New Jersey Urban Mayors Academy on Resilience

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In 2015, the Center for Resilient Design convened the first New Jersey Urban Mayors Academy on Resilience. Mayors from six New Jersey cities attended a 2-day retreat that developed local resiliency strategies fine-tuned to the specific needs of each community. The Academy is a joint effort of NJIT, the John S. Watson Institute for Public Policy of Thomas Edison State College, and the Regional Plan Association. Modeled on similar – and highly successful – regional and urban design institutes, the Academy invited mayors and a resource team of technical, design, and planning professionals to develop local resiliency strategies that synthesize the best available approaches with specific local conditions, costs, and benefits. The resulting strategies were summarized for each participating mayor and released publicly to serve as models for other urban municipalities throughout the state and beyond. Participating New Jersey municipalities included Bridgeton, Orange, Perth Amboy, Trenton, and Vineland.

New Jersey Urban Mayors Academy on Resilience

Sustainability + Resilience

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Sustainability + Resilience   

In early 2015, the Center began work on a research project analyzing the relationship between sustainability and resilience at the scale of the single family house. Specifically, the Center analyzed a home in Ocean City, NJ that had been damaged in Super Storm Sandy and recently rebuilt. The study analyzed whether the repairs implemented would qualify the home for both Energy Star certification (a measure of its sustainability) and for Fortified Home designation (a measure of its resilience). The study was a first step in what the Center hopes will be a broader set of analyzes to assess the degree to which energy conservation measures can result in improved resilience and vice versa. 

Sustainability + Resilience

Energy Star

  Sustainability + Resilience

Microgrids + Resilience

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Microgrids + Resiliency   

In late 2014, the Center for Resilient Design initiated a study to assess the potential for using distributed power generation and “microgrids” to both increase energy efficiency and reduce hazard vulnerability at the community level. Through an innovative partnership with the Regional Plan Association and the New Jersey Energy Resilience Bank, the Center conducted an analysis of potential locations for distributed energy resources in the Sandy-affected regions of New Jersey. The project identified a series of 24 “town centers” – clusters of public facilities and geographically adjacent non-public buildings – that could be suitable for community-level microgrids. A report summarizing results was provided to the Energy Resilience Bank, which has indicated a desire to expand the analysis to all the remaining counties in New Jersey. 

Microgrids + Resiliency  Microgrids + Resiliency Microgrids + Resiliency

Hoboken Terminal Studio

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Hoboken Terminal Studio

In Spring semester 2015, through a generous grant from New Jersey Transit, the NJIT College of Architecture and Design – in collaboration with the Center for Resilient Design – conducted a research seminar and a comprehensive Design Studio focused on expanding and improving the resiliency of the Hoboken Terminal. The terminal, located on the northern edge of the city of Hoboken, is one of NJ Transit’s most trafficked, and serves as a multi-nodal center with New York City access via train, PATH, and ferry; Hudson County access via PATH and Hudson-Bergen Light Rail; and broader state access via NJ Transit trains. The existing terminal was damaged during Super Storm Sandy, requiring the resilient adaption of the building while expanding it with an annex.

Students worked in teams over the course of the semester, with regular input and review by New Jersey Transit architectural and engineering personnel. At the conclusion of the semester, four projects were selected for further elaboration by a four-person team of students working as summer interns at New Jersey Transit’s headquarters in Newark. 

Hoboken Terminal Studio

Resilient Design Studios

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Over the course of Spring semester 2013 and during Fall and Spring semesters 2014, the NJIT College of Architecture and Design – in collaboration with the Center for Resilient Design – conducted a series of undergraduate design studios focused on various aspects of resilient design. Close to 1,000 NJIT faculty and students created provocative designs and models that both visualized (re)building Post-Sandy and anticipated the next natural disaster. A centralized clearinghouse is being created to organize this information and provide public officials, design professionals, and others with access to the research that went into the projects and the resulting design solutions.

Resilient Design Studios    Resilient Design Studios

 

Resilient Design Studios   Resilient Design Studios

Greenwich Township Studio

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Greenwich Township Studio

A special aspect of our efforts to explore how communities could become more resilient in the face of future events has been the use of architectural design studios at NJIT to research, analyze and develop innovative design strategies for increasing resilience in specific New Jersey communities. Such studios provide unique platforms for bringing communities together around the topic of resilience and then help them define and envision alternate future conditions for their specific circumstances. By creating highly visual outputs that community stakeholders can understand and react to, design studios can stimulate community enthusiasm in ways that other types of engagement may not and can be strong motivators for action going forward.   

