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Superstorm Sandy at Five: Lessons on Law as Catalyst and Obstacle to Long-Term Recovery Following Catastrophic Disasters

June 2018

Citation: ELR 10494

Author: Donovan Finn and John Travis Marshall

Nine of the 10 costliest U.S. hurricanes on record have ravaged the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts in the first two decades of the 21st century, yet federal, state, and local governments continue to struggle with devising an efficient and effective way to help cities and towns recover. This Article focuses on law-related obstacles encountered during the disaster response and recovery post- Superstorm Sandy. It considers how Sandy’s long-term recovery can inform the deliberations of cities nationwide regarding the strengths and potential vulnerabilities of their local laws, institutions, and capacities for promoting resilient recovery. The authors conclude by suggesting six takeaways to guide communities in the United States facing potential hazards-related risks.

Donovan Finn is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Design, Policy, and Planning in the Sustainability Studies Program and School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University. John Travis Marshall is an Assistant Professor of Law, Georgia State University College of Law.

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