The smart growth characteristics of these older neighborhoods make them terrific for the environment and for public health: they reduce transportation emissions by obviating driving trips and shortening those that people do take; they save land by keeping development compact and obviating additional increments of sprawl; they promote physical fitness and health with walkability.
The city is a perpetually incomplete project; it is constantly being remade and reshaped by the changing state of our world, whether by the interventions of its governing bodies or the powerful actions of its residents. Architecture can and must speak to this adaptability, as both a technology and reflection of social change.
If there is a silver lining to the storm, it is the discussion it has sparked around the vulnerability of our infrastructure and the need to re-build it better. Nature is changing the game. Will we build smartly or fail to seize the opportunities that more resilient "natural" infrastructure present?