The Center for Resilient Design is currently conducting such a studio to improve resilience in Greenwich Township on the Delaware River. Students from NJIT's College of Architecture and Design are exploring a range of planning approaches and design concepts to enhance the township’s resistance to flooding and improve economic conditions through a range of ecotourism strategies. The Greenwich community has been actively engaged with the project and, while the student concepts are not fully developed, they do present a range of innovative, thought-provoking resilience/economic revitalization strategies for residents to consider.

Breezy Point Resiliency Rebuild

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The Center for Resilient Design is providing measurement and evaluation services for an affordable, energy-efficient, and resilient new residence to replace a home destroyed by Superstorm Sandy in Breezy Point, New York. With the help of NJIT architecture students, the project will document the design and construction process and create an online training program designed to help builders and homeowners in coastal communities understand why and how they, too, can rebuild resiliently in the wake of disasters. 

Breezy Point Resiliency Rebuild

New Jersey Community Microgrids Planning Academy

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New Jersey Community Microgrids Planning Academy

The Center for Resilient Design is in the process of completing an online educational platform to educate municipal officials and their staffs on the value and feasibility of developing resilient community microgrids in their jurisdictions. The project, funded by HUD through the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, is nearing completion and is expected to launch during the third quarter of 2018. The project builds on an earlier CRD study that mapped promising potential sites for resilient microgrids across New Jersey.

A microgrid is a localized power grid that serves a small network of critical electricity users – hospitals, police, fire, etc. – within a small, clearly defined geographical area. Power is generated from energy sources located within the defined geographical area. The whole system is designed to easily connect to or disconnect from the larger electrical grid so that it can operate in “grid-connected” mode during normal conditions or in “island” mode during power disruptions caused by natural hazards. New Jersey is one of the leading states in the country in promoting and supporting community microgrids.

Content for the online platform – the Community Resilience Microgrids Planning Academy – was generated through an in-depth community engagement process with the towns of Neptune and Galloway, beginning with the Mayor’s offices and then expanding to include stakeholders across each community. The lessons learned from these engagements forms the basis of the Academy curriculum and will be disseminated to Mayor’s offices and other community stakeholders after the Academy is launched.

Based on the results from Galloway and Neptune, CRD is convinced that the microgrid planning process is a unique way to catalyze community interest in the overall topic of resilience and could potentially serve as a vehicle for expanding the conversation beyond local power production to other strategies for addressing acute shocks and chronic stresses. 

RPA Assembly 2018

Welcome

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The New Jersey Institute of Technology established the Center for Resilient Design in late 2012 – in the immediate aftermath of Super Storm Sandy. The Center’s founding mission was to serve as a resource to help New Jersey communities recover from the effects of Sandy – first as a special program within the College of Architecture and Design (COAD) and then as a full-fledged center within the university. 
These activities soon evolved into broader explorations of how these same communities could become more resilient in the face of future events. Building on lessons learned in New Jersey, the Center has become a research, technical assistance, and training institution focused on improving the resilience of buildings and communities in the face of natural disasters and other stresses to inform and support disaster-resilience initiatives in other jurisdictions across the US and beyond.

Center for Resilient Design

Terra Meierdierck, MAT

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Terra Meierdierck, MAT, is a Program Manager for the Center for Resilient Design at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, focusing on sustainable resilience, with a special emphasis on developing online training programs.

Most recently, Terra helped develop and launch the Certificate of Proficiency in Benchmarking: a national benchmarking training and credentialing program, funded by the US Department of Energy and developed in cooperation with the US EPA and the Natural Resources Defense Council. Currently she is working to develop the Certificate of Proficiency in the Asset Score Tool - a US Department of Energy tool for evaluating the physical and structural energy efficiency of a building.  She previously worked to develop online training for building commissioning, energy auditing, retro commissioning and weatherization of residential properties. 

Prior to working at CBK, Terra was the Program Manager of the New Jersey Higher Education Partnership for Sustainability (NJHEPS), a New Jersey based not-for-profit that focuses on sustainability in higher education.  At NJHEPS Terra worked to develop 25 campus energy master plans funded by the NJBPU, identifying energy efficiency, renewable energy and cogeneration opportunities at the campuses.  Terra has worked in the commercial, institutional and residential sectors, as a not-for-profit, supporting energy efficiency, resource conservation and education for sustainability projects. 

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