Track 4: POLICY and PRACTICE / Volet 4: Politiques et pratique

The Integration of Heritage Conservation and Flood Mitigation Protection

Friday, October 13
3:00 PM - 4:30 PM

In October of 2012, Hurricane Sandy brought unprecedented damage to many coastal communities throughout New York and New Jersey. One community, Mantoloking, NJ, saw roughly 60% of its buildings severely damaged, partly submerged and displaced from original building foundations. Many of these buildings were located in two historic districts where the historic and cultural resources lost lacked heritage documentation detailing its significance in the community. Situations such as in Mantoloking, challenge not only the idea of permanence but also the idea of climate change being a looming threat. The impacts of climate change that include sea-level rise, storm surge as well as intensified and more frequent storm events are happening now and affecting the lives, places and cultural heritage that surround us.

In an effort to better prepare communities in responding, recovering, and mitigating the adverse effects of such disasters, U.S. state and local governments, under the Disaster Mitigation Act, have devised disaster mitigation plans. However, many of these plans lack identifying pre-and post-disaster needs to protect historical and cultural resources from natural disasters. Moreover, the same is reflected in state and local historic preservation plans as most do not consider natural hazards as threat to be addressed in their goals and objectives.

Often these two policy sectors are treated separately, though, both aim to protect the life and property from damages caused by such hazards. In order to analyze the incorporation of heritage conservation & preservation into state disaster mitigation plans for flood protection, this research will first investigate existing policy and guidance connecting the two fields on a federal level. This investigation will broaden the understanding of existing federal guidance on the issue and reveal how states can leverage this information into their own planning. Moreover, this research will seek to identify the policy conflicts that act as potential barriers to effectively connect the two disciplines. From this analysis, a set of solutions will be proposed on how to successfully incorporate heritage conservation and preservation principles into flood resiliency planning.

Learning Objectives:

Nina M. Jean-Louis, E.I.T.

Preservation Engineering Associate, Historic Preservation Graduate Student
Pratt Institute

Nina M. Jean-Louis, E.I.T. earned her B.S. in Civil Engineering at the University of Central Florida, Burnett Honors College and received her M.S. in Historic Preservation from Pratt Institute. Prior to joining Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc., she has worked as a Structural Analyst for the aerospace industry and more recently, as a Preservation Engineering Associate on projects including the Woolworth Building, New York Life Building and several buildings throughout Capital Hill. Ms. Nina made the transition to historic preservation to not only pursue her passion for rehabilitating historic structures but to also aid communities in saving significant places that define their cultural and historic identity. It is this purpose that has led her to investigate flood resiliency interventions in historic coastal communities as well as government policy initiatives that best integrate both flood mitigation and heritage conservation planning. Her current research includes investigating both existing and future engineering applications that will best protect historic structures and their ability to maintain their historic character through flooding events.

Presentation(s):

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Sean Fraser

Sean Fraser has an academic background in archaeology, architecture and conservation. He has worked internationally in the field of cultural heritage management for 25 years. He is currently the Director of Heritage Programs and Operations at the Ontario Heritage Trust where he has led the delivery of the Trust’s Places of Worship Inventory, the Natural Places Land Acquisitions and Stewardship Program, and Trust’s Conservation Easements Program. He has built strong relationships with First Nations, government partners, professional organizations, and property owners. Mr. Fraser lectures on a range of topics including sustainability, adaptive re-use, conservation theory and heritage planning.

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