Coastal Urban Resilience Research

New York City, as depicted during extreme flood conditions according to Rolling Stone's July 2016 article, "Can New York Be Saved in the Era of Global Warming?" that features Dr. Alan Blumberg, George Meade Bond Professor and Director of the Davidson Laboratory.

Never before have researchers been faced with a more urgent need to prepare coastal communities for extreme weather events that produce intense storm surges, conditions that lead to powerful surface waves, monsoon rains and ever-increasing sea levels.

 These catastrophic events affect not only U.S. citizens, but also the 136 port cities around the world that have more than one million inhabitants, a total population of 400 million. The world’s poor are most at risk, because they settle in and build on the least expensive land, which is prone to flooding, storms and landslides.

With such a large percentage of the global population now at risk, those who engage in solving critical problems within the built environment must now focus on feasible, imminent actions to positively influence societal responses and support community resilience.

Our team will respond to fundamental questions that address the role of engineering, science and technology as being integral to planning and managing resilient cities for the 21st century, communicating potential dangers in an effort to keep communities safe.

Using Davidson Laboratory modeling and forecasting tools, the above flood map shows the increasing water elevations during Hurricane Sandy in Barnegat Bay and Mantoloking (Ocean County, N.J.).

 Coastal Urban Resilience Research will:

  • Assist communities and property owners, both public and private, in their resiliency preparation efforts by performing assessments of potential flood risks to recommend green and grey solutions (i.e., bioswales, wetlands, oyster reefs, detection ponds; concrete or steel structures). 
  • Develop land-flooding forecasts that predict flood areas and include the amount of flooding that can be expected, and when the flooding will occur.
  • Design a curriculum to teach students and professionals of diverse backgrounds the necessary data analysis and scientific methods to make resilience in their communities a reality

  • Explore the history of urban development in its natural setting, and the strategies societies have adopted to deal with extreme natural events.  Analyze the cultural, legal, economic, and philosophical approaches to settlement and risk throughout urban history.
  • Quantify the interdependency between cities and nature, especially because the paradigm goes contrary to centuries of tradition and law that posited nature as separate from humankind.

  • Contribute to a better understanding of the urban coastal region’s vulnerabilities, strengths, and interdependencies.

  • Understand the temporal and spatial variability of key atmospheric and coastal ocean parameters.

  • Address the specific questions about how cities and the coastal ocean environment will interact in the face of climate change.

  • Develop a set of “best management practices” including measures of uncertainty to guide decision making and action.

  • Create multi-scale visualization tools, that integrate climate, hydro-meteorological information, geophysical, ecological, land use, and socio-economic factors enhancing the sustainability of engineered systems.

  • Ignite creativity, innovation, and new avenues of scholarship and translate that perspective into educational achievement.  


The above flood map consists of observation data retrieved from the Stevens Flood Advisory System (SFAS), during Hurricane Sandy in Hoboken and downtown Jersey City.  This work and other resilience research in the Davidson Laboratory, represent ongoing efforts to visualize flooding, and to demonstrate these critical conditions to the general public.


Coastal Urban Resilience Research at the Davidson Laboratory

Join the prominent agencies and organizations that currently fund coastal urban resilience research in the Davidson Laboratory.

Davidson Laboratory

Coastal Urban Resilience Research

Location On Campus

Davidson Laboratory
711 Hudson Street
Hoboken, NJ 07030

Contact Types

p. 201.216.5289
e. [email protected]

Department Leaders

Dr. Alan F. Blumberg George Meade Bond Professor & Director of Davidson Laboratory