Testing the Many Aspects of Waterfront Resilience—In New York City

Principals from the Rebuild by Design competition, focusing on Red Hook in Brooklyn and Hunts Point in the South Bronx, discussed their designs and philosophies regarding New York City's resilience at the Center for Architecture.

The Dirt's Yoshi Silverstein covered a recent talk by Barbara Wilks, FASLA, and Richard Roark, ASLA, at the Center for Architecture in New York City about the Red Hook and Hunt Point redesign project sponsored by the department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)'s Rebuild by Design competition.

According to Silverstein, the "one-mile section of Hunts Point peninsula in South Bronx is 'the hub of the food supply for 22 million people, a $5 billion annual economy, over 20,000 direct jobs, and livelihoods of people in the poorest U.S. Congressional District.'" In addition, most (almost 60 percent) of New York City's food supply comes from Hunts Point.

Both of these communities were hit hard by Hurricane Sandy— Red Hook had five feet of flooding in some streets. For these places, "embracing the importance of water as not only threat but also opportunity could be important."

While Wilk's design in Red Hook revolved around "integrating flood protection through measures that maintain and enhance waterfront maritime and industrial activity while allowing for public access to the waterfront," Roark's design stressed, "a flood protection levee lab that combines protection of Hunt Point’s food hub with recreational and research opportunities." Ultimately, Roark's design, by OLIN and PennDesign, won $20 million to complete their project.

As Silverstein writes, "both Wilks and Roark called for using resilient design to improve social equity, preserving community identity and historical legacies, and embracing multiple solutions across scales rather than attempting to find one catch-all 'universal' solution."

Full Story: Community Resilience at the Edge

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