The New York City Comptroller’s office marked the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy with a dire report on the expected costs of the next big storm. Based on updated flood insurance maps from FEMA, the report finds that over $129 billion worth of property sits within the city’s 100-year floodplain – an increase of more than 120% from earlier maps. (100-year flood zones cover areas that have a 1% chance of flooding each year.) “In short, FEMA’s revised maps depict a greatly expanded floodplain that places almost three and a half times as many structures in high-risk zones and anticipates greater severity of flooding for those buildings already in the flood zone,” reads the report. “This new landscape holds important implications for resiliency investments, flood insurance, and the role of government in protecting homeowners from the next great storm.”
Five state capitals will get help from the Environmental Protection Agency to develop green infrastructure that could help mitigate the cost of natural disasters and climate change. Resiliency, whether it be in the context of global warming or natural and manmade catastrophes, has become a white-hot topic in the design world, especially since Superstorm Sandy battered New York City in 2012. Read More
Julian Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio, was sworn in Tuesday as the country’s next Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Castro succeeds Shaun Donovan who was tapped to head the Office of Management and Budget. During Donovan’s tenure at HUD, he oversaw the Rebuild by Design competition, which selected its winners earlier this summer. Among his many responsibilities in his new role, Castro will likely be heavily involved in the execution of those projects, which include work from BIG, SCAPE, Penn Design/OLIN, OMA, Interboro, and MIT.
ArtPlace America, a non-profit comprised of national and local foundations that provides placemaking grants, has awarded its latest round cash—nearly $15 million to implement projects in 79 communities around the country. This year, 31 percent of grants will go toward projects in rural communities, essentially doubling the amount allocated for similar projects last year.
Through Stormproof, an open international design competition for building resilient cities, Terreform One has pursued many viable solutions for a stormproof future. Students and professionals were challenged with preparing cities for imminent confrontations of extreme climate change. Twenty finalists were chosen from 168 teams comprised of 310 participants based in over fifteen countries, and by employing complex designs such as barrier islands to mitigate storm and flood impact, participants have recommended solutions that revive and repurpose present infrastructure.
On the roof of a construction site in Greenpoint, Brooklyn Monday, U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan announced the release of a new report outlining 69 rebuilding strategies designed to both help Hurricane Sandy–ravaged communities and to serve as a model for coastal regions across the country that are vulnerable to storm surges and rising sea levels. Close to the waterfront, the site overlooked the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant—one of the few sewage treatment facilities to survive Sandy intact. It was a fitting place for Secretary Donovan, who also serves as chair of the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, to introduce this bundle of new recommendations that address both immediate and long-term needs of coastal communities, including resilient and region-wide approaches to rebuilding and infrastructure investment. A number of the initiatives in the report, such as HUD’s “Rebuild by Design” competition, are already underway.
Spreading out across 10,000 acres of parkland, Jamaica Bay in Queens, New York will now serve as the focus of a new science and resilience institute spearheaded by the City University of New York (CUNY) to understand how urban ecosystems respond to changing weather patterns and global warming. The CUNY-led research consortium, temporarily housed on Brooklyn College’s campus, will collaborate with other leading New York institutions to study the efficacy of natural flood protections, such as dunes and salt marshes, in safeguarding New York’s coastline. These findings will benefit and be applicable to other cities and regions that are vulnerable to flooding as sea levels rise and storms become more frequent and powerful.
Taking the podium at Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park, New York City Representative Nydia M. Velázquez introduced new legislation, called the “Waterfront of Tomorrow Act,” to protect and fortify New York City’s 538-miles of coastline. The bill would instruct the Army Corps of Engineers to come up with an in-depth plan to stimulate economic growth and job creation, update the ports, and implement flood protection measures. Sandwiched between Red Hook Container Terminal and One Brooklyn Bridge Park, a large residential development, the pier was an appropriate place for the Congresswoman to announce legislation that addresses the city’s needs to bolster its shipping industry while also taking steps to mitigate flooding and ensure the resiliency and sustainability of its residential neighborhoods, parkland, and businesses.
Four teams of architects have been selected to envision new possibilities for a long stretch of vacant land along the Sandy-battered coast in the Rockaways. The ideas presented at Thursday’s announcement range from practical resiliency tactics to creative design solutions such as dune sand filters, elevated undulating boardwalks, and clusters of low-rise and mid-rise housing.
The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) along with private developers and the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter, launched the Far Roc Competition back in April to generate proposals to turn an 80-plus-acre site, called Averne East, into a resilient mixed-use waterfront community. The competition calls on architects to think expansively about the challenges facing the Rockaways and come up with a multi-layered proposals that offer concrete ideas for sustainable mixed-income housing, flood protection measures, and recreation and park land.
Hurricane Sandy not only caused considerable damage to the Rockaways, but it also exposed the vulnerability of New York City’s waterfront communities to future storms and changing weather patterns. Today, the American Institute of Architects New York, along with NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development, L+M Development Partners, Bluestone Organization, Triangle Equities, and Enterprise Community Partners, announced a new design competition for “resilient and sustainable development in the Rockaways.” The group called on architects to come up with different strategies for how cities can build more thoughtfully in areas prone to flooding.