Living with the Bay

Living with the Bay

Rebuild by Design NY USA

Rebuild by Design NY USA

Rebuild by Design NY USA

Rebuild by Design NY USA

The assignment

Living with the Bay; A Regional Resiliency Plan for Nassau County’s South Shore

In 2012, superstorm Sandy left a trail of destruction in New York and New Jersey. On Long Island (NY) alone, it led to 14 casualties and over 95.000 buildings destroyed or damaged. In response, President Obama’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) initiated Rebuild by Design.

Rebuild by Design was a design competition in three phases, for innovative and workable proposals to promote resilience in areas affected by Sandy, and to protect these areas from future floods. Out of 148 entries, one of the six winning teams was the Dutch-American consortium that included BoschSlabbers, H+N+S and Palmbout.

Rebuild by design cooperation samenwerking
Lowlands NewYork Strategy Birdseye Plan
The essence

Moving forward with the flows of nature

‘Living with the Bay’ aims for safe, clean and natural bays with good living environments along the Long Island coast. Here, waves are broken by natural means, and where necessary they are kept at bay by dikes and local storm barriers. The proposed coastal management, which utilises existing water and sediment flows, is more sustainable, and in the end less expensive. The region’s largely neglected rivers and streams gain importance in the future, for example for the purpose of water retention. Contact between land and water – the estuary’s main asset – is restored to its former glory.

“We created innovative and workable proposals to promote resilience and establish improved flood protection in an area hit by Hurricane Sandy.”

– Designer/Partner Stijn Koole, BoschSlabbers

The strategy

The bay as a buffer

Long Island’s south coast is an elongated bay that does little to protect coastal residents from storms and rising waters. Leaving the bay as it is, is not an option. However, nor should it be completely shut off from the ocean. A middle way is best: a “buffered” bay to offer residents the most safety. The buffer is created with a string of mutually reinforcing interventions: dike rings as barriers, improved sediment management, restoration and expansion of marshlands and a comprehensive strategy for the creek system running from the hinterland into the bay.

Birdseye comparison - Vogelvlucht vergelijking

Slow streams

Retain, store and drain. This Dutch approach is well applicable to the many creeks of Long Island. Mill River will serve as a pilot project. Here, a lock will block floods and waves. Derelict plots will serve as accessible riparian parks and increase space for the river. Streets on either side of the river store excess rainwater in wadis. The many fish ladders in the creek enhance ecological recovery in the area. Together, these measures increase resilience and adaptability and contribute to a region that is attractive and safe to live and recreate in.

“It is important that, instead of a single megalomaniac, technical solution, a series of smaller ‘building-with-nature’ interventions were chosen. Interventions that work together, reinforce each other and do justice to this unique place.”

– Designer Ian Officer, BoschSlabbers

Broad coalition

Over 100 parties were involved in drawing up this plan, forming a coalition of academic institutes, NGOs, non-profits, resident groups, local and regional authorities and private companies. It included, among others, over 50 New York City restaurants, who will recycle their oyster shells to create natural reefs as part of our Living Breakwaters Project.

More information:

RebuildByDesign – Living with the Bay

GOSR – living with the bay

Strategie Living with the bay

Project data

Title: Living with the Bay

Location: Southern Nassau County, Long Island, NY, USA

Size: ca. 25.000 ha

Client: Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force & U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Cooperation: Interboro Partners, Deltares, H+N+S Landschapsarchitecten, IMG Rebel, Palmbout Urban Landscapes, Apex, New Jersey Institute of Technology Infrastructure Planning Program, TU Delft, Project Projects, RFA Investments, Center for Urban Pedagogy, David Rusk

Duration: 2012-2016

Type: water safety, regional planning

Prize/publication: shared winner Hurricane Sandy Design Competition

Image credits: BoschSlabbers

Project code: HB 14-05