The USGBC and SAME Sponsor Resiliency Design Education

October 24, 2022

Reading Time: 6 minutes

The USGBC and SAME Sponsor Resiliency Design Education

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Middle Atlantic and New England region collaborated with the New York City Post of the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) in 2021 to host a series of webinars on a variety of resilience topics.

Following, speakers from all six sessions, plus additional presenters, came together for a culminating online event on Oct. 6. This terrific series had about 300 attendees. The resilience series continued in 2022 with six more sessions, between February and June 2022. Topics included community vitality, hazard adaptation, and integrated long-term master planning. 

Attendees are welcome to self-report this session to their accrediting body for continuing education as permitted.

CLICK HERE and scroll down for links to recordings of our 2021 Seminars. 

2022 Sessions: Click the Bold Heading for the YouTube Recording

Adaptive Means/Methods and/or Design Solutions

Developing infrastructure that is more resilient takes new thinking for planning, design, and customer or user acceptance. The challenge is to seek adaptive means, methods, and design solutions that address current AND future challenges, while be economically, environmentally, and socially acceptable.

Learning Objectives – Participants will be able to:
1. Identify key aspects of a successful resilient plan or design
2. Recognize successful approaches for planning, designing, and funding resilient infrastructure.
3. Discuss the level of performance desired for a resilience effort.
4. Identify the challenges to working collaboratively on resilient design planning.

o Joe Manous, PE, PhD, D.WRE, USACE Institute for Water Resources (MODERATOR)
o Elizabeth Burkhart, PE, Executive Vice President, Collins Engineers Inc.
o Adam Reeder, PE, CFM, Senior Project Manager, CDM Smith
o Margaret Hopkins, PE, Vice President, AKRF

o Caleb Stratton, PP, AICP, CFM, Chief Resilience Officer, Hoboken, NJ
o John Miller, P.E., CFM – FEMA Mitigation Liaison to the New Jersey Office of Emergency Mgt (NJOEM)

Communicate with Communities

OVERVIEW: This fall will mark 10 years since Hurricane Sandy. Many communities have experienced increases in the number and intensity of flood events in the past 10 years. Find out about the flood-prevention benefits of proposed barriers along the Hudson River and Outer Harbor Bay. Flood prevention barrier placement affects not only NYC and surrounding communities, but also cities and towns along the Hudson Valley NY, and throughout NJ. Learn more about localized and regional flooding, and the steps other communities in our area are taking to protect themselves.

TOPIC: How should business communities communicate with the Federal Government to facilitate their understanding of the long-term benefits of planned resiliency project choices?

BACKGROUND: Army Corps of Engineers NY District has been authorized to continue the Harbor and Tributaries Study (HATS) that will set the location of an offshore flood gate system that will prevent SANDY-style flooding up-river of the gate system. The location choice of gate placement at the Verrazano Narrows or gate placement in the outer Hudson Bay harbor spanning five miles between Sandy Hook and Breezy Point means business communities in Brooklyn along the waterfront may be within the flood-protected area or may be outside the flood-protected area.

SESSION SUMMARY: Panel of Business Partnerships in Brooklyn who experienced SANDY flooding. Other participants in the panel are business communities in Stamford CT and New Bedford MA, who are currently protected by flood gates – Stamford CT constructed 1969; and New Bedford, MA 1966.

o Christopher “Kip” Bergstrom, Stamford, CT business community
o Wellington Chen, Executive Director Lower Manhattan Development Corporation,
Chinatown Partnership, and the Chinatown Business Improvement District
o Jerry Chan, Board Member of Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, District
Appeal Boards of Selected Serv & Advisory Board Member Tech Incubator at
Queens College
o Dina Rabiner, Vice President, Economic Development & Strategic Partnerships,
Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce
o Anthony Sapienza, President, Board of Directors, New Bedford Economic
Development Council
o Alexandra Silversmith, Executive Director, Alliance for Coney Island
o Melanie Smith, Stony Brook University

Facilitate Compromise

Facilitate compromise between organizations by bringing them together to understand each other’s challenges.

This panel should be of interest to professionals and students in coastal oceanography, meteorology, engineering, architecture, environmental sciences and urban planning relating to major coastal resilience infrastructure development, planning, construction, maintenance and operations.

Session description:
Major infrastructure projects such as regional storm surge barriers designed to protect coastal cities against storm surges from extreme weather events of Superstorm Sandy magnitude may
cost 5 to 20 billion dollars and take 5 to 20 years to construct. How will such projects be designed and financed, how will these costs be recovered if ever, who will pay for capital expenses, and what are the costs versus benefits? Are the probabilities weighted heavily on the benefits side of the equation or not?

Who will build, maintain and operate the barriers for the next 75-100 years without failure? How often will the gates be closed to keep out a major hurricane or a winter nor’easter? Will barrier
gates be deployed several times a year, or perhaps only once every 10 years? How will rising sea levels as well as monster storm surges be managed?

