New York, and every other city, was built with certain climactic baselines in mind. This much rain, this much snow, this much heat, this many floods. They form a core set of assumptions about the kind of infrastructure the city needs. Institutions grow up around that set of givens; they are a fixed point in the otherwise tumultuous process of urban governance. Maps are created showing the 100-year flood zones; they show the places that have a one-percent change of being flooded in any given year.
New York has to rethink, Mayor Bloomberg has realized. "The yardstick has changed, and so must we," he said in a speech quoted by the Journal. The rest of the country's cities and mayors won't be far behind.
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