Modifying seascapes to build a safer future for coastal communities and ecosystems.
In June 2013, President Barack Obama announced a national competition, Rebuild by Design in response to Hurricane Sandy’s devastating impact on the eastern U.S. The purpose of the competition was “to help governments create research-based, collaborative processes that prepare communities and regions for future challenges.”
Team WXY/West 8 responded with a bold proposal to create an offshore barrier island chain centred on the NY/NJ Harbor called “The Blue Dunes.” The regional scale of Blue Dunes complements local projects and allows for economies of scale; complex and combined protection systems, physical coupling of on- and offshore systems, enhanced feasibility of financial risk mitigation through more affordable pricing and more efficient supply of insurance, reinsurance and catastrophic bond products.
The proposal sees the creation of an initiative, Blue Dunes Research Initiative – BDRI – that would explore these issues and develop a new approach to coastal protection. The initiative seeks to ensure the safety of the citizens who live in the coastal cities of New York and New Jersey and to guarantee to the extent possible, their quality of life in the face of climate change, and co-habilitation between man and the coastal environment. The work needed to create the first phase of storm protection offshore will supply the region’s coastal communities with new planning tools and resources; BDRI is a catalyst for creating a knowledge network and will include the entire region’s urban coastal communities, from the organizations that serve them to the scientists invested in researching them.
Today this proposal stands at a crossroads – we have discovered this potential for the future of coastal protection, but much work still needs to be done. The scientists, engineers, planners, economists and maritime stakeholders that have participated to date have identified the key issues that need to be addressed, including water quality, habitats, recreation, navigation, constructability, further planning and funding.
Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force / U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development
WXY Architecture + Urban Design | Consultants: Stevens Institute of Technology, ARCADIS US, AIR Worldwide, Rutgers University (Kate John-Alder), BJH Advisors, Griffith Planning & Design, NowHere Office, CURE., Columbia University, Helen Han Creative, Verisk Analytics, Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co. LLC
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