Theses Master's

Improving Disaster Preparedness in NYC through Widespread Education

Servetz, Stephanie Hope

The New York City Office of Emergency Management (NYC OEM) cites the following natural events as hazards to the NYC area: hurricanes and coastal storms, earthquakes, extreme heat, flooding and winter weather. In addition, there are other unnatural events (i.e. terrorist threats, radiation, fires) that pose hazards to the safety of the general public. Since the turn of the century, there have been a handful of major natural and unnatural disasters that have impacted NYC, and the public's response reflected a lack of intuitive knowledge of how to react appropriately. The purpose of this paper is to determine if the outreach programs offered by disaster planning organizations in NYC can be improved upon to increase widespread education in emergency preparedness. It will focus on what steps are taken in preparation for large-scale disasters that are, by FEMA's definition, "low probability - high consequence events," particularly in consideration of predicted population growth rates and the impending threat of climate change. Finally it will reflect on the challenges this poses for urban planners working in NYC and what contributions they can make for a safer and more sustainable future.

Geographic Areas


  • thumnail for FINAL_Masters_Thesis_SERVETZ.pdf FINAL_Masters_Thesis_SERVETZ.pdf application/pdf 2.44 MB Download File

More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
Thesis Advisors
Lowe, Jeffrey S.
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
June 4, 2012