A year ago, Hurricane Sandy swept through the East coast—destroying thousands of homes, shutting down infrastructure, and knocking out substations—which resulted in $68 billion in damage. Yesterday, a day before the anniversary of the super storm, ten finalists in the Rebuild by Design competition unveiled their proposals to remake a more resilient coastline. The competition—launched by Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), among other participating organizations—called on the final teams to provide ideas for making the affected coastal areas more resilient to withstand future storms and climate change.
After spending three months investigating and identifying the region’s challenges, the teams have have honed in on specific areas—from Red Hook and Newtown Creek to Hoboken and the Rockaways—and come up with a number of strategies to protect coastal communities, including improving communication channels, mapping out new community micro-grids, reconfiguring vulnerable neighborhoods, and implementing hard and soft ecological infrastructure.
In the next stage of the process, the finalists will be granted $100,000 to collaborate with communities and government entities to further develop site-specific strategies. In March, design solutions from a winning design team (or teams) will be selected, and then later implemented.
Interboro Partners with the New Jersey Institute of Technology Infrastructure Planning Program; TU Delft; Project Projects; RFA Investments; IMG Rebel; Center for Urban Pedagogy; David Rusk; Apex; Deltares; Bosch Slabbers; H+N+S; and Palmbout Urban Landscapes.
Team statement: “Our unique team combines the best of Dutch land-use planning, environmental and coastal engineering, and urban water management with the best of American urban design, participatory planning, community development, engineering, and economic analysis and financial engineering. The Dutch contingent, which consists of design professionals who have extensive experience working together to adaptively plan coastal regions around the world, have envisioned, designed, and implemented some of the most important flood mitigation and management strategies worldwide.”
PennDesign/OLIN with PennPraxis, Buro Happold, HR&A Advisors, and E-Design Dynamics
Team statement: “The PennDesign/OLIN team combines the strength of PennDesign in cross-disciplinary research, design, and communication; experience across the Northeast region; and institutional capacity to sustain long campaigns for change with a core team of high-capacity, strategic design practices: OLIN for landscape and urban design, and design and research integration; HR&A Advisors for market and financing strategies; and eDesign Dynamics for hydrology and ecosystems. The core team, led by Marilyn Taylor, John Landis for research, and Ellen Neises and Lucinda Sanders for design, and Harris Steinberg for engagement, will draw heavily on an engaged group of advisors in architecture, planning, sciences, geographic information systems, and climate modeling, and Wharton Business School, which will inform an approach on how best to shape alliances to layer buildings, living systems, social fabric, infrastructure, and economies.”
WXY architecture + urban design / West 8 Urban Design & Landscape Architecture with ARCADIS Engineering and the Stevens Institute of Technology, Rutgers University; Maxine Griffith; Parsons the New School for Design; Duke University; BJH Advisors; and Mary Edna Fraser.
Team statement: “XY/WEST 8 is framing the benefits of a shared approach to coastal protection. Studying systematic and large-scale issues— market failures in the assessment of risk, provision of insurance, and ecological impact, as well as the disproportionate representation of low-income populations in high-vulnerability areas—allows a fuller understanding of the region and nation. This approach leads to investigations of the outermost conditions of the Northeastern American Coastline (its barrier islands, inlets, shorelines and riparian estuaries) and examines a series of prototype transects that run from the shoreline to hinterland, from nature to culture.”
OMA with Royal Haskoning DHV; Balmori Associaties; R/GA; and HR&A Advisors.
Team statement: “With a focus on high-density urban environments, the team’s driving principal is one of integration. The tools of defense should be seen as intrinsic to the urban environment, and serve as a scaffold to enable activity—much in the same way that the dam is the genesis of the city of Amsterdam. This will necessitate an approach that is both holistic and dynamic; one that acknowledges the complexity of systems at play; and one that works with, rather than against, the natural flow.”
