Oct 28, 2013
THEME: Wellness

Building Resilient Communities Through Design

Extreme weather events such as Superstorm Sandy are stark reminders that for all our building standards and advanced technology, our communities are not as resilient as we’d like to think.

Places like hospitals or fire stations are designed to be more resilient than the average office building and are “hardened” to survive such events relatively intact, but New York City’s experience during Sandy exposed the threat to “non-hardened” community health organizations and the populations they serve.  For example, as dialysis facilities went off-line with the rest of the power grid, patients with chronic kidney diseases were compelled to go to emergency rooms for treatment, increasing the strain on acute-care emergency response system.

Interruptions during an emergency constitute a significant public health challenge, in addition to breaking important links in the chain of community resiliency by separating communities from caregivers.

To address this, Perkins+Will, in conjunction with Degenkolb Engineers, Mazzetti Engineers, Public Architecture, and Alliance Health of San Francisco, developed a concept for a rapidly deployable health clinic – “RDoC” —  and pharmacy that can be used as a replacement venue for critical ambulatory health services in the aftermath of a seismic or severe weather event. Deployed after an event, this temporary clinic would be available to community organizations whose staff would “relocate” there until their “home” facilities can reopen.

Addressing post disaster public health requires a coordinated response that brings people together around products adapted to post-disaster needs, public awareness and preparation, and community.  The RDoC can provide planners and communities with a flexible tool to enhance community resiliency.

To see how the RDoC might be deployed after an earthquake in San Francisco, watch the video above.

This post was originally authored by Michael Bardin.

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