Such mammoth endeavors are by nature controversial and fierce conflicts between the so-called “gray versus green” communities can often erupt. So how can conflicts between the design engineers (the grays), the environmentalists (the greens), and the unprotected (the poor) be resolved? Are there ways around these philosophical, ecological and economic divides?

This session’s panel is composed of experts representing The Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Texas and New York/New Jersey. Panelists will relate case studies of their own experiences in different countries with differing forms of government, different funding mechanisms and huge uncertainties in the perceived risks lying in the years ahead. Are there clever ways to minimize erupting controversies early on so that projects are not unnecessarily delayed for years or even decades by warring parties?

o Malcolm Bowman – Distinguished Professor of Oceanography, State University of NY Stony Brook School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences. (MODERATOR)
o Edgar Westerhof – National Director for Flood and Resilience for North America ARCADIS, Dutch by origin
o Charles Schelpe – Principal Engineer Jacobs UK, Thames Gates
o William Merrell – Regents Professor at Texas A&M University Department of Marine and Coastal Science, Galeston Gate system
o Marc Walraven – Sr Advisor Storm Surge Barriers for Rijkswaterstaat, in Randstad, Netherlands.

Community Vitality

Community vitality explores the linkage between and among communities, ensuring alignment
to elevate resilience within any given community. Community vitality focuses on the importance
of resilience to drive a sense of place and safety. A core element of community vitality is social
equity which drives resilient outcomes holistically.
In this panel discussion, subject matter experts will explore vitality through the lens of essential
community systems and functions, including existing infrastructure and building regulation,
zoning and urban planning, design, climate risk and finance, public health, emergency
management, social equity, and non-governmental capacities. Panelists will discuss what
community vitality means to their work and the roles community stakeholders play in ensuring
equitable adaptive outcomes to climate change and other community pressures. In this
session, panelists will introduce policy mechanisms and programs that have been successful in
advancing community vitality and analyze key gaps in local responses to the climate crisis.
This session brings together panelists representing building regulation and design, climate risk
reduction, finance, design, academia, land use and development, public health, and diversity,
equity and inclusion. Session participants will also have the opportunity to explore how the
concept of community vitality can drive their own work.
Learning Objectives – After this session the attendee will be able to:
1. Define community vitality and how success is measured through climate solutions and
2. Recognize the urgent need for decision making to incorporate a system thinking approach,
and the varying levels of participation, to climate mitigation and adaptation.
3. Identify opportunities for enhancing comprehensive resilience through varying community
systems and functions.
4. Understand the implications of social equity on community resilience.
o Moderator: Ryan M. Colker, J.D., CAE, Vice President, Innovation, International Code
Council & Executive Director, Alliance for National and Community Resilience (ANCR)
o Antoine B. Richards, MPH, Chief of Staff, Institute for Diversity and Inclusion in
Emergency Management
o Erik C. Backus, PE, LEED AP BD+C, Director, Construction Engineering Management
Program, Clarkson University
o Illya Azaroff, FAIA, Director, Design, Resilience and Regenerative Strategies, +LAB
Architect PLLC
o Katharine Burgess, Vice President, Land Use and Development, Smart Growth

o Laurie Schoeman, Director, Climate & Sustainability, Enterprise Community Partners
Capital Division

Local Governments + Integrated Long-Term Master Planning

Integrated long-term master planning is vital for developing liveable, resilient cities. This session
features powerhouses Pinar Balci (NYCDEP), Rob Freudenberg (RPA) and Lisa Baron
(USACE) all of whom have been incredibly impactful in New York, driving projects that are
models for the future of resiliency planning. They will describe projects they already have
underway and they will also speak to future endeavors and plans for the region. Listen in on this
upcoming webinar to hear how New York is planning for the future and how other municipalities
can follow their lead.
o Pinar Balci, Ph.D., Assistant Commissioner Bureau of Environmental Planning and
Analysis, NYCDEP
o Lisa Baron, USACE NY District Civil Works Branch, Project Manager
o Sarah E. Cwikla, PE, BCEE, LEED AP, ENV SP, Vice President, Regional Sales
Leader – Water, US North, Stantec (MODERATOR)
o Robert Freudenberg, Vice President, Energy & Environment, Regional Plan

Hazard Adaptation at the Building Scale

Understanding strategies for mitigating the impacts of natural hazards at the building scale as climate change progresses.

Panelists include:
o Suzanne DiGeronimo, FAIA, F.SAME (Dist), President, DiGeronimo PC and Storm Surge Working Group
o Gwen Dawson, Vice President of Real Property, Battery Park City Authority
o Christopher Wegman, Operations VP, FM Global
o Joshua DeFlorio, AICP, LEED AP, Chief, Resilience & Sustainability, Port Authority NY/ NJ

By | Posted in Disaster Response, Women in Architecture | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments (0)



Architects are creative professionals, educated, trained, and experienced in the art and science of building design, and licensed to practice architecture. Their designs respond to client needs, wants and vision, protect public safety, provide economic value, are innovative, inspire and contribute positively to the community and the environment.

414 Riverview Plaza, Trenton, NJ 08611
(609) 393-5690