explored resilient solutions that reduce energy consumption and increase climate awareness - see some of the speakers below. This ride built upon our prize-winning ’10 Days of Climate Action’ Tour which included several sites from our interactive Energy edition. You can download the original 2006 version of this map under Info on the right sidebar, too.

Our tour drew diverse participants as well as press coverage in Bowery Boogie and a Play and Ideas post by Benjamin Heim Shepard.

We've continued the conversation with different participants as we have found this builds momentum for action and synergizes our ability to foment social change:

• In January 2013, we gave a walking tour as part of the Municipal Art Society's Road to Resilience Forum, which was covered by Untapped New York.

• We dug in deeper on our March 2013 Adapting to Change cycling tour/discussion, and quite literally, supported community resiliency and sustainability as we pitched in in the new Siempre Verde community garden.

• In partnership with East River Park's Partnerships for Parks Greenway Catalyst, the next phase of this project launched in May: Lower East Ride which includes new printed and interactive Green Maps that juxtapose Sandy's impacts with resilient living resources, including the 45 new bike share stations on the Lower East Ride. Download the PDF and explore the social media generated by this extended cycling tour series and thought-provoking map designed by Maryam Khabazi, with Bethany Bingham and Aaron Reiss at!

• Each of our tours revealed more impacts and issues, as East River Park, street trees and gardens losses were tallied. Green spaces slowly recovered from salt water inundation, and impacted businesses and buildings got back on their feet. During the Summer, we began distributing printed Lower East Ride - Adapting to Change Green Maps in Chinese, Spanish and English, informing our diverse neighbors about cycling and other resources and encouraging everyone to be part of the change we need to see in the world.

• Our discussion rides have continued with our award-winning ride taking place at the end of September. It was an official Climate Week NYC and 10 Days of Climate Action event, and drew New Yorkers and visitors from several countries.

• We produced a video to encourage more involvement: How to Make a Green Map Cycling Tour is now online in English or Chinese! There's a text tutorial too!

• We joined LES Ready, the long term recovery group in our community. We take part in many different kinds of climate resiliency efforts in NYC, as well.

• Our video and guide help bicyclists organize for ongoing emergencies - see it at Bike Ready. It debuted at the Bicycle Film Festival 2016, with multilingual versions now available - Chinese, Japanese and Spanish.

• Lower East Ride reprinted, several times!

• 2017's climate actions include a concepts for a community resiliency lab and matching the global Green Map Icons to the SDGs, the UN's 2030 Goals.

• 2018's actions include taking part in the launch of LESReady's new guide and Public Lab's Crisis Convening.

• Climate change is directing us toward a new way of working. We'll soon reveal how.

We're taking part in other climate forums and generating new ways that Green Map projects, locally and globally, can help shift the balance toward a climate smart and healthy common future. Support this work at any time, or contact us about getting involved.

Best wishes from Wendy Brawer and our New York staff.

Video from 'Adapting to Change Cycling Tour' series, presented as a 'how-to' for extending beyond mapmaking and generate new solutions for the community's future. See it in Chinese and with its English guide, here.

Lower.East_.Ride_.GreenMap.pdf842.78 KB
Lower_East_Ride_Spanish_9-13.pdf991.48 KB
Lower_East_Ride_Green Map_Chinese.pdf1.18 MB