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Climate Resiliency

Integrated Regional Resilience and Climate Adaptation in New Jersey:
Two Rivers, One Future

Niek Veraart, Kelly Pflicke, Matthew Campo, and Eric Fang

Monday, May 20
Baltimore Theater
2:15 PM

About the Session

Comprehensive, regional planning to address the challenges associated with climate adaptation is an imperative for communities on the frontlines of rising sea levels and increasing coastal storms. In New Jersey, the NJ FRAMES (Fostering Regional Adaptation through Municipal Economic Scenarios) project applies just such a planning framework to inform local decision-making in the Two Rivers region of Monmouth County, New Jersey. The goal of the project is to develop a regional resilience plan that identifies a preferred adaptation strategy for a region comprising fifteen communities facing the ocean and two tidally influenced rivers and heavily impacted by historic storm events. The planning framework piloted in NJ FRAMES was developed by NOAA and includes application of the latest climate science and approaches to risk communication, robust community engagement and stakeholder driven processes, regional risk and cost-benefit assessments, scenario planning, government coordination, and cutting-edge practices to plan for the long-term impacts of climate change. The project provides an interesting case study of adaptation planning in a region that is politically and spatially heterogeneous and consists of smaller communities with varying socioeconomic capacity and diverse groups of stakeholders, and a combination of inland, riverfront, estuary, oceanfront, and barrier island communities both rural, suburban and small-town urban (within 30 miles from New York City); a diverse palette juxtaposed to many other national examples.

Panelists will describe the methods used throughout the project, including applying “total water levels” to plan for multiple flooding conditions; a “whole community” approach to public and community engagement, including targeted outreach to socially vulnerable and traditionally underrepresented populations and service organizations; risk assessment and cost-benefit analyses that pioneer new methods to incorporate uncertainty when planning for 2100; innovative scenario planning; and intra and intergovernmental coordination. The project deploys holistic adaptation across multiple sectors, jurisdictions and scales; considering the landscape, infrastructure networks, the community, businesses, and near and long term time frames across the built, social, and natural environment (e.g.,. from wild to rural to urban); spatial and data driven risk-based solutions and integration into current institutions, structures, economies and businesses, culture and planning processes (e.g., for communities, comprehensive planning, hazard mitigation planning, environmental/landscape level planning, mitigation planning, and for businesses risk management and continuity planning, sustainability planning).

About the Presenters

Niek Veraart

Niek Veraart is Vice President at Louis Berger, where he directs the firm's environmental, resiliency and Smart Cities services. He received his MSc graduate degree in Engineering with a focus on planning and landscape architecture from Wageningen University in the Netherlands and is on the Advisory Board of the Rutgers University Big Data Program. He led the firm's environmental and infrastructure planning services for the post 9/11 recovery and redevelopment of Lower Manhattan and has been supporting the State of New York, the City of New York and the State of New Jersey with the recovery from Superstorm Sandy through resiliency planning focusing on infrastructure, energy, water resources and community assets, including several Rebuild by Design projects, the NY Rising Community Reconstruction Program and multiple Rebuild By Design resilience projects in the NY-NJ region. He co-authored the NAVFAC Installation Adaptation & Resilience Climate Change Planning Handbook for the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Headquarters and the handbook “Improving the Resilience of Transit Systems Threatened by Natural Disasters”. He has published and presented at the annual meetings and in the proceedings of the Transportation Research Board, the Infrastructure Security Partnership and the American Planning Association.

Kelly Pflicke

Kelly Pflicke, AICP is a Senior Planner with the Office of Coastal and Land Use Planning at the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP). Kelly supports the state’s Coastal Management Program and is primarily focused on initiatives to build community resilience to coastal hazards, including managing planning projects; developing municipal-level guidance on adaptation actions; and refining assessment tools. Before joining NJDEP, she worked in hazard mitigation planning and conducted research on social vulnerability to environmental hazards. Kelly holds a Master of City and Regional Planning from Rutgers University and a Bachelor of Arts in Geography from Georgia Southern University.

Matthew Campo

Matt is a Senior Research Specialist in the Environmental Analysis and Communications Group at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. Matt’s work at Rutgers focuses on understanding tools and methods to assess the sustainability and resilience of built environments and transportation systems. Matt provides analysis and support for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal, New Jersey Climate Adaptation Alliance, and US Environmental Protection Agency to enhance planning capabilities and risk management strategies in coastal communities. Prior to Rutgers, Matt worked for EY and TranSystems on the behalf of public agencies and private companies to create site location and economic development strategies for commercial, residential and industrial real estate assets. He earned Bachelor's degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Virginia Tech, a Masters in City & Regional Planning from Rutgers and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Planning & Public Policy at Rutgers

Eric Fang

Eric is a Principal at Perkins Eastman with more than 20 years of experience as an architect and urban designer. He has led large-scale projects around the nation in urban design and redevelopment. Eric’s work encompasses projects for public agencies, private developers, and large institutions. In particular, he has worked extensively with agencies and cities throughout the country to promote resilient design. Eric is a regular contributor to professional and academic journals, and his work has been recognized by numerous awards from institutions including the AIA New York Chapter and the New Jersey Chapter of the American Planning Association.


He is a regular contributor to academic and professional publications, including Architectural Record and Urban Land. Mr. Fang’s experience includes projects such as Arverne-by-the-Sea, the largest waterfront urban renewal site in the United States, and Assembly Row, a five-million sf mixed-use transit-oriented development in Somerville, MA and the Market East Strategic Plan in Philadelphia. Mr. Fang’s recent work includes New York City’s Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resilience, the Hoboken Green Infrastructure Strategy, and award winning plans for the New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program.