HR&A Advisors with Cooper, Robertson, & Partners; Grimshaw; Langan Engineering; W Architecture; Hargreaves Associates; Alamo Architects; Urban Green Council; Ironstate Development; Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation; New City America.
Team statement: “Our team focused on the resiliency challenges of key commercial corridors across the region. We explored solutions that fully integrate design and engineering of buildings and infrastructure with programs, financing tools, and management strategies. Commercial property, including local retail and services, forms the critical backbone of a community, supporting it in everyday conditions and serving as a lifeline for supplies, information, and recovery efforts during storm conditions, including Sandy.”
SCAPE Landscape Architecture with Parsons Brinckerhoff; SeARC Ecological Consulting; Ocean and Coastal Consultants; The New York Harbor School; Phil Orton/Stevens Institute; Paul Greenberg; LOT-EK; and MTWTF.
Team statement: “SCAPE has brought together an energetic, experienced design team that has been both at the forefront of innovative, speculative thinking on resiliency and a key public sector partner in re-building critical infrastructural systems. We have, together as a team and in separate initiatives, mapped, modeled, and studied in depth the Northeast region’s vulnerabilities and developed precise, innovative solutions that tie the regeneration of ecological and water networks directly to economic benefits, community development scenarios, coastal protection solutions, and public space enhancements.”
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Advanced Urbanism and the Dutch Delta Collaborative with ZUS; De Urbanisten; Deltares; 75B; and Volker Infra Design.
Team statement: “The team of MIT+ZUS+Urbanisten proposes a grouping of resiliency districts at the edges of the flood zones of the metro area of NY-NJ. Each resiliency district will have its own layered approach that combines emergency infrastructure, evacuation capacity, ecological protection/absorption landscape infrastructure; as well as a development mix of light manufacturing/warehousing with residential. Every dollar of federal investment should help address a wide portfolio of risks – storm surge, rainwater events, and heat islands; and cover a spectrum of vulnerabilities – economic, social, and pollution.”
Sasaki Associates with Rutgers University and ARUP.
Team statement: “The Sasaki-led team, with Rutgers University and Arup, leverages the interdisciplinary perspectives of designers, planners, ecologists, social scientists, and engineers to design opportunities and strategies for long-term coastal resilience. Sasaki’s research focuses on the value of “the beach,” a place of special significance to human memory and economy, and a vital component of coastal ecosystems. New Jersey’s northern shore (Ocean and Monmouth counties) is an ideal place to study the identity and function of the beach; it includes the three coastal typologies found across the eastern seaboard of the United States: Barrier Island, Headlands, and Inland Bay.”
Bjarke Ingels Group with One Architecture; Starr Whitehouse; James Lima Planning & Development; Green Shield Ecology; Buro Happold; AEA Consulting; and Project Projects.
Team statement: “BIG Team brings together significant international experience in Denmark and the Netherlands with a deep understanding of this Sandy region’s economic, political and social environment. Team Leader, BIG, is a group of architects, designers and thinkers operating within the fields of architecture, urbanism, research and development with offices in New York City, Copenhagen and Beijing. For over a decade, BIG has been building a reputation as one of the most creative and intelligent architecture offices in the world. Our projects are also widely recognized as sophisticated responses to the challenges of urban development that create dynamic public spaces and forms that are as programmatically and technically innovative as they are cost and resource conscious.”
unabridged Architecture with Mississippi State University; Waggoner and Ball Architects; Gulf Coast Community Design; and the Center for Urban Pedagogy.
Team statement: “There are places that are too valuable to abandon, even in the face of climate change. Such places hold our traditions and memories, our past enterprises and dreams for the future. The design opportunities we chose have demonstrated their value over generations of inhabitation, and are worth continued investment to make the people, structures, and systems more resilient. Resiliency is not a fixed target, but a strategy with technical solutions, such as elevating structures or constructing structural defenses, and adaptive solutions to encourage new behavior. Adaptive resiliency changes human behavior as well as the physical environment.”