The project will raise awareness that the borough needs as it continues to rebuild.
While residents worry about what the Street View photos will do to property values, if Google's Staten Island project looks anything like what it did for New Orleans following Katrina, it will raise the kind of awareness the "forgotten borough" will need as it continues to rebuild. Like the awareness (via a huge outcry) that reminded legislators about all the damage that still exists on Staten Island and the New Jersey coast, which helped bring the Sandy relief bill back to a vote, for example. When Google took photos of post-hurricane New Orleans, it didn't just put the pictures up, it also tracked the progress, adding accountability to the situation. And it sounds like Google intends to do something similar with these post-Sandy images. "We hope this accurate, updated imagery that will soon be available in Google Maps will help people around the world better understand the extent of the damage and the importance of coming together as a community to aid in the recovery efforts," a spokesperson told the New York Post.
The people of coastal neighborhood like New Dorp Beach, Staten Island (pictured above), of course, have legitimate concerns. "They’re going to call it a wasteland! I don’t like Google driving around my property. What are they doing it for? To drop the property value?" Damian Malandro told the Post. Once up on Google Maps, the images will connect right up to specific addresses. Someone looking to buy a house in the neighborhood might not want to pay somewhere around $400,000, the going rate for houses in the according to various real-estate sites, for property right on the water. That might hurt property value. Plus, we can't imagine what it's like having some fancy Google computer car drive through our still-broken neighborhoods.