Coastal Virginia Testing a New Approach to Flood Planning

A new flood plan for Norfolk, Virginia aims to establish a new model for coastal resilience.

Read Time: 2 minutes

January 17, 2019, 1:00 PM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Ryan Murphy reports on the recently unveiled plan to fortify the neighborhood of Chesterfield Heights in Norfolk, Virginia, from coastal erosion and sea-level rise.

"[The] ambitious $112 million federally funded plan — the final version of which was unveiled last week — aims to halt the advance of the water and keep Chesterfield Heights dry for decades to come, as Norfolk faces down an estimated 2½ feet of sea level rise within 50 years," according to Murphy.

The plan, called the Ohio Creek Watershed Project, expanded beyond the original plan to build a series of seawalls and five drainage pumps. Murphy explains the changes since earlier versions of the plan:

Softer options like earth berms replace hardened sea walls. The berms, several feet high in some places, will be easier to update and reinforce than a traditional concrete structure — just toss some more dirt on it.

And

Ohio Creek is tidal and will flood and drain freely, as it always has. But Hayes Creek right next door will have a tide gate that can be dropped at low tide when a storm is coming. The creek and its wetlands will serve as a basin, collecting rainwater rather than letting it flood neighborhood streets. Then the gate will reopen after the storm to let the water drain out to sea.

The idea for the plan is also to export the knowledge gained from the plan's new and varied approaches to cities and communities in other parts of the country.

Monday, January 14, 2019 in The Virginian-Pilot

Chicago Commute

The Right to Mobility

As we consider how to decarbonize transportation, preserving mobility, especially for lower- and middle-income people, must be a priority.

January 26, 2023 - Angie Schmitt

Sharrow bike markings on black asphalt two-lane road with snowy trees

Early Sharrow Booster: ‘I Was Wrong’

The lane marking was meant to raise awareness and instill shared respect among drivers and cyclists. But their inefficiency has led supporters to denounce sharrows, pushing instead for more robust bike infrastructure that truly protects riders.

January 26, 2023 - Streetsblog USA

View of stone-paved street with pedestrians and "Farmers Market" neon sign on left and old buildings on right in Seattle, Washington

Push and Pull: The Link Between Walkability and Affordability

The increased demand for walkable urban spaces could make them more and more exclusionary if cities don’t pursue policies to limit displacement and boost affordability.

January 27, 2023 - Smart Cities Dive

View of Tacoma, Washington with Mount Rainier in background

Tacoma Developing New Housing Policy

The city’s Home in Tacoma plan is designed to address the region’s growth and rising housing prices, but faces local backlash over density and affordability concerns.

19 minutes ago - The Urbanist

Green alley under construction

A New Paradigm for Stormwater Management

Rather than shuttling stormwater away from the city and into the ocean as quickly as possible, Los Angeles is now—slowly—moving toward a ‘city-as-sponge’ approach that would capture and reclaim more water to recharge crucial reservoirs.

1 hour ago - Curbed

Aerial view of residential neighborhood in La Habra, California at sunset

Orange County Project Could Go Forward Under ‘Builder’s Remedy’

The nation’s largest home builder could receive approval for a 530-unit development under an obscure state law as the city of La Habra’s zoning laws hang in limbo after the state rejected its proposed housing plan.

2 hours ago - Orange County Register