NYC's multi-channel response to Sandy

Nishant Shah/Ovum
OvumAs we have previously mentioned in our research, trust between the citizen and government is at a low. This dynamic hurts tax collection, law abidance, and voting numbers, and more generally degrades the public sector’s ability to provide services. 
 
However, a supportive, truly multi-channel, and continuous government presence during natural disasters visibly improves this dynamic, particularly at the city level. New York City is an excellent example of how sophisticated and forward-looking disaster preparation and response using IT can improve levels of trust. In the long term, this increases resilience, which, in Ovum’s view, is one of the most important hallmarks of a smarter city.
 
Hurricane Sandy: major destruction, but a sense that things could have been worse
 
Hurricane Sandy, a “superstorm” that hit the Caribbean and moved north up the eastern coast of the United States this week, was a test of the technology-enabled readiness of a government and a society to respond to a natural disaster.
 
In New York, the damage has been extensive and, in some ways, unprecedented: as of the day following the storm there were 18 deaths, the most significant damage the city’s transit system has sustained in its 108-year history, and around 750,000 people without power. On a national level, there will be more casualties, vast economic damage, and millions more without power. 
 
But despite Sandy’s destructiveness, there is a sense that things could have been much worse. Compared to the response to a major blizzard in New York in December 2010, which Mayor Bloomberg was heavily criticized for bungling, the response to Sandy was characterized by the effective use of realtime data, analytics, and IT-enabled insight, combined with hands-on management and clear urgency at local, state, and national levels.

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