Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Panel Paper: Best Practices in Managing Urban Disaster Recovery

Friday, November 13, 2015 : 1:30 PM
Johnson II (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Ellen Howard-Cooper, New York Mayor's Office of Housing Recovery Operations
Two and a half years after Superstorm Sandy devastated New York City's coastline, communities are still trying to rebuild. Delays experienced in New York are, unfortunately, all too common after a disaster strikes. To be sure, a decade after Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast, Louisiana and surrounding states have still not fully recovered.

What causes these delays and how can they be avoided when the next disaster strikes?  The problems lie in over-designed and under-managed programs. The solutions lie in more streamlined planning and better management. This paper explores how proven management techniques can facilitate effective and efficient disaster recovery programs. The paper will demonstrate how management restructuring and the introduction of a performance tool, known as RecoveryStat, provided much needed oversight and accountability to NYC's Build it Back program. The use of real time data at the fingertips of front-line workers, middle and senior management, led to a 25% increase in productivity in just six months and helped to turn around a program mired in delays and inefficiency.