Five Years On, Superstorm Sandy Houses Rise Up

Though Sandy flooded and battered their Jersey Shore homes, many residents didn't move away—they just moved to safer heights.

Normal, simple houses designed to be at ground level take on a whole different look up in the air.

After Superstorm Sandy slammed into the New Jersey shore in 2012, people whose houses were still standing began having them raised—lifted on temporary pilings so that permanent foundations could be put in. Some did it to meet new construction codes or to reduce their flood insurance rates. But for others, I think, it was just a heartfelt bid to stay where they had sunk their roots, no matter the surroundings.

For 25 years I’ve vacationed with my family at the Jersey Shore, where beach communities are strung along 127 miles of coastline. In 2013 I began taking photos to capture the groundswell of house raisings and the strangeness of what it all looks like. We tend to think of buildings as fairly permanent—but when you see how a house can be dug underneath, lifted up, moved around, pulled, and tossed, it challenges that view.

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